Comprehensive maintenance of the Barcelona Ring Roads, Spain


The metropolitan area of Barcelona experienced an increasing volume of traffic during the 1970s and 1980s, primarily because of an incremental increase in the population. That made necessary to reconsider the traffic planning, which revealed the multiple traffic jams that routinely occurred in the city’s entrances and exits.

The construction of the ring roads helped organize and manage traffic on both the metropolitan scale and within the city.

The ring roads territorial scope involved several local administrations: Barcelona City Council, the Sant Adrià de Besòs City Council, and the Santa Coloma de Gramenet City Council. These city councils and the regional government (Generalitat de Catalunya) were responsible for the infrastructure maintenance.

The existence of several administrations involved in the maintenance of the project made the governance of the project a complex issue.


In order to manage efficiently the maintenance of the ring roads the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB) took responsibility of the maintenance and financing. 

The comprehensive maintenance and conservation contract of the ring roads was awarded to a private company, which will oversee the whole network maintenance. This contract includes operations, aid in highway administration and surveillance, cleaning and pruning, and programming, tracking and monitoring traffic, among others.

The main goal of the project is to ensure that the infrastructure is kept in a sound state of maintenance, to minimize the potential accidents that could occur on the road because of poor conditions, and to lower traffic jams and the average wasted travel time for drivers to reach their destination.

SDG Impact:

SDG 3: Good health & well-being. A sound maintenance service will help to decrease accident rate, improve traffic flow, and reduce traffic congestion (stop & go), therefore reducing pollutant emissions and improving the city’s air conditions. 

SDG 8: Decent work & economic growth. Reduction of traffic congestion have a positive impact on workers productivity (as they save time and money) and therefore on economic growth.

SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure. Improving transportation infrastructures maintenance with the goal of increasing the productivity.

SDG 17:   Partnerships for the goals. This project is a successful public-private partnership in which the private firm and different public institutions were able to join forces to implement a public service project. The participation of a private firm allows the public sector to benefit from private sector know-how while transferring part of the operation risk.

Compliance with UNECE People-first PPP criteria:

The project:

  • Reduction of pollutant emissions
  • Improvement in public health & safety
  • Productivity increase because of less accidents
  • An open, competitive public bidding process that promotes competition in the private sector and consequently encourages greater economic efficiency in the final result.


More information

This case study aspires to be People-first Public-Private Partnerships project and is published as received from the proponents.