Network Effects in Bus Transit: Evidence from Barcelona’s Nova Xarxa

Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - interchange/transfer, mode - bus, place - europe, planning - network design, planning - service improvement


Public transport, Bus system, Bus network design, Transfer-based network, Network effect


This paper shows that improving the structure of a bus transit network to facilitate transfers can boost and shape its demand. The idea is illustrated with data from the Nova Xarxa in Barcelona. Deployed in phases, the Nova Xarxa is shown to be attracting more demand than the network it replaces. The paper further shows that this growth is underpinned by transfers--at the end of 2015, the percentages of trips that involved a transfer was approximately 26%, and it reached a maximum of 57% for line V7. The paper shows these numbers should increase considerably (to 44% and 66%, respectively) once the Nova Xarxa is completed in 2018. This should be compared with the percent of transfers in other existing bus systems, which ranges from 1.3% to 16%.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by ITS Berkeley, copyright remains with them.