Barcelona: the world's Smart City?

Barcelona: the world's Smart City?

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Barcelona is one of Europe's top tourist destinations - but as groups of visitors stream into the stunningly beautiful basilica Sagrada Familia designed by Antoni Gaudi, I explore another of the city's attractions, at a bus stop just a stone's throw away. Call it a technology gimmick, but it's one of many things that set Barcelona apart from other cities. The bus 1 get on has not only an environmentally friendly engine, but also a number of USB mobile chargers onboard, free to use. And so do many of the bus stops dotted around town, right next to the huge interactive touchscreens that are connected to the Internet and help you find your way around the city. Most locals in Barcelona take such amenities for granted these days, but at least the tourists notice. It's just one of several things that have earned Barcelona the label of being one of the world's top `smart cities'. Being smart is not only about being digital. "We have started changing our whole bus network, showing our bus lines on maps in a way that's similar to the lines on the metro, with transfers clearly indicated on a map," points out Alberto Fonseca, director of business technology at TMB, or Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona. As we hop off the bus at Avenida Diagonal, one of the longest roads cutting straight through the city, the metro heritage of the bus map is obvious: each bus line has a different colour, and interchanges are clearly marked.

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