Project Runway

This project is focused on how we can use the API of digital platforms, in this case, Uber, and use them as resources to understand the dynamics of cities.
Mobility is being redefined by the new technologies, and citizen’s willingness towards “Collective Consumption”. Moreover, the governments have come to this understanding that they alone can not address the challenges of urban mobility, and they need innovative entities as well to have synergy with them.
Uber is a platform that offers mobility as a service (MaaS), and it brings different users the ability to access different services. This digital platform acts as the mediator between people who want to move around a city by car, and the drivers who want to bring this service to them. The important aspect about Uber is the pricing algorithm that turns it into a marketplace for transportation. The algorithm adjusts the price based on demand and supply.

Uber is claiming that they can be a complement to public transportation by analyzing the trips of which the destination was near to a public transit station(Source: Uber Movement)
Inspired by Uber’s claim, we are analyzing a similar situation through the API that we had access by Uber Developer.

Barcelona’s Public Transportation Coverage

To understand the transportation system in a Barcelona, analyzing the public transportation network is mandatory.

Metro & Train Stations


Bus Stations


Public Transportation Coverage

The heat-map shows the public transportation coverage in the city. The lighter areas correspond to different modes of transportation crossings. The public transportation covers most of the neighborhoods in Barcelona but lacks in some areas which will be our areas of study.

Area of Study

Focusing on two areas; Zona Franca being an industrial area, and Besos I El Maresme a residential one.

Transportation By Uber

Uber Points

Random locations were picked as Uber pick-ups points in Zona Franca and Besos I El Maresme. The destinations are among the most popular areas in Barcelona: the center and the airports.

Uber Routes

Based on Uber’s Data, different routes are shown on the map, highlighting the duration and distance of each trip.

Availability of  Uber at Different Hours

The waiting duration is shown, different times during the day.

Uber Rides’ Prices at Different Times

Example: The Trip to The Airport By Public Transportation vs. Uber

To be able to understand the efficiency of public transportation vs uber, an example of the same destination and pick-up point was looked at.

Using public transportation, the trip will take 1hour 4minutes, with 3 different interchanges of public transportation costing around 8€. Whereas, using Uber-X, the trip will take you 25minutes and cost you around 45€.

Another service provided by Uber is Uber-Pool in which people can share the ride with others, and pay less for the trip.

Uber’s Future Role




Uber as Public Transportation is a project of IaaC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed at Master in City and Technology in 2018/2019 by:
Students: Mahsa Nikoufar & Natali Barada
Faculty: Starsky Lara