In Spain, Abertis is the leading operator of toll roads by kilometres managed at 1,559 kilometres of toll roads which accounts for more than 60% of the total toll roads in the country. It also has a stake in another 200 kilometres through other toll road concession operators.
2015 has been another year of record traffic growth in Spain. The recovery of industrial activity and falling oil prices have led to an increase in traffic in all types of vehicles, especially in the heavy vehicles segment, of more than 8%. Overall, Average Daily Traffic in Spain grew by more than 6%, an increase not seen since 2001.
The toll roads division in Spain has continued to grow organically over the course of the year with the purchase of an additional 15% stake in Túnels de Barcelona i Cadí to take control of the company (50.01%). The Cadí Tunnel is the main point of connection between the central area of Catalonia and the Pyrenees while the Vallvidrera tunnels are the leading route between Barcelona and the main towns and cities inland.
At the operational level, the company is immersed in an extensive programme of improvements to the C-32 and C-33 toll roads in Catalonia. This year the construction of the new connection between the C-33 and C-17 in Mollet del Vallès has been completed, improving the traffic flow in the area. Also during 2015 the agreement with the Catalan Government for building a new 7 km-spur route in Blanes has been signed.
Significant efforts have also been made to improve services to toll road customers. Firstly, the plan for comprehensive refurbishment of the service areas on the AP-7 has been completed in line with the work carried out on the AP-68 and AP-2 toll roads in recent years. Further work has been done to reduce the accident rate, which is maintaining its downward trend of recent years.
As for technological innovation, in 2015 the plan for automation of toll booths has been completed with the installation of the new machines in concessions in the Centre area. At present there are already 380 “all payments” lanes and the number of automatic charging transactions has been increased up to 81% of the total.
In addition, all customer contact channels have been enhanced. The new mobile app, Autopistas en Ruta, includes a range of services to improve mobility and also features an onboard co-pilot and emergency call system. The use of social media has also been fostered as part of a commitment to interaction and personalised customer care.
In 2016 the Abertis toll roads division in Spain will work to maintain its steady rates of traffic growth and the consolidation of automation of its toll booths. It will also continue with the programme of works agreed with the Government of Catalonia with further improvements in the capacity and safety of its toll roads.