TMB CBI, Source:, Photo by Fusion Point

Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona has a challenge for students

Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona has a challenge for students

This is part of the annual innovation programme in collaboration with CERN

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected negatively urban public transport, what with the general distrust and precautions against large gatherings of people in limited spaces. The transit operator of Barcelona, TMB, is no exception and facing falling revenues its management would like to find new solutions that will adapt the company to the new realities.

The answers might come from an annual programme called CBI (Challenge Based Innovation), organized in conjunction with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), which sees the involvement of students from three leading universities in Barcelona: ESADE Business School, Instituto Europeo di Design (IED) and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC). Using CERN technology, they will have until December to propose a working project that addresses the challenges that TMB is facing.

Bright young minds coming together from distinct fields in an incubator of innovation

This is the first time that TMB is turning towards the CBI for help. What was expected from the transit company was to formulate its challenges into concrete questions for the students to provide answers to. Here are those questions:

  • How can we regain the trust of public transport users?
  • What can be done to manage demand and minimize congestion?
  • Despite the fall in income that arises from providing more services for fewer passengers, how can we keep urban transport sustainable?

The students are divided into two teams, which will be tasked with finding working solutions that can be readily applied to the reality on the ground. The teams are working closely with TMB’s Innovation Department so they will get a closer and intimate look at how the company operates.

It is considered that the multi-disciplinary approach involving engineering, business and design students encourages creativity and a more holistic problem-solving. The three universities have been cooperating together for the past six years to promote a teaching approach called experiential learning, part of which is the CBI programme.

Come December, the projects will be presented at an official gala ceremony in Geneva (at the CERN headquarters), if sanitary conditions at the time will allow for travel.



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus