Aveiro (Portugal)

Aveiro is a city of around 74,000 inhabitants and the seat of Aveiro Municipality in Portugal. This industrial city is located on the Atlantic coast and is an important seaport. The charming city is facing the challenge of increasing crowds of cars in the city...

According to data from the most recent census, carried out in 2001, the city demonstrates a modal split of 63 percent private vehicles, 11 percent public transport, 12 percent motorbikes and bicycles, 12 percent pedestrians and around 2 percent other forms of transport.

Although the municipality has been investing in sustainable transportation and promoting walking and cycling, the level of motorisation in Portugal has risen dramatically in the last 10 years. This has resulted in increased car usage: nowadays even short trips in the city centre are made by car while there are only a handful of cyclists and pedestrians.

The city’s Municipal Plan for the Environment and Sustainable Development was adopted in May 2005. One of the main areas of concern is urban mobility management, where goals include the promotion of walking, cycling and public transportation while reducing the use of private vehicles, especially in the city centre.

The city has therefore been working on an Urban Mobility Plan since October 2010. Its main goals are to shift the modal split towards more sustainable modes of transport; improve and restructure the public transportation network; improve the condition of pedestrian and cycling areas by introducing safety measures and increasing comfort and quality; implement new parking policies that meet the specific needs of residents, employees and visitors; and develop electric mobility as a member of the National Network of Electric Mobility.

The public transport network, which was established in 1959, encompasses the city and its rural surroundings. In 2000, vehicles running on natural gas were introduced as part of a renewed fleet, and since 2006 part of the fleet operates on biodiesel. In April 2005, a local mobility agency was created to manage the public transport network (buses and boats), as well as the controlled parking zones. The main goal of the mobility agency is to promote the use of public transportation as an alternative to the car. The city council launched a pioneer project of free shared-bicycles in Portugal: The BUGA (Free Bikes of Aveiro). The BUGA is a unique and exclusive model produced in Aveiro and owned by the City Council. It was implemented in 1999 and places bicycles at all citizen’s disposal, so they can use them to circulate around the city, free of charge.

Other European projects currently being implemented in Aveiro are “Active Access: The City Walk” (www.active-access.eu) which encourages active travel for short trips in order to improve the health of residents and visitors, promote local development and boost the local economy (the routes are located in historic neighbourhoods that attract tourists); and “LIFE CYCLE”, which fosters cycling during all stages of life, from childhood to retirement, to make it the habitual transport mode for daily mobility needs (www.lifecycle.cc).

The municipality of Aveiro cooperates with a variety of stakeholders, including public and private bus operators; the national railway company (CP), the Mobility and Transport Institute (IMTT), the Republican National Guard (GNR), the municipal police, the University of Aveiro, and NGOs and activist groups such as Critical Mass.

Summary finalized: March 2011

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