Vila Nova de Gaia (Portugal)

Vila Nova de Gaia, or simply Gaia, is a city and municipality in Portugal. It is located south of the city of Porto (Oporto) on the opposite side of the river Douro. Together with Porto, the city has one of the greatest public transport systems in Portugal with six metro lines, with tram and bus lines.

The city is well known for its “lodges” (locally known as “caves”), where the world-famous port wine is stored and matured.

At present, Vila Nova de Gaia has no specific data on modal split. However, according to a study carried out by the National Statistics Institute in 2000, approximately 54 percent of working citizens were commuting by car. The second most popular means of transport was public transportation (road and rail).

The city has developed a sustainable action plan (SEAP). This foresees the creation of an urban mobility plan, for which further studies need to be carried out in order to assess current mobility needs, the existing public transport network etc. At national level, the city has signed a protocol to the Electric Mobility Plan with the Portuguese Government in order to encourage the use of electric cars at local level.

To date, the most significant development in the city has been its connection to the Oporto Metro System. Out of its total length of 60 km, some 1.4 km are already in operation in Vila Nova de Gaia, and it is predicted that a 1.8 km extension will be complete by 2012.

The innovative ticketing system “Andante” has been implemented with the involvement of a variety of public transport operators. To further strengthen this, future public transport contracts will require integration into Andante, as a way to increase transport intermodality. Other innovative measures, such as car sharing and bicycle sharing are foreseen in the plan and are due to be implemented in the near future.

Future initiatives will include improvements to the public transport network via the introduction of environmental criteria and more energy efficient vehicles (such as electric vehicles). Some of the main challenges currently facing the city are reduced financial capacities and difficulties in promoting behavioural changes such as encouraging people to reduce their reliance on private cars.

Summary finalized: August 2010

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