Torres Vedras’ approach to active transportation proves small cities can deliver best practices in bike-sharing and electric vehicle promotion.

Torres Vedras, Portugal, population 20,000, is implementing a holistic mobility strategy with a focus on active mobility and electric vehicle promotion. The strategy involves expanding the city’s free bike-sharing system with 14 new bike-sharing parks that each include 30 electric bicycles and charging points available directly on the docking stations. Furthermore, more than 15% of public spaces have been remodeled to allow increased access to pedestrians and bicycles. The municipality also introduced taxed parking in the city center to lessen traffic in the historic area. These measures will contribute to Torres Vedras Sustainable Energy Action Plan, which aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 29%, compared to 2009 levels, by 2020.

The changes have been popular so far in the small but environmentally conscious Portuguese city. The new bike-sharing system has recorded a high number of memberships, with more than 1,400 users and 25,000 rides after two years of operation. The city also has an ambitious vision to repurpose 50% of public spaces away from car use in the next four years.

The challenge

Torres Vedras will experience an increase in hot days, according to climate projections, and is vulnerable to the heat island effect. By suppressing car traffic, the city is taking a proactive stance towards the forecasted increase in temperature while encouraging active mobility.


Economic The city reduced traffic in the historic city center, which improved accessibility for tourists and stimulated economic activity.

Environmental Torres Vedras anticipates that mitigating the heat island effect will create better conditions for urban flora and fauna to thrive.

Health The bike-sharing system stimulates active lifestyles and the traffic reduction minimizes the impact of heat waves and their related negative health consequences.

The bike-sharing system is free to use, ensuring the service is accessible to the entire population.

About Torre Vedras

Torres Vedras is a municipality in the Portuguese district of Lisbon, approximately 50 kilometres (30 mi) north of the capital Lisbon in the Oeste subregion of the Centro region. The population as of 2011 was 79,465, in an area of 407.15 square kilometres (157.20 sq mi).

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