A street with no cars in downtown Lisbon, Source: Depositphotos

Lisbon cuts traffic through downtown areа

Lisbon cuts traffic through downtown areа

Details are sketchy on how long the measure will continue, but large-scale construction projects are being used as the catalyst to change

Starting today, 26 April, a three-month trial period takes off in Lisbon, with the multi-level aims of severely restricting and even banning motorized traffic passing through the inner city. The argument behind these changes is that the authorities are going to use the summer to implement some major infrastructural works, such as the construction of two new Metro stations.

And although a time limit has been given, the officials are vague on whether this is set in stone, calling the plan “dynamic” instead and hinting that it might signal a new reality to come for the Portuguese capital. In a way, the trial period might be more about getting drivers and residents to feel the change and adopt it through necessity and patience.

Three levels of traffic changes

The inner core area of the city will be a so-called “red zone”, which will completely bar traffic passing through it. This encompasses the area along the riverside and Avenida 24 de Julho, between Avenida Infante Santo and Avenida Mouzinho de Albuquerque. The only kind of car traffic that will be allowed will be for residents living there or workers doing their shifts in the zone.

A larger “yellow area” outside of the red zone will have a different type of restrictions. Vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes may only circulate at night there, between 8 pm and 8 am, including vehicles supplying the area's merchants, with the exception of public transport vehicles.

It is there that the hint has been dropped that the restriction for heavy vehicles will possibly extend beyond the 3-month window, according to The Portugal News.

In order to divert traffic from restricted areas, the City Council suggests, as an alternative, that a “5th Ring Road” be used for crossing the city. This will be the green zone or a route that starts from Alcântara - Avenida Infante Santo – Estrela - Avenida Álvares Cabral – Rato – Rua Alexandre Herculano - Conde Redondo - Avenida Almirante Reis - Praça do Chile - Rua Morais Soares - Praça Paiva Couceiro - Avenida Mouzinho de Albuquerque - Parque das Nações.

In addition to the subway stations’ construction, ongoing work is the implementation of the Drainage Plan, to avoid floods in Lisbon, plus the repaving of roads.



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU