The National Strategy for Active Mobility for Portugal was presented yesterday, in which the Portuguese Government affirms its commitment to active mobility and, in particular, to cycling, recognizing its definite contribution to achieving the sustainable development goals defined by the United Nations and asserting the country’s great potential for active mobility.
In 2011, according to the Census, only 0.5% of commuting trips in Portugal were made by bicycle. The objective is to reach, by 2030, 7.5% of commuting trips in the whole national territory and 10% of commuting trips in the cities.
Among the reasons pointed out for this strategic option are:
- Health promotion, combating physical inactivity that is a risk factor that particularly affects the Portuguese population (thus reducing the expenses of the National Health Service);
- Strengthening the economy and job creation, reducing travel time, reducing costs (associated with congestion, accidents, health, transportation expenses, etc.), increasing access to work opportunities, benefiting the local economy and tourism, and developing the bicycle industry cluster in Portugal;
- Improving the environment, by contributing to the national commitments arising from the Paris Agreement to ensure carbon neutrality by 2050;
- Strengthening citizenship, by promoting the humanization of cities, participation in public sphere and social inclusion.
The vision of the Strategy is:
A “proudly active” country, where walking and cycling are safe and widely practiced activities, being accessible and attractive mobility options, maximizing benefits for health, economy and employment, environment and citizenship.
Among the proposed measures are: the increase of the bike lanes, going from the current 2 thousand kms to 10 thousand kms; the inclusion of cycling as a core subject in the physical education curriculum, from primary to secondary school; the possible extension of school insurance for bicycle trips; traffic calming measures with the implementation of “zones 30” and “zones 20” as maximum speed limits; integration with public transport; tax breaks for citizens and organizations; the improvement of the road code and its effective enforcement; promoting the use of cargo bikes within urban logistics; the development of a database for monitoring purposes, support to political decision and source of information for research, among others.
The goal is also to normalize cycling and promote a culture of active mobility, within the scope of an envisaged societal change at the level of behaviours and mentalities.
The overall mission of the Strategy is defined as follows:
To encourage and normalize “walking” and “cycling” in daily commuting and leisure trips, making active mobility the most popular way to travel short distances, enhancing synergies with public transport all over the country and significantly improving the quality of life in Portugal.
The Strategy includes a participatory process, and has already started a first phase of public discussion, which extends until April 28.
Update: Following the participatory process, the strategy, renamed the National Strategy for Cycling Active Mobility (ENMAC), was published on 2 August by Council of Ministers Resolution 131/2019.