At first glance, the capital of Portugal does not invite for cycling: Numerous elevations make pleasant cycling impossible. When it comes to public transport, the “City of the Seven Hills” is therefore better known for its steep cable cars and public passenger lifts. However, the Lisbon-based architectural office BXLX Landscape has found in a study that large parts of the city can be reached by bike with little effort. With “Lisboa Horizontal” the architects have developed a cycle path system which was inspired by the urban metro network.
Clogged Streets, little Bike Traffic
Lisbon has one of the lowest cycling traffic shares in Europe and most residents rely on the motorised traffic. The hilly topography is, of course, an obstacle but should not be an excuse: Nevertheless, 63% of all roads have an incline of less than 4% and offer best conditions for cycling. In addition, most of the hills are located in the old town area and less so in the newer districts, where a large part of the inhabitants live and work. Cities such as Brighton or San Francisco have already shown that high cycling traffic shares are possible in hilly environments with the help of bike sharing and e-bikes.
Cycle track system with an APP
The landscape architects from BXLX Landscape want to help Lisbon’s bicycle traffic off the ground and have developed the ambitious project “Lisboa Horizontal”. With a study comparing the topographical conditions with the roads, they first demonstrated the bicycle’s suitability for the city. In a next step, the architects have identified possible routes. They noticed that the lines have a route similar to the subway lines. In the same way, a cycle path system was developed with four lines covering large parts of the city. In a sequel project, BXLX Landscape designed the “Lisboa Horizontal App”, which shows the optimal routes. With this app, cyclists can choose their route according to slope, speed and general bicycle-friendliness.