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Capital of Portugal

Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and with a population of 2.8 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area the largest city in the country. The city is the only European capital along the Atlantic coast. Moreover, Lisbon is the oldest city in Western Europe and one of the oldest cities in the world. It is the financial and political centre of the country and generates 37% of the national GDP. The city has a very far-reaching and reliable public transport network, consisting of four metro lines, almost 100 bus routes and five tram lines. Lisbon has been active in tackling air pollution by introducing a Low Emission Zone in 2011. It has been regularly tightened since then.

Overall Grade: F 56%

Pie Chart 56
  • Graph Reduction Success Local Emissions
  • Graph Low Emission Zones & Bans of High Emitters
  • Graph Public Procurement Clean Cars
  • Graph Non-Road Mobile Emission Sources
  • Graph Use of Economic Incentives
  • Graph Traffic & Mobility Management Incl. Modal Split
  • Graph Promotion of Public Transport
  • Graph Promotion of Walking & Cycling
  • Graph Transparency & Communication Policy


Reduction Success Local Emissions

The city of Lisbon experienced an only slight reduction of pollutants. Between 2008 and 2012, annual mean PM10 levels changed from 41.2 to 38.3 µg/m³ at the traffic station Avenida da Liberdade with considerable ups and down. PM10 exceedances are far above EU limit values of 35 days per year: 82 exceedance days were monitored in 2008 and 79 in 2012. Again, high fluctuations with an intermediate high of 117 in 2011 were registered. In 2014, Lisbon seemed to meet EU limit values for PM10, but meteorological conditions helped a lot for this compliance.

NO2 levels decreased from 64.6 to 58.3 µg/m³ between 2008 and 2012, meaning that Lisbon also breached these EU limit values. NO2 limit values (annual and hourly) did not seem to meet EU limit values in 2014, and there are signs that this trend of non-compliance will continue in 2015.

Low Emission Zones & Bans of High Emitters

The city of Lisbon has a Low Emission Zone (LEZ), introduced in the inner city centre in 2011. In 2012, a large area was added to the LEZ, which now comprises two sub-zones and currently covers 33% of the whole city. Having previously operated weaker low emission standard setting, it requires Euro 2 since 2014 in the larger part of the zone and Euro 3 in the smaller city centre part. After the LEZ was largely unenforced during the first periods of its introduction, with only traffic police checks on a random basis and no penalties being applied, the city is now evaluating the introduction of automatic number plate recognition to facilitate enforcement. In a next step – which was initially scheduled for 2013, but has not started yet – the LEZ would exclude Euro 3 cars in the smaller inner city zone. Public information campaigns have been set by Lisbon municipality to raise awareness and acceptance for the LEZ.

Public Procurement Clean Cars

The city of Lisbon had a bus fleet of 632 busses in 2013, 73.1% of which were below Euro IVstandards. Less than 10% are Euro V or EEV standard buses. Additionally, there were 49 electric busses with a variety of purposes, mainly as tourist vehicles.

In 2013, 68% of the municipal fleet are below Euro 4 standard. In recent years it has pursued the strategy of replacing the older and more polluting vehicles with low emitting vehicles, or phasing them out completely. As part of the city’s strategy, 54 new electric vehicles were purchased in 2013.

Non-Road Mobile Emission Sources

Information on non-road mobile emission sources is absent as there is no methodology in place for permanently evaluating emissions from construction machinery activity.

Monitoring emissions from waterway navigation exist at an inventory level: ships’ movements are registered and emission quantification is carried out. However, this information is not available for the general public and the administrations of major port areas do not publish any kind of environmental data.

Use of Economic Incentives

Lisbon’s parking management scheme covers the inner city and distinguishes three zones (green, yellow, red) with a total of around 50,000 paid parking spaces in 2013. The new parking scheme was introduced in 2011 and included an extension of paid parking, new parking fees and an intensification of enforcement. For example from 2010 to 2012, parking prices were increased by 60% to a still very low €1.20 per hour. At the same time, the number of paid parking spaces increased by 16%. By 2015 the city had increased the number of paid parking spaces by 43%. Furthermore, the city has created public transport monthly passes that include Park & Ride parking.

In 2013, the Lisbon municipality partially financed a local programme for scrapping old taxis in exchange for electric taxis. The city spent a total amount of €60,000 for 20 cars. National fiscal and economic incentives were refreshed in the context of the recently adopted Green Taxation Reform: among others, electric cars are exempted from paying the vehicle acquisition tax.

Traffic & Mobility Management Incl. Modal Split

The last modal split statistics for Lisbon were published for 2001, which admittedly is hard to base an up-to-date judgement on. Informal data provided by Lisbon municipality for 2011, however, show that only marginal changes have happened since then: Lisbon has a very high share of private motorised transport (48%), in comparison with only 34% for public transport, 1% for cycling and 17% for walking. No target for how the modal split should develop is documented.

Lisbon has no clear mobility strategy, instead implementing individual initiatives to improve the modal share of car usage: 30 km/h zones were implemented in 30 local neighbourhoods, an on-demand public transport service was installed and school transport was centrally coordinated. A national electric mobility programme initiated in 2009 promotes the usage of electric vehicles.

Promotion of Public Transport

Lisbon has a limited public transport system comprising a metro, buses and trams. The metro has four lines, of which one was extended by 4 km in 2012. However, there are major inconveniences: 5 years ago saw the first approaches to building a real network instead of separated metro lines, connecting three of the major underground lines. Tram investment in Lisbon, despite the touristic potential of this transport mode, has stopped for several years.

Promotion of Walking & Cycling

The city has a very low cycling share at 1%, which might be due to the fact that Lisbon is hilly, a natural limit to widespread acceptance of cycling. However, there are plans to promote biking in the city by 2017. Through investments of €2m, the city planned to increase the total length of bike lanes by 30 km to almost 80 km, and introduce a public bike-sharing system. In fact, these plans were partially implemented. The installation of the network of bike lanes has been in process over the last couple of years, connecting in particular the northern part of the city to the city centre. However, more investment is needed to install bike parking in Park & Ride stations. The city currently has no public bike sharing system, but there is a plan to put a scheme in place by 2016: 300 bicycles will be put in operation in a first phase, with an extension to a maximum of 2,000 in a second phase. Bike stations will be located near the Tagus riverside.

Transparency & Communication Policy

The city of Lisbon runs an official air quality website with very little information. It mainly serves to forward visitors to the national air quality database. There is a general contact, which is not specifically for issues regarding air quality. There is a national website on air quality with some background information on pollutants and monitoring stations. The website works as an online database, where all officially monitored data can be downloaded. The website is provided through a national-regional cooperation.

City website on air quality (Port.):

National air quality database (Port.):

Response to Questionnaire

The City replied to the questionnaire.