Metro do Porto enhances citizens’ mobility

A new light rail system has proved very popular with passengers, carrying as many as 50 million in 2008 around Portugal's second largest city and the surrounding area. In the same year it was awarded a prestigious international prize for its creativity and design as well as its contribution to urban renewal – especially of the historic centre.

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Passengers after a comfortable journey on the new and popular light rail system in Oporto Passengers after a comfortable journey on the new and popular light rail system in Oporto

“The new system is faster and more comfortable. Since I started taking the Metro do Porto System instead of using my car, I arrive earlier in the city centre and don't have to worry about parking.”
Ana Magalhães, passenger

The first trams began running in December 2002 and the metro system has now grown to include five lines, 70 stations and some 60 km of track. Neatly complementing bus and suburban public transport networks, the system has significantly increased mobility in the metropolitan area.

Linear expansion

Oporto in northern Portugal has a metropolitan population of some 1.5 million. Plans to improve travel services to them were developed in the 1990s, focused on upgrading the city's transport network with a new light rail system running underground in central areas and overground in the suburbs. Priority was given to linking the new system with other means of transport, particularly the connection to the airport and the two main railway stations.

Initial work involved construction of an underground section between Campanhã railway station and the system’s main hub, Trindade station. In some areas, existing train lines were converted for use by the modern 70-m long trams. Regular passengers were first carried in December 2002 and the system was completed in 2006.

Almost 40% of the project's finance came from the ERDF, under Portugal's regional North Operational Programme for the 2000 to 2006 period. The project also received funding from the Cohesion Fund (€68 million) and loans from the European Investment Bank.

Mobility for all

The project resulted in the construction of 57 km of subway line, 37 new surface stations and 11 underground stations as well as renovation of 10 stations. The Oporto light rail system is proving highly popular for its fast, reliable, comfortable and environmentally sustainable travel, carrying around 200 000 passengers daily. In 2007, around 48 million passengers made use of it – up by almost 25% on the previous year.

In June 2008, the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) distinguished the Oporto system with the Light Rail Award 2008 for ‘best new realisation’. The award goes to light railway systems around the world displaying creativity and good design. Judges highlighted the project's integrated approach in terms of conception and construction, based on accessibility, design and information for passengers. They also praised the system's overall architecture and design.

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