The SMARTA Project » SMARTA2 pilot news: a close-up from Águeda

SMARTA2 pilot news: a close-up from Águeda


Águeda at a glance: How does SMARTA2 help Águeda?

SMARTA2 powers Águeda with 10 e-bike parks and 15 e-bikes available for the public in rural areas. The e-bikes are free to use either by an app or by a user card that is available at the premises of the municipality. Through the pilot, we aim to expand our existing e-bike sharing system and further promote sustainable mobility solution in our rural areas. As the e-bike parks are located near train station, we also aim to create synergies and boost rail usage.

At present, the pilot is being implemented in five parishes, namely five rural areas connected to the railway. Despite some limitations, since the beginning of the pilot more users from the parishes have registered in the e-bike sharing system and travels made within the rural areas or from those areas to the city have steadily grown.

Covid-19 impact: Was Águeda’s pilot affected?

The pandemic had a major impact on our pilot as in view of the increasing cases and some delays in the supply chain of bike compartments, we had to put it on hold for several months. Currently, some people are still reluctant to use it due to its public and shared nature. However, we now envisage to take action in online and local media, and run campaigns to promote their use.

Top tips: How did you engage with your local community?

Águeda’s tradition of being a two-wheel city, as well as the lack of sustainable mobility solutions make it the perfect local ecosystem for the development of SMARTA2. As soon as the local community heard about the project, they offered concrete help with improving the e-bike locations so that these could better suit their mobility needs. Furthermore, the project team selected and empowered local agents in each parish so that they could explain how to use and access the e-bike system. Finally, several news about the project were also published in local and national media and leaflets were distributed among the community. Now, citizens are eager to use the system without the limitations imposed by Covid-19.

What’s next?

The COVID 19 pandemic still limits the programmed pilot activities. After the lockdown, tentatively in February, billboards will be posted in the parishes and further e-bike parks will be set in other rural parishes. We also hope to soon launch a media campaign to boost the number of end-users, as the City Hall suspended the payment of subscription fees until July 2021. Plus, the app is currently being updated and will soon be available in the app store.

About Célia

Célia Laranjeira has a Bachelor’s degree in biology and a Master’s degree in Environment and Sustainable Development from the University of Coimbra. On top of these degrees, she has attended a PhD in environmental science and engineering. Célia is a senior technician in the city council of Águeda and head of division since 2014. She manages projects in several areas, namely related to natural resources management, sustainable mobility, climate change and tourism, and she has large experience in national and international partnerships and projects.

About Águeda

The Municipality of Águeda is part of the district of Aveiro in the central coastal region of Portugal. It is crossed by several national and regional roads, which gives it an important geo-strategic position. Characterised by an industrial tradition with an endogenous entrepreneurial capability, the economy of the city relies on the secondary sector, which provides jobs for about 50% of the employed population of the area. The City of Águeda is considered both nationally and internationally as one of the most sustainable cities of Portugal. Águeda is well known for the urban art, the AgitÁgueda festival and the colorful umbrella streets, attracting thousands of tourists during the summer.

Want to use Águeda’s e-bikes? Then visit the city’s municipal premises or download the app on Google Play.

For more information about Águeda and the rest of the SMARTA and SMARTA2 pilots, click here.