SPN: Smart Pedestrian Net in Porto


Cities are facing growing mobility challenges due to the strong dependence on cars. The sustainable mobility concept is focused in shifting this pattern towards non-motorised or more sustainable forms of mobility. Walking is a soft and active mode strictly related with sustainable mobility as it reduces traffic congestion and pollution and has positive impacts on health. SPN is a project focused on improving walkability in cities. SPN intends to provide a model to help European cities to improve walkability as one of the important dimensions of smart, sustainable and inclusive development.
SPN: Smart Pedestrian Net in Porto

Reason to Be Selected

The model can be a valuable tool for municipalities throughout Europe. Detecting and analysing a pedestrian network enables data to guide decisions on urban sustainability. It shows what elements pedestrians most value and provides planning guidance to improve walkability and the connectivity of pedestrian networks.European cities can easily replicate Porto’s model and the project has the potential to improve policies regarding the promotion of walkable and smart sustainable cities throughout Europe.


The SPN is based on four main innovative components:

 • using a spatial-based multi-criteria analysis performed through a geographic information system;

 • integrating people's needs and preferences into a pedestrian navigation system;

 • evaluating and ranking the streets / areas according to their walkability;

 • supporting a pedestrian navigation system, an innovative technological application, to help pedestrians find suitable footpaths according to specific criteria and preferences.


In 2015 Porto developed the Smart Pedestrian Network (SPN) model to identify, analyse and improve the current pedestrian network. Porto designed the SPN model as an integrated and broader approach to identify a pedestrian network in an urban context. It based the approach on a multi-criteria analysis (MCA) and a geographic information system (GIS) and applied it to the historic centre of Porto in January 2015.
The city used two main components to perform the MCA: (i) space syntax to analyse the connectivity of streets; (ii) and a lot of criteria and sub-criteria that most influence walkability. These main criteria included urban function, built environment, accessibility and urban environment, and the nine sub-criteria included slope, human scale, built visual dimension, land use, population density, public transport, public transport services, green spaces and microclimatic conditions

The SPN model was applied to the historic centre and surrounding neighbourhoods. Minho University is negotiating with the municipality to apply this model in larger area of the city.


Modelling is a powerful tool to study the complex urban environment. This research combined the results of GIS and space syntax tools for making a model that the city can develop into an SPN, considering the optimal paths that are compatible with movement of pedestrians. The results show the walkability of Porto and the configuration and connectivity of the pedestrian network.

The absence of a pedestrian network has a direct impact on the level of pedestrian activity and satisfaction. This model allocates a priority to streets; the higher the priority the more important this street is for the strength of the pedestrian network.

This prioritisation can guide urban planning and support decisions in Porto. It is also very useful for policymakers and decision-makers when it comes to making investment decisions for the future pedestrian network. All these improvements are important to strengthen the network and to enlarge the share of walking. This in turn contributes to sustainable urban mobility.



Lat: 41.1579
Lng: 8.62911
Region: Europe
Scale: City
Field: Infrastructure
City: Porto