One day in Lisbon’s traffic

One day in Lisbon’s traffic displays three different, yet related visual approaches to the mapping of 1534 vehicles circulating in Lisbon during October 2009 using their GPS traces. For each visual approach we produced a short video that narrates the average day in October 2009, displaying the rhythm of the city and its rush hours.

Lisbon’s traffic speed and intensity

Each line is a recent and thin path traced by a vehicle. Unveiling the meaning of data, recent vehicle’s paths are colored accordingly to its speed: greens and cyans for rapid transit, yellows and reds for sluggish vehicles. Trails visually group themselves into arteries where the thickness represents traffic intensity and color the average velocity.


Aesthetics of Lisbon’s traffic

Each path has its covered area colored in a pale gray by connecting its origin and destination points. The monochromatic restriction brings visual simplicity to the data, while emphasizing areas with more traffic through coal gray.


Lisbon’s slow traffic areas

By summing up both approaches we can color the covered areas accordingly with the vehicles’ speed. This way, areas with predominantly slow traffic are emphasized in a more informative way. The vehicles themselves were also added, represented by tiny white dots, adding realism to this visual approach.

Presence in exhibitions


  • Traffic in Lisbon in Nightime-Dreamreal, Power Station of Art, Shanghai (December 3, 2013 – March 30, 2014)
  • Traffic in Lisbon in The Art of Networks Exhibition, Foosaner Art Museum, Florida (March 8, 2012).
  • Visualizing Lisbon’s traffic in Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objects, Museum of Modern Art – MoMA, New York (July 24–November 7, 2011).
  • Aesthetics and visualization of Lisbon’s traffic in exhibition Mediateca Expandida. Habitar, Gíjon, Spain (May-November 2010)


Mentions in books and magazines


  • Meirelles, I. Design for Information. Rockport Publishers (October 2013)
  • Lima, M. Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information. Princeton Architectural Press (2011)
  • Scholtes. The aesthetics of Lisbon traffic. Audi A1 Magazine, No. 5, cover, 32 (2011)
  • Same technique used for London in Hussey. The city’s heartbeat. Wired UK (December 2010)