Vilnius: A step towards low pollution zones


Vilnius (Lithuania)

Challenge area:

Pollution Reduction

Implementation period:


The Challenge

The core of the Old Town of the city of Vilnius and the archaeological area of the old town and its suburbs are extremely important in terms of cultural heritage values (in 1994 the Vilnius Old Town was included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Therefore, all actions had to consider the valuable properties, to comply with relevant legislation (e.g., the Law on the Protection of Immovable Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Lithuania, and the Heritage Management Regulation 2.13.01), and when applicable - carry out heritage conservation expertise in its technical projects.

The „loop traffic“ need was established in the Sustainable Mobility Plan of Vilnius (approved in December 2018). The goal of the loop traffic regulation was to reduce transit traffic in the core of the Old Town of the city of Vilnius. Before the loop traffic regulation, regular transit traffic in the heart of Vilnius accounted for 40%, while in the mornings - up to 70%. Long-lasted car traffic in the Old Town of the city markedly increased pollution and noise indicators, reduced the safety of road users. All of this therefore had negative impact on the quality of people’s life and leisure and the condition of historical buildings – cultural heritage.

The city therefore decided to introduce loop traffic and thus eliminate the possibility of using the streets of the Old Town to shorten transit car routes.

The Solution

The Loop traffic regulation was implemented by introducing one-way traffic, installing regulatory (prohibitory) road signs and physical barriers. In total, four main loops have been established. The loops are named after the names of the streets – the main entrances to the loops: Islandijos, Subačiaus, Latako and Trakų. The loops are used to organize the traffic of cars entering and leaving the old town. Each zone has one main entrance and one or two exits. Traffic in each loop is one-way only.

All vehicles, except for PT vehicles, are only allowed to move around in the loops. 

The most optimal places were chosen for the installation of intelligent traffic systems. Electricity supply in the shortest and most efficient way was ensured.Solutions that would have the least visual impact on the old town were chosen.

Passenger pick-up/drop-off points have been installed in convenient locations. Bus stops were provided for hotel guests, although usually not right next to the door. Special areas were also set up for cargo logistics. Physical barriers - small architecture elements - flower beds, temporary trees and bushes – were placed.

Loop traffic is the first step towards low pollution zone introduction in Vilnius.