Bologna, the capital of the Emilia Romagna, surrounded by beautiful plains, hills, woods and the Apennines Mountains. The city has grown around a historic centre dating from the Middle Ages. The centre is characterised by very narrow streets with their famous arcades or porticoes. Even though this layout makes road space particularly cramped, the centre is still the focus of much public, commercial and cultural life.
In the past, the low capacity of the city centre has often led to heavy congestion that has compromised the quality of life in the historic city centre. The progressive introduction of traffic restrictions that started with the establishment of the historic centre as a Limited Traffic Zone (LTZ) in 1989 has considerably improved the situation. It has led to better air quality and helped to preserve the centre’s monumental attractiveness. Besides access restrictions, Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) have further improved the transport situation in the city centre. For example, several pedestrian areas have been created in the historic city centre through the deployment of movable barriers. These can be lowered from a remote control room to allow deliveries to shops during certain times of the day or the transit of emergency vehicles.
In June 2007, the municipal town council approved the new Master Plan of Urban Traffic (PGTU). The plan is especially concerned with reducing pollution, noise, accidents and congestion, while saving energy. These critical issues affect citizens’ lives on a daily basis and have negative impacts on their health, safety and overall quality of life. The interlinked developments under the new PGTU intend to ensure sustainable mobility and accessibility to all parts of the city. This will be achieved through enhanced public transport and cycle lanes, while safeguarding the most valuable environmental and architectural areas.
Bologna is the main rail and highway junction in Italy and has a fast-growing international airport. Over the next couple of years, Bologna plans to expand the airport and invest in a new train station with high speed tracks, tram lines that will run partially underground, a suburban railway network and an elevated monorail connecting the train station to the airport (the so-called People Mover). The city hopes that the completion of the large-scale public works in progress together with a reorganisation of the public transport network will balance the modal share of car usage (between 28 to 33 percent) and approach a modal split of 33 percent. At the same time, the ambitious goal is to increase bicycle usage from 7 to 9 percent, which would make the modal share comparable to sustainability standards of other major European cities.
Through CIVITAS MIMOSA, Bologna acts as a pilot site to try new activities that will not only help the city improve its urban transport system but will also be a valuable showcase for other medium-sized cities across Europe. The city’s efforts have already been recognised at the European Mobility Week in 2006, where the city was selected as one of the top three cities promoting and investing in sustainable modes of transport. Bologna also won the CIVITAS Award for Technological Innovation in 2010 for the design of an intelligent transport system that integrates traffic monitoring and rule enforcement.
Demonstrating its commitment to a long-term strategy and concrete actions, the city has set itself clear and measurable objectives it wants to achieve through the CIVITAS initiative. Bologna projects that a package of cleaner vehicles and fuels together with a drop in private transport by public employees of 20 percent, will lead to a 50 percent reduction of CO2 emissions and 80 percent reduction of Particulate Matter (PM-10) emissions. The city foresees 20 percent less road accidents around schools and a 60 percent reduction of accidents around the newly introduced 30km areas. A new intelligent transport system (ITS) control system is projected to curb the invasion of reserved lanes by private vehicles by 20 percent, restrain illegal street parking by 20 percent, and lower the number of mopeds and freight vehicles crossing through the Limited Access Zone by 20 percent, as well.
Dissemination: Cleto Carlini
Evaluation and site management:Manuela Marsano