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Enabling factors to develop sustainable transportation in Italy

Rome, 29/03/2017, National Roundtable
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Discussions at this national roundtable emphasized that sustainable mobility is a fundamental underpinning of any goods and people transport system that, while meeting movement and transportation needs, does not give rise to negative environmental and health impacts but rather contributes to ensuring improved quality of life.

In this regard, it was suggested that formulating a strategy aimed at reducing noise and air pollution as well as saving energy requires measures grounded in analysis of the growing demand for connectivity and in the increasingly specialized need for infrastructure and transport services. It was stressed that one of the linchpins of new mobility networks is the shift towards lower-emission modes of transport that are capable of drawing on all the benefits offered by technological innovation.

The process involved was described as complex, with numerous and reciprocal influences at play between the new movers in the mobility sector, ranging from transport utility companies and car sharing services through to Big Data. It was observed that a transition is underway towards electrically-powered vehicles – with the long-term goal of progressively upgrading the fleet currently in operation – spurred by the widespread development of charging stations that ensure interoperability and standardization, in line also with the European Directive on the Deployment of Alternative Fuels Infrastructure (DAFI).

The participants acknowledged, however, that as such measures require policies that are “joined up”, the need arises for a national energy strategy with a strong focus on renewables, especially if the objective is for both urban and interurban transport to be effected via electric vehicles. It was felt that a synergistic and complementary integration of different modes of transport should be understood as representing the core strategy, with allowance made for mobility approaches and solutions scaled to different local conditions, based on respecting the identities and historical significance of given urban complexes, ranging from densely or moderately built-up areas through to the country’s small local communities, so as to favor their urban regeneration. Indeed, it was urged that account should be taken of the spatio-physical scale of cities, as this informs the manner in which transport flows are to be organized and managed.

From this – it was observed in conclusion – stems the crucial role of urban policies and spatial planning tools (sustainable urban mobility plans, urban traffic master plans, and so on) within the context of realistic and technologically innovative scenarios for modal splitting, parking reorganization, interchange hub provision, and new opportunities for bicycle and pedestrian use. The foregoing considerations were seen as closely correlated to a mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) approach, which entails responsible and informed transport mode choices, with the result of overcoming a mechanistic and aseptic view of mobility as simply a means of getting from point A to point B.