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Context Description

In the last 35 years in the metropolitan area of Rome there was a threefold leap in terms of kilometers travelled, due to the increased length of trips and number of vehicles (+650%). This growth has not been matched by a parallel development of the public transport system that has only recorded a 90% increase in terms of kilometers travelled during the same period. Consequently, the public transport modal share, holding 56% of total motorized trips in late 70s, has sharply decreased and today accounts only for 24% of motorized trips.

Presently the city of Rome has a population of 2.8 million inhabitants, 1.96 million cars and more than 550,000 motorcycles and motor scooters circulating in Rome. The modal choice for travel in Rome is split in 52% on private vehicle, 24% for public transport and the rest is constituted by two wheels and walking/cycling. The pressures of so many people and vehicles have created two interrelated problems, traffic congestion and environmental degradation.

To reverse this trend, the municipality has set few clear goals aimed at achieving a sort of equilibrium between transport demand and supply.

Therefore Rome's General Traffic Master Plan includes a strategy to improve mobility, modify modal split in favor of public transport and sustainable modes, increase traffic safety, decrease air and noise pollution, safeguard health, and preserve Rome's historical and architectural heritage. The strategy is to restrict or limit private car use in the city centre and gradually relax these restrictions outside. At the heart of this strategy is mobility demand management, in keeping with the EU policy on sustainable transport.

The scheme is accompanied by complementary restrictive measures on traffic regulation and management, such as the implementation of the Limited Traffic Zones, accompanied by different parking fares depending on city areas, and innovation and improvement of local Public Transport systems.

The Urban Traffic General Plan (PGTU) thus tried to tackle the mounting problem of public transport, mobility, and transport related emissions. The key elements were:

  • Road classification updating according to the relative function (i.e. pedestrian, local traffic, main traffic)
  • Definition of transport demand policies (i.e. controlled access zones, parking pricing)

  • The administration adopted a collaborative approach that brought the PGTU to be envisaged as an element of a broader plan including the Master Plan, the Transport Plan, the Urban Parking Plan (PUP) and other regional and local plans.

  • The PGTU divided the metropolitan area into five, as shown in the figure below, and namely:

  • The historical centre (A), corresponding to the Restricted Access Zone (LZT), has an area of about 6 km2 and shows the highest concentration of business activities (21 thousand workers/km2): less than 1% of the municipal territory hosts 13% of the total workers, while population amounts to only 2% over the total;

  • The central area (B) borders internally the historical centre and externally the railway ring. The area is densely populated and presents a great deal of business activities;

  • The semi-central area (C) borders internally the central area and externally is approximately identified by the inner ring road. The area is characterized by a medium business density and the highest population density (about 11 thousand inhabitants/km2);

  • The peripheral area (D) covers the rest of the urban settlement within the GRA (Great Ring Road). Business and residential density are lower than in the previous cases;

  • Finally the suburban area (E), located externally to the GRA, presents the lowest business and residential densities. During the Seventies, there has been a change in the trends of the natural balance and the migratory balance, which contributed to the doubling of population after the Second World War.

The road pricing scheme in Rome was not introduced under specific legislation but rather evolved from access control zones originally implemented in historical urban center.

The history of access control in Rome began in 1989 when restrictions were placed on vehicle entrances for the historical centre. These restrictions were not enforced in a systematic way until 1994 when municipal police were used to block the entrances into the area. Permission to enter is given free of charge to residents within the LTZ. Other users may obtain permission to circulate and park in the LTZ area if they fall into certain categories (i.e. doctors with offices within the city centre, artisans).

In 1998 this authorization became more complicated, since allowed non-residents were required to pay yearly the equivalent of 12 months public transport passes in order to obtain a permit for the access control area. Furthermore, parking was free for residents (near their home or within their designated neighborhood) but destination parking is burdensome for both residents and authorized non-residents.

Because of difficulty in enforcing this restriction of vehicles by the municipal police, Rome, from October 2001 the electronic full scale Access Control System and flat-fare Road Pricing scheme (ACS+RP) called IRIDE was switched on with the use of 23 entrance gates and a complex control centre located in STA (local transport agency nowadays called ATAC).

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