Rome, the capital of Italy, covers an area of 1,290km2 and is located in the region of Lazio, on the west coast of the country. The metropolitan area of Rome, instituted by law 142/90, covers 5,352km2 and 3,981,000 inhabitants. Rome’s main activities, as capital, are in the administrative, political, and service sectors. Also, the touristic sector, including transport, hotels and others, is an important asset of the City entrances: these economic activities are generally concentrated in the geometric centre of Rome, especially in the historic part.
In spite of this concentration of activities, a sufficiently developed radial system of connection and services has not been developed. In fact, the public transport system handles only 40% of the total trips while 60% of trips are made by private transport. This mode split is further characterised by a large number of private vehicles (about 1,800,000) despite the general lack of parking spaces.
This dominance of the private car is particularly difficult to manage given the urban fabric of Rome, which was not designed to accommodate cars, with roads narrow, uneven, and not forming a grid pattern. Notwithstanding, through the development of sustainable mobility policies and the use of ITS systems, the City Administration is trying to reduce congestion, the impact of air pollution, long trip times, and high transportation costs.
The transport situation in Rome
In the last 35 years in the metropolitan area of Rome there was a threefold leap in terms of kilometres travelled, due to the increased length of trips and the 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 kilometres travelled) during the same time period. Consequently, the public transport modal share, holding 56% of total motorised trips in 1964, has sharply decreased and today accounts only for 34% of motorised trips.
To reverse this trend, the municipality has set a few clear goals aimed at achieving equilibrium between transport demand and supply and it approved the Piano Generale del Traffico Urbano (PGTU – Urban Traffic General Plan) to tackle the mounting problem of public transport, mobility, and transport related emission. The key elements of the PGTU are:
star Updating of the road classification 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 comprehensive of the Master Plan, the Transport Plan, the Urban Parking Plan (PUP) and the other local and regional plans.
Controlled access zones map
The PGTU divides the metropolitan area in four according to modal repartition between public and private transport. The assumption is that such repartition is not constant but varies as a function of the characteristics of the destination zone and the level of infrastructures. Hence, the model consists of a central area and three concentric rings.
The history of Limited Access Zones in Rome
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 (Limited Traffic Zone). Other users may obtain permission to circulate and park in the LTZ area if they fall into certain categories, such as doctors with offices in the centre, artisans, etc.
In 1998 this authorisation became more complicated, since authorised non-residents are now 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 is free for residents (near their home or within their designated neighbourhood) but destination parking is burdensome for both residents and authorised non-residents.
Because of difficulty in enforcing this restriction of vehicles by the municipal police, Rome, after the test of a prototype, is in the process of implementing an automatic access control system.
Rome’s activities in PRoGR€SS
Traffic restrictions for the central area began in 1989 when non-authorised vehicle entrances were prohibited during most business hours. Only residents and a select group of non-residents that require access to the centre were allowed to enter. The restriction was more strictly enforced from 1994 onwards; and, in 1998, annual payments were required for the authorised non-resident permits.
The main objective is of reducing the number of vehicles accessing LTZ to those strictly necessary, and promoting public transport and intermodality along rail lines far from historic centre, through the adoption of a fully integrated public transport fare system.
Permits are granted by the municipal offices and were initially given free of charge to residents and users falling into specific categories. From 1998 some specific authorised non-residents are required to pay yearly in order to obtain the permit (equivalent to 12 public transportation monthly passes). Permits to access LTZ are at present about 155,000.
Access permits to LTZ pie chart
Rome adopted in 1994 the access limitation to the LTZ of the city centre sectors east of Tiber (area of 4.6km2). In 1998, the payment for a yearly permit to access the area only for specific users was introduced. From October 2001, during the PRoGR€SS demonstration, 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. The automation of the access control system is being accomplished through the use of a series of gates that can effectuate, without user intervention, the identification and/or the applicable tariff for vehicle entrance into the restricted area (vehicle-ground beacon). The enforcement is active during the weekdays from 6.30am to 6.00pm and on Saturday from 2.00 to 6.00pm.
The following types of technology infrastructure, based on the technology used for the TELEPASS system:
TV Camera and infra-red Illuminators
On-board Unit with Smart Card
Full real pricing scheme-real charging, real users, real revenues
Area covered by system: 4.6km2
Number of charging points: 22+1 entrance gates
Number of users: 30,000 resident vehicles, 30,000 service vehicles (free access), 50,000 plates for disabled peoples (free access), 29,000 authorised individuals and 8,000 freight delivery vehicles (have to pay for access)
Number of trips per day: about 70,000
Rome’s Access Control System
The overall goal is to produce a mechanism that encourages modal shift away from private transport to public transport. This shift will occur by reducing the current number of private trips to the centre, both destination and through trips, on-street parking management, adjustment of PT supply and PT tariffs, according to the new pricing scheme proposed.
The reduction of congestion and lowering of pollution through road pricing is expected to improve the health conditions of residents and visitors to the restricted area. Currently, the historical centre suffers from high pollution – in particular benzene, CO, NO and PM10 – which are potent health risks, especially for children. In addition, these reductions in disbenefits from transportation can lead to improved attraction to the historical centre and, subsequently, economic growth. Rome’s fiscal objectives for road pricing are to dedicate all revenue to mobility related projects. After operating for one year, the ACS+RP system shows results of a 20% reduction of traffic flows as well as a 6% increase of public transport.
The introduction of different road pricing schemes in the LTZ, during the current operational time of the ACS+RP (from 6:30am to 6:00pm) would not lead to substantial changes in terms of overall modal split, because only a relatively small number of the vehicles currently accessing the area can be considered as subject to charges. This result led to the conclusion that it would have been useless to refine the control system, in particular with the implementation of exit gates, and to change consolidated scheme and procedures. Besides, a peak of transits after the switch off of the system at 6pm is measured.
The intention of Rome in the second part of PRoGR€SS is thus running the full-scale ACS+RP and to verify the effects of a road pricing scheme application in the evening period or of an enlargement of the full scale ACS+RP in the evening period. The two considered scenarios (the “morning/afternoon” one and the “evening” one) are completely different for many reasons:
In the first one, only selected groups of car drivers (residents, authorised car drivers and public utility vehicles) are allowed to access the area, while in the second one the access is completely free
As a consequence of the previous item, in the evening hours a quite large set of car drivers just cross the area, without having their destination inside it
In the morning/afternoon hours systematic trips are prevailing, while in the evening period most of the trips are for leisure or for purchase purposes
Access comparison graph
The demonstration in PRoGR€SS is structured as follows:
June 2001 – June 2004
From the second part of 2001, the electronic full scale Access Control System and flat-fare Road Pricing scheme (ACS+RP) called IRIDE will be switched on with the use of 23 entrance gates and a complex control centre located in STA. The automatic access gates and control systems in place will be tested by real-life usage (previously only a small section was subject to technical verification). Infrastructure investments will be limited to the diffusion of the On-Board Units to different categories from the expected ones (residents and disabled peoples) to analyse the behaviour of some business users (authorised, freight delivery, etc).
2003 – 2004
A heavy assessment and modelling of the effects of a road pricing scheme application in the evening period (from 6:00pm to 11:00pm), even with a low charge, in order to assimilate the road pricing scheme to an anticipated parking payment. Impacts are expected mainly on the traffic flows crossing the demonstration area, creating a benefit for the zone. After that, the results that could be obtained with the enlargement to the evening of the ACS+RP scheme will be compared with the pure RP scheme above described and synthesised for the final decision of the Rome administration. A demonstration with a user panel will be anyway proposed to the Rome Administration, evaluating the needs for the large-scale application of the RP evening scheme. Infrastructure investments will be limited to the addition of a different software procedures, necessary support for the pricing system of the evening hours, to be integrated in the IRIDE system without changing the management of the ACS+RP system of the morning hours.
Change of trips crossing LTZ with evening Road Pricing
As regards complementary measures, the principal objective is to evaluate the effect of the “EXPRESS” bus lines: innovative high capacity and high frequency lines designed on radial routes with the aim of increasing the number of PT users through the improvement the quality of the service (18 metre buses operated) and the accessibility to the city centre (LTZ).
Very important issues to solve are consultation and user needs analysis. Throughout the entire project there will be a continuous information interchange with citizens and representative associations, aimed to calibrate and organise the demonstration campaign on the basis of their needs and requests with continuous updating of web pages.
General information will be distributed on the phasing of the pricing program, to whom it applies, what exceptions exist (for example, how to handle emergency room visits for the hospital in the historical centre), impacts on tourism, etc.
Evaluation will be conducted in five major fields with emphasis on users. These are:
User reactions (driving, attitudes, behaviour, choices made)
Car user evaluation (acceptance, preferences)
System design (basic feasibility evaluation of the system)
Traffic effects (also using traffic models)
Environmental effects (in relation to benzene directive)
The Rome Municipality is the local authority for the city of Rome, with responsibility on land use management, urban planning and transport management.
STA (site-leader and WP3 leader of PRoGR€SS project in Rome) is the Rome Mobility Agency, a company owned by the Municipality of Rome which develops, plans and implements:
City mobility plans
Intelligent transport system (ITS) project which support mobility management;
Traffic light system paid on-street parking and public parking structures
(including park & ride facilities);
Integrated mobility policies;
Interventions for the revitalisation of sections of the urban area
ATAC operates the surface public transport for the City of Rome, and since the end of 2002 is now responsible also for Sustainable Development policies in the city. The goal is to increase the use of public transport over private means of transportation through the achievement of a quality service able to meet clients’ and citizens’ needs. In addition, it aims to implement a light rail network and to ensure an improvement in service quality. In Rome, there are nearly 10,000 ATAC employees (drivers, technicians, administrative, and managers) that ensure the daily public service on 272 lines, a network of 2,167km, and a total of 2,476 buses.
The Transport area of DITS, the Department of “Idraulica, Trasporti, Strade” (Hydraulics, Transport and Roads) at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, is dedicated to education and research activities in transportation. Research areas include transportation systems analysis, planning and operation, vehicle dynamics, and railway plants.
ISIS, Istituto di Studi per l’Informatica e i Sistemi, is a highly specialised research and consultancy firm, whose core competence is in the field of information management. ISIS was established in 1971, and has since accrued a highly recognised expertise in servicing a wide range of public institutions, at the European, national, and local level. Currently, ISIS activities are ranging from Research Projects (EU 4th and 5th Framework Programme and national research projects) to the development of databases and information systems in the areas of energy, transport and environment.
The Rome partners are developing the scenarios, the road pricing schemes, the setting up of the complementary measures and are studying the ways to gain political acceptance of the implemented solutions.
Other European projects
The Rome Partners are currently involved in other EU projects, integrating research on land use, transport integration and, sometimes, road pricing issues; below, the principal STA projects and links are indicated.
Capitals’ Partnership in Launching further Useful Information Services set-up of Information Traffic and Travel Services
Healthier Environment through Abatement of Vehicle Emission and Noise
European Urban Road Pricing Network
Electric Two-Wheelers On Urban Roads
Multi Initiative for Rationalised Accessibility and a Clean, Liveable EnvironmentS