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An Italian Perspective on the Future of Urban Mobility

5 minute read
Mobility, Transport

Last week Tranzer had the chance to join Citytech, one of the leading Italian events discussing the innovations and processes pioneering the future of mobility. This was also Tranzer’s first live event in Italy and we got the chance to finally meet operators, partners, and key stakeholders, faccia a faccia, for two days of exchanges.

The event was the perfect occasion to peek into the state of the evolutions in public transport and urban mobility in Italy: public authorities and institutions, public transport operators, mobility service providers and mobility tech companies were all present to discuss the outlook on urban mobility. 

The city of Milan, where CityTech was hosted

It was the occasion for a lively debate around the challenges urban mobility has to face. Challenges such as the need for more flexible services, a transition towards more sustainable travelling, and the opportunities provided by new technologies and services for a new concept of mobility in our cities. Developments that all have become more evident by the impact of Covid in the country.

Targets for the Italian Public Transport Sector

The complexity of these many challenges faced by the public transport sector, both in Italy and other countries, is due to many different factors playing a role. 

One of the most pressing issues, discussed in length during the first day of the event, is the need for a transition towards more sustainable and less polluting means of transport. For public transport operators this means new electric buses and more efficient rolling stocks. 

Italian operators are focusing extensively on this topic. For example, ATM, the PTO of the city of Milan and one of the hosts of the event, recently announced a complete transition to a fully electric fleet of buses by 2030. FNM, the second largest rail operator in the country, even announced a project to turn the trains operating in the region of  Valcamonica into hydrogen fuelled ones.

COO Eric van Eijndhoven and Business Development Manager Federico Bosio at CityTech

The Italian public transport sector is expected to undergo an extensive renewal and modernization in its fleet. A big push is expected from the upcoming availability of investments coming from the next generation EU. Indeed, a considerable portion of the €63 billion that will be made available by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Sustainable Mobility (MIMS) will be invested in fleet renovations.  

Citizen-Focused Mobility

Public Transit is but a component of the mobility options available to people in cities. Personal mobility plays a rather fundamental role as well. This topic was the focus of the second day of conversations and panels. The debate centered on the relationship between new, shared modes of transport, like e-scooters and bike-sharing services, and the policies of mobility authorities of major Italian cities, like Rome, Milan, Turin and Bologna, with exponents of both parts instauring a lively debate.

It is apparent that an equilibrium needs to be found between the need to invest in these new services, which certainly have a role to play in providing citizens with ways to move sustainably (replacing the need to own a car) and the necessity to regulate this new market to ensure safety and proper use of public space.

Irrespective from the point of view, it is difficult to argue against the need for public-private cooperation to make the most out of the opportunities given by these new services. Especially since they are so appreciated by consumers, as the increasing number of rides and operators active in Italy shows. 

The new round of investments in new biking infrastructures and policies, like dedicated bike lanes and limited traffic zones, in all the major italian cities will certainly help to increase the safety and the uptake of these new services, as well as of private bicycling, which has a potential to reduce traffic which is still largely untapped in Italy.

Digitization for Italian Mobility

Finally, the whole discussion came together under the central topic of the future of public transport and of the new digital services that are rising next to it.

The mobility sector has been one of the most recent industries to be hit by the digitisation wave. The digitisation of mobility is made most evident by the plethora of innovative mobility services (ride hailing, micro mobility and shared mobility) which became an option for people to move within cities, next to Public transport and traditional services, like taxis. Public Transport also became more digital, with technologies like mobile and account based ticketing substituting for traditional paper tickets in most Italian cities. The smartphone is increasingly becoming the principal interface between people and mobility.

There is still a long way to go to make sure that the new abundance of options results in a more efficient and sustainable mobility ecosystem. This abundance is not an added value if people cannot easily access these services. Also more specifically if certain categories of users, like tourists and occasional travellers, don’t know how easy it is to reach their destination with PT or to combine their bus ticket with parking or a shared-scooter. 

Tranzer to bring industry players together

What meeting all these companies, transport operators and authorities last week showed us, is that we are all fighting for the same cause, making our cities more livable, equitable and sustainable by improving the way people move, and that progress could be made much faster through collaboration and dialogue.

Tranzer is here to play its part.   

By combining all the different travel options and bringing them directly to the users when and where they need them, we want to contribute to the sustainable development of Italian cities.

We help Public transport operators and mobility service providers to reach new customers by bringing their services into the app people already have and use. In this way, by making it easy for people to travel easy & green with PT and shared mobility, we want to change the game for urban mobility. 

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