The new challenges for sustainable mobility:

From 2017 it is mandatory for cities over 100 thousand inhabitants to adopt the Urban Sustainable Mobility Plans. But with the advent of digital platforms and sharing mobility, they are already "old". The challenge now is to see urban centres as a set of different but interconnected and integrated transport networks

Now more than ever, in large urban centres, sustainable mobility is needed. Most cities are now characterized by huge flows of vehicular traffic and by common accessibility problems to authorized parking areas, with negative implications for the environment and the quality of life of citizens.

The concept of sustainable mobility, and the debate that ensued date back to the late 1990s. Today, however, the reorganization of urban mobility has become a priority issue, inextricably linked to the concept of territorial sustainability and oriented, therefore, towards energy saving, the reduction of risks and polluting power, the safeguarding of health and public space, as well common.

In urban centers, traffic congestion, high accident rates, polluting emissions, public transport that does not always meet the needs of citizens and the degradation of urban areas (due to the massive occupation of cars to the detriment of pedestrian and pedestrian areas) put the question on how to ensure the transfer of people and goods, improving effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability.

The cities considered most virtuous in addressing this phenomenon have been equipped with tools defined as "addressing": the PUMS (Urban Plans for Sustainable Mobility) that outline the strategic lines for achieving a series of objectives.

The goal system of the PUMS is generally divided into four macro-categories, which refer to the many dimensions of the concept of sustainability that are now consolidated: development, environment, society, economy that must be tackled with initiatives aimed at maximizing the positive effects.

Sustainable mobility: mandatory plans for cities from 2017

With the Decree of 4 August 2017, the Urban Sustainable Mobility Plans have become an obligation for all Italian cities over 100,000 inhabitants but, only two years after the Decree, the global web and "digital platforms", in particular, Mobility Sharing (car, bike, scooter, ...), have also changed this sector, making the PUMS a reality already to be adapted and updated.

The new digital platforms have distorted the methods of policymakers, accustomed to studying mobility, generally shared, as a simple grid of roads and nodes (intersections, parking lots, stops) on which to insert the private and public transport network (preferential lanes ), interchange nodes (parking areas where you can leave your car and take public transport), etc.

Today, however, the issue has reached greater complexity: carpooling, car sharing, bike sharing, ride-hailing, scooters and scooters, all with the declination of the electric, have in fact transformed the concept of "network and nodes" making the urban transport system a constantly changing matrix (experts call them "eco-mobility systems"), introducing the concept of "Smart Mobility" (intelligent mobility).

The public administrations are consequently obliged to a continuous and rapid adjustment, both in terms of the study of mobility itself (with the traditional PUMS), and in terms of authorization: where to build parking lots, install the electric charging stations, which rules to give for access to the historic center and which routes to assign to means of transport (an example of these days is the debate on the placement and classification of electric scooters and e-bikes).

In response to these rapid changes, the transport system is increasingly fragmenting into micro-services and private multi-operators that, if not properly regulated, follow the commercial rule of maximizing profits, favouring service areas based on profits and not utility (eg no car sharing in peripheral or popular areas).

In a complex system like the one described, a central technical direction is essential in order to guarantee an efficient but also sustainable and inclusive mobility of all people.

Sustainable mobility: now intermodality is needed with the help of Big Data

The new challenge for policymakers in this sector is, therefore, the creation of an intermodality accessible to all, adapting Urban Plans to emerge needs and rethinking, even with the help of BIG DATA, the city as a set of networks of different transport but interconnected. Playing with acronyms could redefine PUMIS: Urban Plans for Intelligent and Sustainable Mobility.

23/10/2019 - Source