As announced in the previous article published on Brussels Diplomatic last October 26th, we propose an article on the first results achieved in one of the three new projects approved under Interreg Europe Programme, the Regio-Mob project.
This regional analysis is the result of a series of meetings and interviews that involved the regional stakeholders and took place in numerous towns of the Metropolitan area of Rome during the months of June, July and September 2016.
One of the main results of such meetings and interviews is that Public transport service provision is viewed by stakeholders as an important component of the overall transportation planning and management process, according to the SWOT analysis that sprang out of the questionnaires subministrated to the regional stakeholders involved in the aforementioned meetings and interviews that were carried out by the team of Anci Lazio.
In addition, such Regional analysis is in line with the new guidelines of the Lazio Region for the citizen participation as a crucial means to share a Mobility Plan to be tailored to the needs of the people.
Population growth exerts considerable pressure on infrastructure and natural resources in Lazio region, particularly in the Metropolitan area of Rome. One of the most obvious in daily life is the transportation system, both in terms of how it impacts the environment and the congestion typically experienced in most cities and towns of Lazio region. How additional transportation demand will be served in growing urban areas of Lazio region is considered by stakeholders to be an important issue for achieving sustainability. Indeed, the relationship between the transportation system, urban form, trip demand, and energy use is paramount in addressing the challenges presented by urban growth. This may be attributed to the considerable economic inefficiency and environmental degradation associated with excessive private vehicle travel especially in the metropolitan area of Rome.
Public transport represents a means by which people can efficiently move throughout a region with the least amount of impact on the environment. However, automobile travel offers individuals more freedom and flexibility in movement. The territory of Lazio region, in particular, must contend with inherent automobile dependence and a reluctance of individuals to make a switch to public transportation.
The challenge for Regio-Mob project is to identify effective strategies and policies for dealing with citizens resistance to travel by public transport. One important factor is ensuring that the regional public transport system is a viable travel alternative. In particular, the system must get people from where they are to where they need to go, in a reasonable amount of time. The current public transportation system in Lazio region currently tends to have more difficulty competing with automobile travel times, despite the very frequent traffic jams throughout the metropolitan area of Rome.
Thus, regional analysis approaches are needed for evaluating public transport access and efficiency within the context of regional policies and ERDF ROP 2014-2020. This is the reason why during the Summer 2016 Anci Lazio facilitated debate and discussion with the regional stakeholders (mayors of towns and cities, enterprises, concerned associations and citizens) in order to develop a SWOT analysis regarding the effectiveness of current services as well as establish a framework for developing system changes that ultimately provide better service.
Public transport access and efficiency is examined in such a SWOT analysis, with a particular attention to the areas of high population density located in the Southern metropolitan area, Castelli Romani area, that is the target area of REGIO-MOB project.
Public transport in the region consists of bus, rail and ferry services, with bus being the dominant mode. However, according to the Mobility Plan of Lazio Region, 60% of the road traffic has to be converted into rail traffic by 2020.
- Transportation and sustainability
Stakeholders and citizens of Lazio region are increasingly aware of the need to create better environmental, social and economic conditions over the short and long terms. Addressing these conditions is the basis for moving cities and regions towards a more sustainable existence. The relationship between transportation and sustainability as well as the linkages between population density and energy consumption are rather obvious for the mayors interviewed during the meetings. In addition, the implications for transportation are obvious given its use of, and reliance on, non-renewable resources as well as the generation of negative externalities in the form of increased congestion and air and noise pollution. In addition, transportation systems contribute to the social qualities of a region. The ability to maintain one’s network of family and friends is vital to perceptions of quality of life since transportation provides the means for this interaction. The economic prosperity of a region is tied directly to the transportation services provided, with one of the primary activities being the distribution of goods and service. In all, there is an inter- connectivity and dependency upon the various elements of sustainability and transportation.
In Southern Metropolitan area of Rome, where population growth has been substantial, addressing issues of sustainability has been recognized as being essential. In fact, transportation, and public transport in particular, receives considerable attention by the Mayors of the towns of Castelli romani and is seen as a key element in addressing sustainability concerns in the region.
A major priority is to increase collective transport utilization rates. It is recognized that major changes are in order if collective transport is to be a more effective travel mode option. However, little has been done to evaluate policy goals and system performance, particularly, with respect to access and efficiency of the collective transport services. Hence, the crucial role the Regio-Mob project can play in making regional stakeholders aware on the importance of the improvement of existing regional policies.
Since 60s, public transport systems have been declining as access to private vehicles has increased. During this period, public transport systems have largely proven to be unprofitable, resulting in reduced service levels. Increasing today public transport utilization in Lazio region, however, is not a simple or straightforward endeavor, as numerous regional stakeholders say.
- Access to collective transportation
A critical factor in collective transport use is the access time or distance that someone is forced to overcome to get to a service stop whatever it is, either car pooling or bus or train. This is in contrast to the operation and connectivity of the collective transport system. There is origin- and destination based access. The former may be considered the distance from one’s residence to their nearest public transport service stop, whereas the latter represents the distance from one’s desired trip target to its nearest public transport service stop. Access to collective transport is an important service performance measure and is expressly recognized in most regional transportation plans.
In fact, the efficiency of collective transport is recognized as essential in that it must be more competitive with automobile travel times. However, the nowadays utilization of collective transport is very low. Given this, it is important that alternative strategic approaches be developed and utilized in the analysis of public transportation service provision, if current trends of decreasing collective transport utilization are to be altered.
- Developing system changes: analysis of “exchange poles”
The increasing congestion in the Metropolitan area of Rome and urban parking problems encourage mobility managers of Lazio Region to see exchange poles as an opportunity for the interconnection between private and public transport to out of Rome.
These nodes are scheduled to organize and ease the matching between bus lines, railways stations and stops, helping the expansion of the transport networks, to become a preferred entry point for the users.
According to the SWOT analysis here below, what emerges from the interviews to the regional stakeholders involved, particularly from the mayors of the towns within the Castelli Romani target area, is the attention of the collectivity and operators on the exchange nodes that can make the difference in terms of improving the collective transport services.
Use of the collective transport system is encouraged by providing a quality service, characterized by a number of components that influence users’ choices in various ways. The creation of interchange poles for mobility results essential to facilitate the transfer between different transport modes and/or within the same mode. So the modal integration includes various options for the by different interchange points of view in terms of technology (motorized and non-motorized means of transport, road-rail), travel contexts (urban-rural) and functional characteristics generally attributed to individual mobility reasons (commuters, leisure, service and family trips, neighborhood trips and long distance connections).
The involvement of the community into the problem above mentioned has as aimed objective those related to the connection between the city of Rome and the entire metropolitan area that is synthetically expressed in the SWOT analysis.
In fact, what emerges from the SWOT analysis is that the interchange nodes, the connection between private transport and collective transport, are strongly needed in the metropolitan area of Rome, enough to suggest the team of Anci lazio to research good practices on the specific topic of exchange poles, among those provided by the Regio Mob partnership.
- Basic public transport available in the target area
- Good quality and capacity of arterial railways and some arterial roads
- Fairly good accessibility of the concerned towns of the target area
- Fairly good quality of arterial transport connections (railways, buses, roads…)
- Public transport connection even to small, isolated towns
- Landscape suitable for cycling which is a tourism potential
- Good localization of the target area within the region
- No barrier-free access in most railway and bus stations
- No support for e-mobility: some remote areas have poor quality of access to internet and mobile phone networks
- Lack of public transport linking rural and peri-urban areas
- Demographic growth in remote areas with lower density in services
- Bad interconnection between bus and train in the target area
- Long commuting times for public transport + Lack of public transport, insufficient frequency
- High dependency on car + Unsatisfactory measures to provide alternative means of access
- Coordination of railroad and public traffic fails
- Unsatisfactory intermodal changing options in public transport both in time and in locality
- Poor establishment of cycle route network + Lack of bicycle stands at train and bus stations
- Lack of funds
- Lack of cooperation between the municipalities
- Low awareness of alternative transport economic advantages
- Lack of strategic planning
- Bus for shopping trips for senior citizens and persons with disabilities organised by NGOs
- More funding of transport infrastructure from the EU
- Railway connection /Expansion of railway
- Ensure public transport with the help of tourism
- Create attractive pedestrian paths and compact settlement structures
- Demand-oriented public transport
- Adaption of public transport to the needs of elderly people
- Up-building the railway infrastructure in the region
- Promotion of network services between railway and bus services
- Bringing new demand-oriented transport services to rural areas
- Network between bike renting services and public transport services
- Development of car-sharing and car-pooling services
- Little demand for buses and trains make them unprofitable
- Continuing decrease of public transport services
- Urban sprawl +Traffic congestion + Increasing amount of in-commuters, bottleneck congestion
- Decrease of funds for public transport in rural areas
- No income generates interest for new services in rural areas
- Further elimination of bus lines because of the lack of passengers
- Rising differences in frequency of bus connections between tourist areas and rural settlements
- Trend of suburbanization increases car use
- Because of declining public transport network, decreases the willingness of the population still further off to use them
- Public transport becomes difficult to finance due to little demand and fiscal cuts
- Decrease of the importance of regional railroad transport
- High traffic volumes and pollution due to increasing use of private vehicles