As we have seen in this report, in today's society, where everything is mobile-the population, love, the economic system, work etc.-moving, in the literal sense of the word, becomes a primary necessity, an expression of individual freedom. To paraphrase Descartes, we might say "moveo, ergo sum". Each of us is caught up in both the desire and the need to move around.
Veneto is certainly an area that attracts people and goods, thus generating different types of mobility. The so-called "urban sprawl" which has become more and more common in Veneto over the years, has led to areas becoming 'specialised' in a way: you live in place A, you take the children to school in place B, you work in place C, you do your shopping in place D etc. As a consequence the demand for transport has increased, especially for personal means of transport. This increase has been so vast that there are city planners who call for the need to go back to having areas encompassing all the different requirements: residential, commercial, tertiary and recreational. People should be able to get to these places on foot, by bike or by public transport, thus reducing the costs of mobility.
The layout of Veneto's local conurbations and its geographical location are both factors that contribute to the large amount of traffic, both of people and goods, passing through the region. Initially after the fall of the Berlin Wall and then after the EU approved the Pan-European corridors, traffic towards the East increased exponentially and Veneto became a sort of gateway towards the East and the South. This new role is both a privilege and a competitive advantage, but has also brought with it certain difficulties.
We must not forget the attraction Veneto holds for tourists, both day-trippers and otherwise. Visitors are drawn to Veneto by its mountains, beaches, historical cities and cultural attractions. On average 166,000 tourists per day come to Veneto, which is equivalent to an extra 34 people per 1000 residents.
The hospitals in Veneto also generate mobility. The patients who come to be looked after also bring their family members to help them; these people need somewhere to stay and so will move around the region.
Veneto's geographical position, both in its positive and negative aspects, needs to be 'governed' and managed in order to get the most benefit from it. Thus particular attention must be paid towards the quality of the infrastructure, whatever the reasons for mobility upon it. Communication and the movement of goods and of people depend on the infrastructure and so, therefore, do decisions to settle in an area and decisions for businesses to set themselves up in one place rather than another. It is no coincidence that Regione Veneto has placed a certain amount of emphasis on the theme of mobility and transport in its recent planning with its Regional Development Plan (RDP), Regional Territorial Coordination Plan (RTCP) and Three-year Roads and Transport Plan.
Objectives set out by the Regional Development Plan for the mobility sector include creating what is known as "major infrastructure"; solving the emergency caused by traffic black-spots, which cause serious mobility problems and reduced production efficiency; and developing and improving the regional and local public transport system, both in terms of roads and railways.
Mobility is one of the crucial themes of the Regional Territorial Coordination Plan: the aim is to guarantee mobility and to protect the environment at the same time. The Plan proposes rationalising and strengthening the infrastructure network, improving mobility for different methods of transport, improving access to cities and to the region, and developing regional logistics.
The Regional Transport Plan for its part commits itself to "understanding the current mobility requirements and forecasting future trends in order to focus on solutions which take into account the many different needs" in the region.
The new 2009-2011 Three-year Roads and Transport Plan approved by the Regional Council last March contains some major figures: the Plan has allocated 411 million euro, 330 million of which is from regional funds, for work to deal with regional and provincial traffic issues. This work has already been agreed on by the seven Veneto provinces. Most of the funding (307 million euro, 93% of the regional input) will go towards creating new infrastructure. The remaining 6.8% (22.5 million euro) will go towards maintenance and emergency work. A very small share, 500,000 euro, is for research and projects. This Plan is the third to be put into action since 2001 when Regione Veneto took on the responsibility for roads and transport. With this Plan, 1,422 million euro will have been invested in modernising and adapting the transport network in Veneto. The province of Belluno will receive the biggest chunk of the financing (102.4 million euro, 50 million of which has been allocated to the Col Cavalier tunnel through the Regional-State agreement). Next on the list are the province of Padova (56.5 million euro), then Venezia (54.5 million euro) and Verona (52 million euro). Behind them are Vicenza (46 million euro), Treviso (44.6 million euro) and Rovigo (32 million euro). (Figure 4.1.1)
According to the 2007 Social Budget, the macro-area "Environment and Infrastructure" received the second biggest share of the regional budget: 1,113 million euro, 616 million of which were for the "Mobility Infrastructure" sector. The strategic aims of this sector were to rationalise, improve and adapt the regional roads network; to improve the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of public transport services; to carry out the major works planned; and to plan the development of Veneto as a great metropolitan area.
For years now, through-traffic has used the same roads as drivers taking short journeys within the region. As a consequence, Veneto citizens are subjected to all the negative external effects of the transport system: road congestion, accessibility problems, accidents, plus air and noise pollution. It is no coincidence that a recent survey carried out by Regione Veneto's Osservatorio delle Politiche Pubbliche (Observatory of Public Policies) revealed that "Traffic and Roads" is believed to be the most serious and urgent problem faced by the region (according to 28.1% of Veneto residents interviewed). Furthermore, in the ranking of regional policies believed to be most important, the "Roads, Railways and Local Transport" sector is in third place after "Health and Education". As opposed to the top two sectors however, the "Roads, Railways and Local Transport" sector continues to be seen as problematic. As far as work on infrastructure is concerned, one quarter of those interviewed named local public transport as the most urgent problem, followed by the roads (both in and outside of the cities). Of the services provided or financed by Regione Veneto, the only one which obtained mostly negative results was the local railways, especially regarding cleanliness, over-crowding and punctuality; they are also considered to be getting worse.
Similar results were obtained by a survey interviewing small- and medium-sized businesses, which characterise production in Veneto, carried out by the Leone Moressa Foundation. The aim of the survey was to find out which infrastructures have to absorb the biggest traffic flows caused by trade. Results show that 62% of the main clients and 60% of the suppliers to the small businesses interviewed are based within the region, and it is mainly local, provincial and state roads which are used to move products around (45.8%) and to supply goods (43.5%). According to 56.2% of businesses, important works such as the Passante di Mestre (Mestre Bypass) or the extension of the motorway towards Trieste, which is fundamental for dealing with through-traffic, should be accompanied by improvements to the network of local roads.
It follows that Veneto, in order to best make the most of its privileged geographical location, needs to set into action mobility policies in order to complete major infrastructural works, improve the use of regional roads, improve management of demand for transport of people and goods and build new relations between the region and transport and between the users and transport.
In order to take effective action as regards transport supply, whoever governs and makes plans for the region has to have good knowledge both of the state of the infrastructure network and also of its characteristics, as well as the styles and behaviour of the user. They have to be able to distinguish between the needs of those who demand mobility within the city and those outside of the city.
The road network
In order to analyse the physical nature of Veneto infrastructure, i.e. looking at actual physical resources, we can refer to what are known in literature on the subject as concentration or "absorption" indicators, which are calculated for every type of infrastructure. Regional data for 2007 indicates that the different types of infrastructure in Veneto have grown since 2000 with values above the national average (set at 100). (Table 4.1.1)
and (Table 4.1.2)
If, however, data on different types of infrastructure is studied in relation to surface area, resident population and vehicles on the roads the results are different. According to investigations carried out by Sole 24 Ore (an Italian financial newspaper) based on Istat and Bank of Italy data, the biggest inadequacies can be found in the regions of the North of Italy, which are traditionally the driving force behind Italy's development. Emilia Romagna, Toscana and Veneto featured in particular, but Lombardia and Piemonte are also just above halfway on the list. (Figure 4.1.2)
As regards road network in relation to surface area, developments were made in the ten-year period from 1996 to 2006. This was in line with national figures but still behind Veneto's competitor regions in Italy. (Figure 4.1.3)
A look at the length of the road network compared to number of vehicles using the roads confirms that the network in Veneto is not sufficient to sustain all of the traffic using it: there are just about 38 km for every 10,000 vehicles; Italy has 50 km, Emilia Romagna 52 km, Piemonte and Toscana more than 60 km. Out of Veneto's competitors, only Lombardia has a lower figure with 26 km.
In terms of road mobility, the data in the report indicates that the critical areas the region needs to deal with are not caused by poor infrastructure as such, but by the high number of users (people and businesses, each with their own means of transport. On the other hand, traffic congestion is a phenomenon that everyone has to face daily in the major transit hubs and is testimony to the road infrastructure's incapacity to deal with the sheer volume of traffic.
The new Mestre Bypass
The Mestre ringroad has long been one of the worst black-spots for motorway traffic in the whole of Veneto and also in the whole of Italy. When it was drawn up in 1972 it was conceived as a connecting road for the motorway, a link between the Milano-Venezia motorway and the Venezia-Trieste motorway. With time however, it also came to be used as part of the city's roads. In 1990 Regione Veneto's Regional Transport Plan predicted that it would reach saturation point in 2010 with an average of 110,000 vehicles passing through it on a daily basis. Instead the economic boom and the fall of the Berlin Wall speeded up the process bringing it to the point that already in 2008 more than 140,000 vehicles were registered passing through every day. On the other hand, Mestre is a strategic passing point both on a regional, national and international level, hence its congestion problems. The Mestre ringroad is also used by local traffic. The Miranese, Castellana and Terraglio roads all join it and so it cannot be avoided if one wants to cross the outskirts of Mestre. All of this can explain why the Mestre ringroad was often jammed, meaning it took much longer than it should have to cross it. The number of vehicles trying to cross the ringroad had reached around 150,000 per day (with some days reaching 170,000 even); 30% of these vehicles were heavy-goods vehicles. In 53% of cases the ringroad was being used as a link to the motorway and 47% were using it in order to move between different parts of the city. In rush hour up to 4,000 vehicles per hour were travelling in the two carriageways. Data provided by the SocietÓ delle Autostrade di Venezia e Padova (the local motorway company) on traffic flows at the motorway tolls on certain stretches of the ringroad, and on the main connecting roads, can help us understand better the extent and the growth of traffic in this area from 2003 to 2006. (Table 4.1.3)
Prospects for the future appeared very glum as short- and long-term traffic forecasts for the Mestre area predicted increases of more than 100% on certain stretches. (Figure 4.1.4)
The situation has improved thanks to the opening last February of the new Mestre Bypass. The new Bypass is 32.3 km long and from Dolo to Quarto d'Altino has three lanes. It allows traffic to bypass the old Mestre ringroad, which can now serve its original purpose, i.e. to provide for commuters. The main function of the new Bypass, an essential section of the Lisbon-Kiev transport corridor, was to relieve the ringroad of the through-traffic, which made up more than half the vehicles on it. Now all the through-traffic travelling from East to West and vice-versa can use the bypass to get past Mestre without ever having to leave the motorway. The only traffic that still uses the ringroad is that destined for the Venezia-Mestre area.
The first data available on daily vehicular traffic seems to confirm these predictions, showing a considerable reduction in the traffic using the ringroad, especially heavy-goods vehicles. (Table 4.1.4)
and (Table 4.1.5)
Another advantage of the new Bypass will be the reduction in the time it takes to cross certain sections of the region. Experts estimate that once all of the planned infrastructure has been completed, the time it takes to get from Treviso to Padova could decrease from the current 45 minutes to 20-25 minutes, and from Treviso to Vicenza it could decrease from 60 to 30-35 minutes. As a consequence, however, there would be more movements between the four cities: Vicenza, Treviso, Venezia and Padova.
It should be noted that the Mestre Bypass is not an isolated project but part of the plan for an extensive network of complementary roads, with a series of ordinary roads and ringroads that aim to relieve neighbouring towns of heavy traffic and give easy access to junctions on the Bypass. Once all this work has been finished, planned for 2010 or 2011, and the "Bypass system" is up and running, the local motorway company estimates that traffic flows both at the motorway tolls and on the different sections of the ringroad will be reduced by more than 20%. At the Venezia Ovest motorway toll reductions should reach 40%. (Table 4.1.6)
and (Table 4.1.7)
Local public transport
Veneto's infrastructure emergency has not been completely overcome however. On the one hand, completion of the Bypass makes it necessary to finish other works in the pipeline, such as building a third lane on the A4 Venezia-Trieste motorway and work on the Pedemontana and the Nuova Romea motorways and on the Alta VelocitÓ railway line. On the other hand we must remember that transport policies which concentrate solely on new road infrastructure are not compatible with promoting sustainable growth. To work towards the latter, action must be taken which aims to redress the balance between different forms of transport and integrate transport for people and goods as well as boost local public transport.
In what condition is the local public transport network? What is the supply available?
In Veneto in 2007 in the provincial capitals, for every 100 kmq of surface area there were 123 km worth of bus, tram and trolley-bus routes (the Italian figure was 120). Padova registered the highest figure with 213 km and Belluno the lowest with 57 km. Figures have not changed very much since 2000 in many of the provincial capitals, except for Vicenza (+9.4%), Verona (+4.6%) and Venezia (+3.7%). The number of available buses varies from 11.4 vehicles per 10,000 inhabitants in Vicenza to 5.5 in Treviso. Venezia, which also has water-buses, has 17.1 vehicles per 10,000 inhabitants. Variations on 2000 differ from city to city. (Figure 4.1.5)
For many years now the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport has carried out a census on the businesses providing local public transport for road passengers in the region (not including transport linking more than two regions). Figures 4.1.6 (Figure 4.1.6)
and 4.1.7 (Figure 4.1.7)
show various indicators on local public transport services provided by these companies. If we look at the per seat-kilometre indicator (Note 1)
, which gives us the real offer in transport, for 2006, the most recent year for which data is available, we can see that Veneto stands out for transport available outside the cities. Veneto is the second region in Italy, after Lombardia, for this type of supply, although it did decrease during the 1996-2006 ten-year period. Veneto is in last place out of all its competitors, on the other hand, for transport available within the cities, despite the fact that this supply increased between 1996 and 2006.
The increase in supply of public transport within the cities is certainly something positive considering the stiff competition from private means of transport, which seem to be better adapted to the individual's mobility needs, especially if we think about the so-called "city-users" (commuters, workers or students living outside the city, tourists etc.) who do not live in the city but who use its resources, thus increasing pressure on the city's services. Less than positive on the other hand is the decrease in public transport outside of the cities, especially considering that Veneto's urban sprawl means there is more need for people to move over medium to long distances, above all from the outskirts into the main centres to reach places of production, services and consumerism.
The demand for mobility
If on the one hand we have seen how Veneto's road infrastructure has grown over time, on the other hand there is much official statistical data which bears witness to the difficult situation in which the region finds itself. Veneto is constantly being assaulted by intense traffic flows of various types, and these have only decreased ever so slightly in the last few months as a consequence of the current economic crisis.
The car plays a major role in people's daily movements. According to Isfort, Italy's transport research institute, 77% of people leaving their homes (Italian figure: 79.5%) for reasons of work, study, family or leisure use a motorised means of transport; 79% of the time this is their private car (Italian figure: 72.6%). The percentage of those who use public transport (6.3%) or who use a combination of means of transport (4.4%) is very low.
The preference for road transport can also be seen clearly in the transport of goods. In the last ten years, 96%-97% of goods were transported via road (Italian figure: 92%-93%); this equalled 45 tonnes per inhabitant in 2005 (Italian figure: 25). Just 1%-1.5% of goods were transported by rail (Italian figure: 2%).
In 2007 as well, the most recent year for which data is available, the vehicle stock was on the increase, even though slightly less so than in previous years; it comprised more than 3,700,000 units, 76% of which were cars and 10% lorries, trailers and tractors.
Vehicles per 100 residents have increased by 9 compared to ten years ago: 78 (Italian figure: 79), if we consider only the adult population, this figure reaches 93 (Italian figure: 95). (Table 4.1.8)
, (Table 4.1.9)
and (Figure 4.1.8)
Data on motorway traffic in Veneto over the last ten years shows that for both heavy and light traffic, both the actual number of vehicles (the number of vehicles that entered the motorway, however far they travelled) and the quantity of vehicles per km (the overall number of kilometres travelled by vehicles on the motorway) have increased greatly.
The number of vehicles entering the motorway overall increased by 29%; in more detail, passenger traffic went up by 27.5% and goods traffic shot up by 34.5%. The Brescia-Padova motorway is the one with the highest absolute values of traffic flows. The Brennero-Modena motorway, on the section that runs from Brennero to Verona, is the one with the biggest increases: light traffic was up by 56% and heavy-goods vehicles by 70% (Figure 4.1.9)
and (Figure 4.1.10)
Overall kilometres travelled by vehicles on the motorway have also increased by 29% (+26% light traffic, +39% heavy-goods vehicles), with a peak of +32% for passenger vehicles on the Vicenza-Piovene Rocchette section and +47% for heavy-goods vehicles on the Brennero-Verona section. (Figure 4.1.11)
and (Figure 4.1.12)
Until 2007 traffic flows on the motorway increased continuously, but provisional data provided by Aiscat, Italy's motorway concessionaire, show signs of a slow down for the three-month period September-October-November 2008 and for the period January-November 2008. Figures are available only for motorway authorities, not for each individual section of motorway. Heavy-goods vehicles in particular seem to be decreasing; this can be blamed on the economic crisis which started in September of the same year.
All the motorway authorities in the three regions Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige and Friuli Venezia Giulia (known together as the "Triveneto") registered a decrease in traffic flows during the first eleven months of the year. This does not include the motorway authority Autostrade per l'Italia, which runs the Bologna-Padova and Mestre-Belluno sections. Autovie Venete, which runs the Venezia-Trieste motorway (along with the Palmanova-Udine and Portogruaro-Conegliano motorways) is the only authority which did not register any significant change in traffic flows. (Table 4.1.10)
, (Figure 4.1.13)
and (Figure 4.1.14)
In terms of mobility in the main urban centres, it is quite interesting to see how common the use of the motorcycle has become. In 2007 the municipality of Padova had 122 motorcycles on the roads per 1000 inhabitants (+52% compared to 2000); in Verona there were 118 (+61% compared to 2000). This growth can probably be put down to different factors: problems finding parking spaces, better manoeuvrability in and around other urban traffic, and increasing limitations on access for vehicles to certain areas of the city. (Figure 4.1.15)
Further proof that Veneto citizens prefer to use their own private cars for their daily mobility needs is given by the indicator on demand for public transport. Indicator values in the provincial capitals show that there is not a great tendency to use public transport. Excluding Venezia (which is a case of its own), all the other provincial capitals have a very low number of annual passengers using public transport per inhabitant compared to the Italian average. (Figure 4.1.16)
In terms of public transport outside of the cities, the total number of passengers per kilometre carried, after having decreased from over 2 billion in 1996 to 1.5 billion in 2003, started to increase again reaching 1.7 billion in 2006. This figure however is still much lower than the one for ten years earlier. Despite this, Veneto, along with Lombardia and Lazio, is one of the top regions for transporting passengers; together these three regions transported almost 40% of the national total.
Veneto citizens' mobility styles and behaviour
Getting to know Veneto residents' styles and behaviour in terms of mobility is undoubtedly of use to policy-makers for regional management and mobility issues. This means knowing the answers to questions such as: How often do citizens move around? How long for? How far? Why? What means of transport do they use?
The database created in 2000 by Audimob, the National Observatory on Italian Citizens' Mobility Styles and Behaviour, and carried out by Isfort (Note 3)
, can give us some of the answers to these questions.
We will discuss here the main results from the Isfort-Audimob study entitled "A cluster analysis on Veneto citizens' mobility styles and behaviour" and compare them with national figures.
The study takes the form of a regional focus on a previous nationwide analysis previously carried out by Isfort-Audimob and entitled "Six Italies of mobility. Citizens moving around: a cluster analysis on styles and behaviour in terms of demand".
Statistical analysis of the Audimob sample led to six clusters being identified, each divided according to certain discriminators: demand for short-term mobility (i.e. movements carried out the day before the interview took place); habitual use of means of transport (i.e. number of times used in the three months leading up to the interview); and perceptions and evaluations of transport and sustainable mobility (i.e. satisfaction with means of transport used, willingness to change means of transport, opinion on measures for reducing traffic and smog).
Table 4.1.11 (Table 4.1.11)
contains a list of the six groups from the national sample and from just the Veneto sub-sample; each is 'christened' with a short phrase which helps identify immediately what the main feature is, and each is weighted in terms of numbers of people with comparisons between 2000 and 2007. As we can see, the different groups in Veneto are not weighted that differently to those on a national scale. Compared to data for 2007, the only difference of any significance is in the cluster called "The Home-Work-Home Group of the Deep North (and Not Only)", which encompasses 23.9% of the total in Veneto and 21.6% in Italy. This means all the other groups have slightly lower figures in Veneto (except for the "Record Freetime" group) but the differences are question of decimal points, not much more.
If we look at the 2000-2007 variations, changes in Veneto are similar to those in Italy as a whole. The strongest group, the previously mentioned "Home-Work-Home" group is also the one which loses ground, although in Veneto ever so slightly less so than the Italian average (-4.7% compared to -5.1%). The major cluster, the "Hardcore Urban Mobility" group, is becoming much stronger, and more so in Veneto (+3.8% in Veneto compared to +3.0% on a national level). Of the minor clusters, the "Record Freetime" group and the "Better Stay Put" group increased significantly (+4.0% in Veneto and +4.6% in Italy and +3.8% in Veneto and +3.6% in Italy respectively). These increases have in turn caused the group "Hyperactivity of Youth" to plummet to a modest 8.6% (the national figure is only slightly better at 9.5%), as has the "Just a Few Small Errands and Not Much Else" group (-3.2% which is more than the Italian figure of -2.5%).
One of the first general considerations we can make concerns the redistribution of weight from 2000 to 2007. Data shows that changes to the traditional model of mobility are afoot. Symbolic of this is the drop in the "Home-Work-Home" group, although it does still stay in first place for the absolute share. The traditional "home-work-home" model of commuting is being worn down by the disjointed nature of reasons for moving around caused by the break-up of models of consumerism, the progressive segmentation of the job market (more self-employment, more 'unusual' positions, less job stability etc.) and the broadening of relationships (real and/or virtual). The traditional model focused on the single commuter, i.e. a full-time employee who went to work every day, taking the same route with one means of transport, usually a car or public transport.
The second group that is decreasing rapidly, and in Veneto more than in Italy as a whole, is the "Hyperactivity of Youth" group. This is certainly seeing the effects of the demographic structural drop and the ageing of the population, but it could also be the effect of a new subconscious tendency to close oneself away and turn back to traditional points of reference, i.e. the family or the "usual group of friends"; the new generations seem to pass through this phase when they first enter the job market.
In parallel, the "Record Freetime" group, which includes a lot of students and younger pensioners, is gaining in weight. This group is fuelled by that share of the older population who, as well as having increased numerically, tend ever more to rid themselves of that old idea of "social reclusion", namely staying at home, cut off from any work or social circles. Instead these people live a sort of "second youth", health and finances permitting, where they take trips, move around, cultivate new social relationships and make the most of the freetime they have. The same cluster also contains a significant number of young (and very young) people who put off entering the job market. This last group is on the increase and so giving further weight to the cluster.
Lastly, if we look closely at the situation in the cities in particular, the two groups which are becoming stronger, in Veneto more than in the rest of the country, are the "Hardcore Urban Mobility" group and the "Better Stay Put" group. These two groups represent two opposite approaches to that eclectic, chaotic and fragmented space which makes up life in the city nowadays: one group 'puts up a fight' and sometimes even wins (Hardcore Urban Mobility): the other is 'submissive' and nearly always loses (Better Stay Put). People in the "Hardcore Urban Mobility" group react to the strains created by the city by pushing themselves to their limits of self-organisation. They do not want to give up a lifestyle which encompasses work, family and home and leisure activities, and so they look for flexible transport solutions which enable them to move around in the shortest amount of time.
On the opposite side there are those who submit passively to the problems of city life, closing themselves into their own little world, i.e. their home, which they leave as little as possible, and their social world (growing solitude). "Better Stay Put" is the group made up of old-age pensioners who mainly live in small urban centres and reflect a growing trend towards this kind of social anonymity. In a region like Veneto where the social fabric has always been robust with a strong network of solidarity, the growth of this group should be setting off some serious alarm bells, and not only (and not really) in terms of mobility.
A cross-section of the clusters
The first feature to point out, which is completely in line with results on a national scale, is the clear gap in levels of consumption between the first three groups ("Hardcore Urban Mobility", "Hyperactivity of Youth" and "Home-Work-Home") whose demand for mobility is constant and great, and the last two groups ("Just a Few Small Errands and Not Much Else" and "Better Stay Put") where demand is minimal. (Figure 4.1.17)
Reasons for movements is a central element to each group and a recurring theme in analysing the clusters. This is particularly true for three of the groups, the second one ("Hyperactivity of Youth"), the third ("Home-Work-Home") i.e. commuters for work, and the fifth group ("Just a Few Small Errands and Not Much Else") which is mostly made up of women and older people who leave the house almost exclusively for reasons related to taking care of their home and family. (Figure 4.1.18)
In Veneto, as well as in Italy as a whole, demand in the cities is mainly characterised by the "Hardcore Urban Mobility" group. Members of this group conform to models of consumption which are typical of city-dwellers: short and repetitive scattered journeys made for different reasons (work, family, leisure) with a personal means of transport that makes it possible to get anywhere in the shortest amount of time.
Veneto contains a much higher share of residents who live in small urban centres, in particular those with 5,000-20,000 inhabitants (41.8% compared to the national average of 26.4%). Those from the small cities, or suburbs, dominate the "Home-Work-Home" group much more so than on a national level: in Veneto almost 65% of members of this group live in centres containing less than 20,000 inhabitants, compared to the Italian average of 48%. These living arrangements leave a strong mark on lifestyle and mobility. This cluster's (high) demand for mobility seems to focus entirely on a social context which revolves around the workplace and the "home", home referring to the family, to the local town and more widely, to a certain community and a certain territory.
It can be seen that those groups with the biggest mobility requirements in Veneto are both much more satisfied with individual means of transport (the car, motorbike, bike) than with collective means, and use public transport much less than they use their private means of transport. This shows that collective transport, as it is organised at the moment, is only partially able to meet the multi-faceted demand from the groups with the highest mobility needs. For example, those in the "Hardcore Urban Mobility" group are certainly not able to find a public transport service which is able to deal with their demand for scattered mobility. However, the "Home-Work-Home" group, who use collective transport fairly intensively, more than the national average, show that public transport can work when movements are regular and over a medium distance. (Figure 4.1.19)
Hardcore Urban Mobility
This sizable group (20.3% of the total), second on the list in terms of number and on the increase since 2000, represents the working urban class, educated and mature, and with a style of mobility which reflects the exhausting and frenetic life which is typical of urban centres.
Demand for mobility is high and scattered: with an average of 4.7 movements per day, this is the highest of all the groups and they have a travelling time of almost 80 minutes. Trips are short and repetitive, or often one-offs. This disjointed demand cannot be catered for by the inflexible and time-consuming nature of public transport. Thus members of this group almost always travel by car (71.7% compared to the 67% average) or by non-motorised transport-movements on foot or by bike make up almost 25% of the total-to make the most of the proximity of many of the places to be reached. They almost never use public transport: only for 1.3% of trips carried out (compared to the average of 8.3%); this is the lowest share of all the clusters.
Demographically, this group contains a higher percentage of women than on average, and ages mainly range from 30 to 45 years old (38.8% compared to the 32.5% of the total), but there is also a large component of over-65s (almost one fifth of the total), with very few young people (under-29 year olds make up only 11.2%, which is just over half of the average). The level of education is high: the share of graduates reaches 22.3%, which is the highest of all the groups (the average is 14.9%). Job-wise, most of the members are employees-almost half the total, which is not actually that far off the average-and pensioners, which make up a large part of the group (28.1% compared to the average of 22.9%). As far as the place of residence is concerned, a high amount live in medium and large cities but the most substantial share of the group live in smaller centres, like most of the population in Veneto. Reasons for movements are clearly defined: most of them involve taking care of the family or home (41.9% compared to an overall average of 31%). More than one third of movements are also for reasons of leisure.
As far as traffic-reducing measures are concerned, the "Hardcore Urban Mobility" group appear to be particularly interested in saving certain vital areas of city centres from traffic as these are obviously areas where their interests converge. They do not believe in introducing any kind of charge for access to the city-centre however. (Table 4.1.12)
Hyperactivity of Youth
These are mostly men, with high levels of education (three out of four have an upper secondary school diploma). They are young and very young (44.2% are in the 14-29 year old age group, which is more than twice the average). They are workers (61.1%) or students and they are without doubt the group with the most intensive demands for mobility. The figures can confirm this: people in this group spend over 100 minutes per day travelling (the average is just over an hour) and they travel 66.6 km (the average is 40.4) in 4.25 trips (the average is 3.12).
Numerically, it is the smallest group of all and is on the decrease (-3.7% in 2007 compared to 2000) but it has a very strong social and cultural identity that manifests itself in an aggressive and libertarian style of mobility. This is where the mobility 'omnivores' can be found. They use all different means of transport intensively, almost always with above-average use, and this includes different types of collective transport (buses and trains in particular). Reasons for mobility centre around work or study on the one hand and, more importantly, leisure activities on the other (51.1% compared to the 33% of the total). A lot of their movements are made in the evening (18.1% after 8 p.m., which is more than twice the average figure) as could be expected from a group of mainly young people.
The high demand for mobility makes it clear that services need to be improved. Indicators on satisfaction with the use of public transport are (relatively) low, with particular reference to road and railway transport available outside of the city. This group is mostly sceptical about traffic- and smog-reducing measures, although there are a few exceptions. Their scepticism may be motivated by fear of restrictions being put on the personal choice of means of transport and route to take. Mobility is believed to be an expression of individual freedom and rights are to be safeguarded even more than duties. (Table 4.1.13)
This is the group with the highest number of members (23.9% of the total) although it has been dropping significantly since 2000. This group has one precise characteristic: the members are people who commute to work from outside the main provincial capitals. Members are mostly men (62.9%), young overall (45.5% are between 30 and 45 years old, 26.5% are under-30) and have a good level of education. A total of 80.7% are employed (the average is around 50%) and they live in small urban centres (65% in municipalities with less than 20,000 inhabitants). They move around mostly for work or study (93.7% of movements) and almost always on the same route (88.8% of the time they take the same journey every day). A high concentration of journeys is undertaken in the morning. Only 4% of movements (just over half of the average) take place in the evenings; this is proof that the lifestyle of this group revolves mostly around work and home.
Demand for mobility in this group is quite high, especially considering the long distances travelled every day (44.9 km). Few journeys are undertaken but they tend to be longer than on average and use the two means of transport which are typical of commuters: 66.5% of journeys are by car and 20.2% by public transport (this is almost twice the total and is the highest of all the groups).
Choice of means of transport depends on the best route from home to work. There is a higher tendency to use all means of public transport than on average. Local trains are not used very much, and coaches seem to be preferred instead (12.5% use them regularly, which is three times the average). Satisfaction is very low with all types of transport, both private and collective. Overall, this cluster gave the lowest scores in terms of satisfaction of all the groups.
The majority are sceptical about emergency measures being carried out to reduce pollution. They are also very clear about their ideas on policies for sustainable mobility: they are for promoting public transport and reorganising shop opening-times, but they are not keen on the idea of congestion charges. (Table 4.1.14)
This cluster (which makes up 15.9% of the total and grew by 4% from 2000 to 2007) contains more of a mix of types of people than the other groups. There are four predominating features however: they are mainly male (54%), there is a high number of "non-workers", mostly pensioners, but also students, housewives and the unemployed. This group contains the highest share of the youngest age group (28.4% compared to the 20.5% average), and many live in smaller urban centres (almost 80% live in municipalities with less than 50,000 inhabitants).
The main factor which brings this group together can be seen in reasons for mobility: movements linked to freetime make up a good 74.8% of demand for mobility (the average is 33%). Journeys are mostly one-offs and do not follow regular patterns (only 15% of journeys are made regularly; this is around one third of the total). There is a high concentration of journeys made in the afternoon (61.5%), which carries on into the evening (11.6% after 8 p.m.). The car is the most used of all forms of transport: the use of the car, at 70%, is the highest of all the groups. Bicycles are also used frequently, making up more than 20% of journeys, which is very similar to the general average. The limited use of public transport can easily be explained by the fact that many of the journeys are not regular trips, which it is very difficult for collective transport to cater for. (Table 4.1.15)
Just a Few Errands and Not Much Else
As for the previous cluster, it is the reason people move around which characterises this group (which makes up 13.1% of the total). Reasons for movements are very different to the previous cluster however: here, most journeys made are linked to taking care of the home and family, for shopping and services or for health needs (88.8% of the total, compared to the average of 31%). The types of people who make up this group are also very different and much more homogeneous than the previous cluster: they are mainly women (more than 60%), over 65 years old (35%, which is double the average and the highest of all the groups), or from 46 to 64 years old; they tend to have a lower level of education and a great number are housewives (29% compared to the average of 12.2%) and pensioners (almost 37.2%).
This group takes short and scattered journeys, many of them not made on a regular basis. They often travel on foot or by bicycle (43.2% of the total, almost twice the average) and almost always in the morning (90% before 2 p.m., compared to 53% of the total). Demand for mobility is obviously very low: on average they take 2.4 trips per day and do not travel more than 14.7 km (around a third of the average) which takes up a little more than half an hour.
These people leave the house to run minor errands related to organising daily life for themselves and for their families, but that is practically it. The only means of transport used with any regularity is the bicycle: 38% of the group members use it almost every day, compared to the overall average of 27.2%. Attitudes towards traffic- and smog-reducing policies are extremely positive: almost all of the measures towards sustainable mobility listed were given scores that were the highest of all the clusters. (Table 4.1.16)
Better Stay Put
This group has very little demand for mobility and none of the members had travelled during the day before the interview. They make up 18.1% of all the interviewees, a figure which increased by 3.8% from 2000 to 2007.
The types of people in this group are very similar to those of the "Just a Few Errands and Not Much Else" group and represent that part of the population with very reduced mobility. The group is made up of women and the elderly; they have lower levels of education and are inactive (housewives and pensioners mostly). Their main place of residence, however, is a little different as the focus moves decisively towards the small urban centres: 23% of the group members live in municipalities with less than 5,000 inhabitants (the average is 16.7%) and 43% live in municipalities with 5,000 to 20,000 inhabitants.
They make very little use of all the different means of transport.
Starting points for policies for sustainable mobility
An overall look at the profiles making up the Veneto clusters can give some indication on where to put pressure to promote alternative forms of mobility to private vehicles and where measures towards sustainable mobility could be well received.
Treading cautiously, we might be able to highlight some weak points (and points of potential resistance) and some strong points (and pressure points towards change) of the different clusters with regards policies towards sustainable mobility. These policies can be grouped into five areas: 1) strengthening the basic offer of collective transport both in terms of quantity and quality; 2) developing additional services provided by collective transport; 3) improving urban areas, e.g. fighting smog and traffic congestion, and providing better areas for pedestrians and cyclists; 4) developing alternatives to traditional forms of transport, private ones in particular; and 5) creating campaigns to improve communication and increase awareness of opportunities for sustainable mobility.
There appear to be two main policies which have the biggest and widest ranging effects:
- developing additional services provided by collective transport, which includes the idea of personalising and providing more flexibility to the supply of transport available in order to attract customers from even the most hostile groups, e.g. young people and those who move around mostly in their freetime, as well as to encourage its continued use by the elderly;
- improving the urban environment, which includes diverse and complex measures, e.g. not allowing private vehicles on the roads, introducing smog-reducing measures, and creating pedestrian areas or cycle lanes. These measures are appreciated by certain groups such as the working urban class and those who commute to work, as well as by the two groups that demand less mobility, i.e. mainly the elderly, housewives and retired people); they are, however, appreciated for different reasons.
A fairly wide range of effects would be introduced by strengthening the basic supply of collective transport, i.e. by increasing the number of routes and service frequency, improving punctuality and travelling times, as well as improving onboard comfort. In this case, people who commute to work would feel these effects most strongly.
As for some of the other policies, campaigns to increase awareness and promote sustainable mobility seem to have less of an impact. This is due on the one hand to a certain (and presumed) refusal from the clusters which put up more resistance to these issues (the "Hyperactivity of Youth" for example), and on the other hand to the minor structural role these policies play. Policies of this type are seen as being complementary parts of clearer, practical strategies, as opposed to having a primary role of their own.
However, policies regarding the development of alternative solutions to traditional means of transport stand in an interesting position. These solutions include combining different means of transport, car-sharing, car-pooling, taxi-sharing etc. These are the only policies for which certain differences can be seen between clusters in Veneto and in the rest of Italy. These measures may well be worth promoting in Veneto as they could be very well received.
La mobilitÓ sostenibile
We have mentioned policies for sustainable mobility many times, without however giving any particular details.
Seeing as how this sector is gaining in importance, it would be worth spending a little time to look at it in more depth.
What do we mean by sustainable mobility and what do measures aiming to reach this objective consist in exactly? The answers to these questions are crucial if we are to understand in which direction to head in order to reconcile society's continuous need for movement with the absolute necessity to take care of our environment.
The term "sustainable mobility" refers to a system of urban transport which guarantees everyone the right to move around and provides an adequate transport service. At the same time, however, it does not cause too much damage to the environment and enables air and noise pollution and traffic congestion to be kept to a minimum. This concept is part of an evolution towards non-polluting means of transport, more efficient infrastructure and also more responsible behaviour and attitudes.
It is well-known that road transport is one of the causes of air pollution in our cities, but not the main cause. In order to better understand the impact this sector has on the environment it is important to look not only at the quantity of traffic on Veneto roads but also at the quality of these vehicles.
A report on the vehicles in circulation reveals that in 2006, 17% of the traffic on Veneto's roads met the Euro 4 emissions standards, while Euro 2 and Euro 3 vehicles accounted for 57.5%. A comparison with nationwide figures shows that Veneto is modernising its fleet of vehicles more quickly than Italy. Euro 4 vehicles make up 16% of the national total and Euro 0 vehicles, i.e. those with the highest emissions, 18%, whereas Veneto has a figure of 14%.
The emissions standard category for commercial vehicles, however, differ to the figures for cars. Euro 0 vehicles account for 29% in Italy and 22% in Veneto, a much higher rate than that for cars. Clearly, the differences between the two vehicle categories should be taken into account, especially as the average life of commercial vehicles is longer than that of cars. Both Italy and Veneto show peaks in figures for Euro 2 and Euro 3 commercial vehicles in 2006, which suggests that there was a major turnover in commercial vehicles during that year. Buses have similar figures, yet we need to note that in 2006 many of the old Euro 0 buses were still in circulation; this emissions category is still the largest in both Italy's and Veneto's bus fleet. (Figure 4.1.20)
These figures show that older categories of vehicles still need to be replaced with newer designs with lower emissions. Progress, however, is also being helped by incentive campaigns to scrap vehicles that no longer comply with modern standards and to encourage people to purchase newer, less-polluting vehicles.
Work towards sustainable mobility is being helped by boosting local public transport, building bicycle lanes, introducing Restricted Traffic Areas (ZTL), promoting car-sharing and car-pooling and employing mobility managers.
Car-sharing is a new form of collective transport that involves booking a car, picking it up and then returning it to a car-park near the user's home. Payment is based on effective use. This is mainly a commercial service run by specific companies and it means that people do not need to buy their own car, yet they can still be flexible if they need to move around.
Car-pooling is another form of collective transport whereby people who take the same route every day share a private vehicle. The aim of car-pooling is to reduce the number of vehicles in circulation and thus to bring about major advantages for the environment as well as to cut costs, as those taking part in the pool will share the costs. This is an initiative that makes a tangible contribution to improving the quality of the air we breathe. In Veneto, the provinces of Venezia and Padova are leading the way in terms of promoting this initiative.
The mobility manager is a person whose job it is to analyse the mobility needs of employees in public and private companies and then to organise, in collaboration with the local administration, their journey from home to work, home to schools, to hospitals, to shopping areas and exhibition centres. The mobility manager tries to synchronise working hours with the timetables of public transport and encourages the adoption of initiatives such as car-pooling. We should also mention certain other policies aimed at reducing traffic in residential areas or at reducing traffic queues in urban areas, for public transport at least, such as bus and taxi lanes and Restricted Traffic Areas (ZTL), which can only be accessed with a special permit. Over recent years, other measures have been introduced in an attempt to reduce vehicle pollution; these include partial or total traffic bans during certain times of the day, as well as "Ecological Sundays" when no petrol or diesel or other highly polluting vehicles are allowed on the roads.
Regione Veneto is also introducing incentives for zero-impact vehicles by financing bike-rental schemes in municipalities. Local municipal administrations are being given funds to purchase bicycles and equipment that can then be rented from key points around towns, such as railway stations, park-and-rides and bicycle lanes. The aim is to promote smart mobility in town centres and to help reduce Particulate Matter (PM).
The Veneto provinces stand out for their adoption of initiatives towards sustainable mobility. Each province has set in action projects and activities aimed at the development of the transport sector in order to improve services and protect the environment at the same time.
One of the main initiatives has been the appointment of mobility managers in areas in the provinces of Venezia and Padova. Another important initiative, introduced in 2005, is the "bollino blu", a blue stamp certifying compliance with certain standards in vehicle emissions; it is required for all motor vehicles which have been registered for over a year and which are owned by people or bodies residing or based in Veneto.
The province of Treviso is very dynamic in terms of activities towards developing sustainable mobility. In December 2008 the province received funding from the European Community towards four projects which form part of the objectives of the "initiatives aimed at integrated territorial development connected to Community priorities" and are in accordance with the Lisbon and Gothenburg objectives on sustainability of economic and environmental growth. One of these four projects regards the promotion of sustainable mobility (Interreg IV C - Pimms Transfer). Treviso also received a special mention for its "Bike-Sharing" project (Note 4)
, presented at the fourth edition of the national Bike-friendly cities competition, promoted by Euromobility.
Figures for town and city centres reveal that Veneto has raised awareness of environmental issues in recent years, although it still has a long way to go.
In 2007, the amount of pedestrian areas and bicycle lanes in Veneto's provincial capitals varied widely. If we exclude Venezia, which has a density of pedestrian areas much higher than the norm due to the nature of the city, Padova stands out with its 81mq per 100 residents. This figure has increased by more than 52% since 2000, making it the only city in Veneto above the national average of 32.4 mq per 100 residents. Second place in Veneto's ranking goes to Belluno with 31.2 mq per 100 residents. (Figure 4.1.21)
In 2007, the municipality of Padova also had the highest density of bicycle lanes in the region, over 114 km per 100 kmq, thanks to its promotion of the bicycle as an alternative means of transport. This density contrasts sharply with the 2000 figure, which did not even reach 36 km. The trend in the other provinces also leaned towards the bicycle as a means for getting around town. Compared with 2000, there was an increase in the areas devoted to the bicycle throughout the region. In general the density of bicycle lanes in Veneto's cities and towns was higher than the Italian average; the only exception was Belluno, but although it had a relatively low density of bicycle lanes in urban areas, across the province it has the longest and most panoramic bicycle routes in the whole region, e.g. the pista ciclabile delle Dolomiti, which links Belluno and Bolzano. (Figure 4.1.22)
In recent years, Restricted Traffic Areas (ZTL) have sprung up across the country, especially in historical centres. In 2007, Italy's ZTL covered an average of about 0.5 kmq per 100 kmq of municipal area, a 38% increase on 2000. In Veneto municipal administrations have different policies, which is probably due to the characteristics of individual areas and their specific needs. At one end of the scale, Padova had a ZTL density of 1.4 kmq per 100 kmq-more than double the national average-a 111.4% increase from 2000-2007. At the other end were Belluno, which had 0.01 kmq per 100 kmq, a figure that did not change over the seven years, and Vicenza where the ZTL density actually fell slightly. (Figure 4.1.23)