Too much smog, few bikes, scarce public transport: Italian cities are still far from the 2030 goals

Too much smog, few bikes, scarce public transport: Italian cities are still far from the 2030 goals

Italian cities are still far from the mobility, emissions reduction and safety targets set for 2030. The traveling campaign of Legambiente in 18 Italian capitals, Clean Cities, confirms the state of the air in our cities: it is unbreathable. All monitored cities exceed future legal limits for air quality and I lag behind the safety indexes and atimplementation of sustainable mobility services and infrastructures but with considerable territorial differences, explains the NGO.

The 2023 budget

The stages of the campaign: Avellino, Bari, Bergamo, Bologna, Catania, Florence, Genoa, Milan, Naples, Padua, Palermo, Perugia, Prato, Frosinone, Rome, Turin, Trieste (to these is added the spinoff stage of Taranto).


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In detail Catania, Perugia, Avellino and Rome they have the highest motorization rates, while alone Milan and Genoa they are approaching the EU limit of 35 cars for every 100 inhabitants. Too many cities have registered a high number of injuries and deaths in road accidentshigher than the national average and are far from the objectives of halving road fatalities by 2030 established by the National Road Safety Plan.

In addition, adds the environmental association, they often have a poor offer of public transport and they lack suitable alternatives such as i shared media. Noticeable trend, especially ad Avellino, Palermo, Prato, Perugia, Pescara, Catania and Naples.


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As regards the extension of the road network a reduced speed (30 km/h)in general we are very far from the indicative objectives that Legambiente proposes for 2030, equal to80% of urban roads. "Italian cities must make an important change to become more livable and less polluted, placing public, shared, electric, active and intermodal mobility at the center of their strategy", he explains Stephen Ciafani, national president of Legambiente. "While the government seems to be moving in the opposite direction, decidedly anachronistic with respect to the Community objectives for reducing emissions - including the phase out of cars powered by fossil fuels - cities can become real engines of change".

In particular, the 9 pioneer cities - Bergamo, Bologna, Florence, Milan, Padua, Parma, Prato, Rome and Turin - included in the Mission for Climate Neutrality must define a clear path to reach the goal of net-zero within 7 years".

The survey: 1 out of 4 citizens ready to abandon the car

During the event, the Ipsos-Legambiente survey "Mobile types in Italian cities" was also presented, promoted in collaboration with Unrae, again as part of the Clean Cities Campaign. The survey analyzed mobility habits on a national scale with a focus on the large cities of Rome, Naples, Florence, Milan and Turin. In summary, the results show that the behavior of Italians with regard to mobility is very varied and segmented, and each of them requires a different response.

  • In particular, a substantial portion of the national sample, 23%, is represented by "open to the public"or by those who would use public and shared transport more in the face of a enhancement of services it's a cost decrease. TO Milan they are 25%, a Naples 24%, a Turin 23%, a Florence 18%, a Rome 16%.
  • The 19% of the national sample is, however, represented by the "obligated but dissatisfied", which they prefer walking or cycling because it's convenient. They are willing to give up their own car altogether, in the face of greater road safety and a strengthening of sharing services. This group grew up after the lockdown and mostly lives in big cities, such as Rome (27%) and Turin (25%), followed by Naples (22%) and Milan (22%) and Florence (19%).
  • Among those who move a lot (over an hour a day on the road) in the suburbs and in small towns, the "Irreducible individualists - never standing still but glued to the wheel" (14% of the sample), which, in Milan are halved in favor of the "careful by choice - multimobile and multimodal", i.e. those who mainly use bicycles, the subway and sharing services (13% of the Milanese).

"The data that emerged from the campaign and the survey are clear: citizens are willing to change their way of moving, but public transport in Italy is far below the European averagewith only a quarter of the metros, rapid trains, tramways and electric buses compared to other countries," he comments Andrew Poggiomobility manager of Legambiente.


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"To make cities truly sustainable and inclusive, policies need to be adopted that make neighborhoods and cities more accessible by bike and shared electric vehicles (with low-emission zones and tolls for private cars) by adopting the nudge policies (or gentle nudges) through financial incentives, subscriptions and service improvements. These measures must go hand in hand, since the experience of all the cities of the world shows that without one, the other cannot work". To transform Italian cities into true "clean cities", according to Legambiente it is therefore necessary to design priority cycle-pedestrian routes, increase public transport, create school zones, increase electric and shared mobility services and infrastructures, design "zero emission" city zones, also for the distribution of goods.

The engagement of the youngest

During the meeting the MOB project of the Unipolis Foundation, in partnership with Legambiente. The initiative has as its objective the engagement of young people between 16 and 21 years old. During the tour, 50 secondary school classes were reached and as many teams were hired, who will compete together with 100 other teams - representing classes, speakers, sports and cultural associations - in a major national tournament with the app MUV Game. From March 20 to May 28 they will face each other and be rewarded by moving on foot, by bicycle, by bus, by carpooling or by electric means and they will then be engaged in defining interventions to make the mobility of their city more sustainable and efficient.


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The impacts of unsustainable mobility

The campaign was also an opportunity for Legambiente volunteers to turn the spotlight on the impact that air pollution has on ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as on human health. Flash mob in several Italian cities thanks to the LIFE MODErn (NEC) project, led by the CUFAA Carabinieri and supported, among others, by Legambiente, which aims to improve the air pollution impact assessment system on forest and freshwater ecosystems. The activists took to the streets equipped with a gas mask connected to a small display case containing a map with the message "We breathe thanks to them. Let's not suffocate them".

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