This is a new interview, as part of ELVITEN interview series, in which we present ELVITEN partner – the Municipality IX EUR of the City of Rome, their role and contribution to the project implementation, as well as their view on Light EVs, and urban mobility.
Enjoy the reading!
A short introduction of your organisation
The City of Rome is the capital of Italy and the 5th biggest city in Europe after Moscow, Istanbul, London and St. Petersburg and currently the largest one in the European Union. The Municipality IX EUR of the City of Rome, directly involved in the ELVITEN project is an administrative unit in the south of the town, with an extension of 183 Km2 is the second largest municipality characterized by the presence of protected natural areas and the city business center (EUR).
What is your task and responsibility in the ELVITEN project?
Rome has been one of the six pilot cities which carried out the one-year demonstration with e-bikes (Le1a category). For the first time, the city could test these new “vehicles” that were never matriculated before in Italy. And thanks to ELVITEN we had the chance to involve in the test more ten different public and private bodies whose employees became ELVITEN users of internal bike-sharing services. The Municipality managed the long-term loan schemes for the bodies involved by keeping the direction of the project. This is a service normally managed by a private provider or by a public-private partnership. Having no local partners involved in the project, we did everything ourselves and this increased the knowledge and skills of the employees who worked in ELVITEN. As demonstrative city we organized public meetings and workshops to raise awareness among citizens on the project implementation and have run an internal office to provide information on the service to the users.
What is your interest in joining the ELVITEN project?
In the last four years the city of Rome has dedicated much efforts to promote and support the urban sustainable mobility in different ways, by promoting new systems of city bike-sharing managed by private companies, approving the first Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan of the City of Rome (SUMP) and the first City Plan for the electric mobility of Rome, constructing new cycling paths and finally hosting for the first time in Italy the Formula E Prix, that since the 2018 is held in the area of the EUR (in the Municipality IX EUR). This important event has been also organized in 2019 but suspended in 2020 for Covid-19 related problems. Nevertheless, thanks to an agreement between the City of Rome and the FIA the Formula E Prix will be organized for the next 5 years (2021-2025). Rome is turning electric and ELVITEN project has represented a local example to reiterate this concept contributing to sensitize residents and commuters to use ELVs as alternative mode of transport to ICE vehicles more polluting and less healthy for people. We wanted to be part of ELVITEN since we want to be part of this important shift.
What is your opinion on Electric-Light Vehicles?
Initially, ELVs remained cut out of the planning measures for sustainable mobility since most of the interventions approved had been thought to increase the use of Local Public Transport (creation of new trolleybus routes), bicycles (realization of cycling routes) and electric private vehicles (installation of fast charge). Thanks to ELVITEN project we have realized that the Light Electric Vehicles could be an important resource for sustainable mobility, yet not very much known until users from different bodies decided to use the e-bikes of ELVITEN. These vehicles may give a strong contribution to reduce CO2 emission and increase the sharing mobility in our city but need the suitable measures for the creation of useful infrastructures and the necessary services to spread on a city level. Measures that ELVITEN has been identifying through the creation of guidelines for planning authorities, service providers and manufacturers. We’d like to push further our ambition and propose a specific mobility plan for the ELVs to be integrated into the existing plans approved by the city of Rome for mobility: SUMP and Electric Mobility Plan.
Could you explain the impact of EL-Vs on urban mobility?
The use of 60 e-bikes in a city like Rome with 2,8 million of inhabitants and approximately another millions of commuters coming to work in the City on a daily basis, can’t be significant in terms of generalized reduction of pollutants but it is important that, in a specific Municipality of the city, many important organizations such as Ministries, Public Agencies and SMEs participated to the project. Both at individual and company level, the project was a great success: a novelty that fascinated users and their colleagues. The pilot of Rome, behind the over 7.600 trips made and the over 38.000 Kms travelled, has indicated an orientation of the local administration on Light Electric Mobility that should also be followed by the numerous bodies that are located in our territory and that have the same need we do have for collective and sustainable mobility.
What do you think about the future market for urban mobility?
The market uptake of ELVs has yet to come because important shifts have to be made to the existing urban planning facilities but the path towards the use of these vehicles has begun and the innovation technology will help to accelerate this process soon.