Parking green services for better environment in historic towns

Private traffic together with city goods distribution are well known factors of energy consumption and environmental degradation in European urban centres.

Recent studies (e.g. EC Green Paper Towards a new culture for Urban Mobility, SEC (2007) 1209) show that road traffic is responsible of 80% of total CO2 transport emissions, of which urban traffic accounts for 40% in addition to 70% of emissions of other pollutants (CO, NOx, etc.). As over 70% of European population live in urban areas, urban transport (of both people and freight) has therefore significant impacts not only in terms of environmental degradation and economic loss (about 100 Billion Euro per year, 1% of the EU's GDP) but also in relation to citizens’ health and liveability of our centres.

This general context becomes even more critical in small-/mid-size European historic towns (SMHTs); i.e. urban areas with a total population between 50.000 and 180.000, having an historic centre as a core element of the town’s economic, social and cultural life and development. Here, a mix of critical issues – ranging from the physical characteristics of the urban environment and road system, to the very dense concentration of activities in a small area, the limited budgets of local administrations, the higher impacts of the recent economic crisis, etc. – provide further challenges.

The current scenario shows that:

  1. public transport is experiencing growing difficulties, which end up in decreasing attractiveness for the citizens and increasing resistance to any shift to collective services for personal mobility;
  2. parking resources and services are an indispensible component for private mobility but do have relevant impacts on urban conditions (attraction of cars in inner centre areas, traffic searching for parking, queues, pollution, etc.) which, given the small size and physical characteristics of the urban centre, are amplified and locally even more severe than in large cities;
  3. on the other hand, parking services are at the centre of urban mobility and, when operated in a clever and coordinated manner, become more and more a strategic tool for the integrated management of mobility, with relations to e.g. pedestrianised areas, Access Control Zones, Park + Ride services, etc.

The view assumed in the PERHT project is that the implementation of appropriate and innovative parking schemes and associated measures in small-/mid-size centres – particularly in historic towns, where the impacts of individual and commercial traffic are more severe – may turn parking resources and services into a key asset (infrastructural, technical, economic) for the achievement of a greener mobility.

This will be demonstrated in the historic town of Treviso, a renowned historic centre of about 80.000 inhabitants located in north-east Italy, which has undertaken important actions towards a more sustainable mobility. Particularly, within PERHT a number of measures will be implemented having as a centre the local parking system with the aim of providing several “green value added” individual and collective mobility services, which will significantly reduce the impacts of car traffic in the inner historical centre and improve environmental quality and energy efficiency. The enabling core infrastructures/technologies and starting point for the project will be provided by the recently implemented parking management system, of a kind common to most small-/mid-size towns but more advanced and innovative thanks to its capability of providing vehicle detection, real-time occupancy information for each individual parking lot, dynamic booking services, etc., thus supporting the implementation of various possible parking management schemes and policies.

The approach taken in Treviso by the PERHT project is to turn each parking facility of the local parking system (selected groups of on-street parking lots and parkhouses) into a "hub for green urban mobility" providing facilities and services that will enable achieving a number of strategic objectives, including:

  • reduce the impacts of car traffic by improved management of parking services and implementation of flexible parking schemes as an instrument to support sustainable mobility policy objectives;
  • provide efficient integration of parking services with public transport and other collective mobility services;
  • encourage and support citizens and travellers to shift from car to a number of alternative, attractive individual and collective sustainable mobility services;
  • reduce the impacts of commercial traffic (city goods distribution) by providing dedicated parking facilities (e.g. freight load/unload areas with dynamic reservation, micro-hub services, etc.) for last mile operations and better integration of city logistics in the overall urban mobility management scheme.
  • promote and incentivate the take up of electric mobility for both people and goods.

The adoption of such schemes will positively contribute to reducing the adverse effects of current mobility processes and practice in people and freight transport, and will lead to relevant improvements in terms of energy saving, urban environment as well as life quality in Treviso inner historical centre. Providing a viable model with high potentials for replication in other European small-/mid-size historic towns.

The above objectives will be achieved through planning, implementation, demonstration and evaluation of a number of integrated urban mobility measures – regulatory, organisational, operational and technological – including:

  1. better integration between the parking system and public transport services and implementation of collective Park+Ride measures to enhance the capabilities of the parking system as a hub supporting the shift to sustainable mobility services;
  2. individual P+R measures, such as Bike Sharing services and Bike Stations (for private bikes) aiming to promote and increase cycling and multi-modal travels which use bicycles as an alternative, low cost, fast and accessible option for last mile clean mobility in the historical centre – National Priority on ;
  3. a new collective taxi service (Col-Taxi) in the inner historical centre with on-demand and pre-booked services, well integrated with parking and P+R facilities and providing a flexible, attractive and economic collective transport offer when regular Public Transport (i.e. fixed lines) is not available (e.g. night services, Sunday/bank holiday services, etc.);
  4. dedicated parking lots for freight load/unload operations in the inner historic centre together with the related information and booking services (advance booking of l/u lots, vehicle/occupancy detection, information and violation enforcement, etc.) aimed reducing the impacts of last mile freight distribution and deliveries in the historic centre; implementation of accompanying policies aimed at favouring electric and hybrid vehicles for freight delivery as well as vehicles operating with optimised load (high load factor) reducing the number of trips in the inner centre and their emissions – energy saving and emissions reduction, National Priority 2.a
  5. facilities (i.e. recharging stations and services) to promote and improve the use of electric vehicles in the above services and as a further complementary measure (private mobility) together with the accompanying incentive policies (e.g. free access to and circulation in the inner historical centre, priority policies for parking booking and usage, free or reduced tariff schemes, etc.) to favour electric mobility – National Priority 2.a ;
  6. easily accessible, pervasive ICT services for multi-modal travel information (e.g. a web portal, downloadable applications for mobile users, information kiosks/screens at key locations such as public buildings, railway station, P+R facilities, etc.) as a fundamental tool to enhance the accessibility for the citizens and travellers to integrated, dynamic information about public transport, parking (location, state, routing), bike-sharing and bike station services, on-demand collective transport services (e.g. shared taxis) and facilitate the shift to the above services and sustainable travel and urban mobility behaviours.

ACTT Spa - Azienda Consorzio Trevigiano Trasporti (IT)

Municipality of Treviso (IT)

MemEx Srl (IT)

Softeco Sismat Srl (IT)

European Association of Historic Towns and Regions (EAHTR) (UK)

The starting point for PERHT demonstration is provided by two main technologies currently operated in Treviso: (1) the iPark parking management system, providing automated detection of lots occupancy and precise real-time knowledge of the status of the whole parking resources and (2) the bike-sharing system ‘TV Bike’, including some 20 bike-sharing stations operated within the urban area of Treviso. Such systems will provide the baseline technologies for the developments needed to implement and operate the kind of green value added mobility services planned in PERHT.

The required technological developments and implementations – related to enabling ICTs, instrumented parking lots and load/unload bays, taxi sharing operation system, electric vehicle recharging posts, travel information web portal and smartphone applications, user information screen and kiosks, etc. – will be identified and designed in the Preparatory Action A2 (ICT solutions) while their implementations will be carried out in the Implementation Actions B1 (deployment and adaptation of ICT components) and B2 (installation and adaptation of freight parking and l/u bays, additional bike-sharing stations, bike stations, recharging stations for electric vehicles).

All baseline technology enhancements as well as the additional technological developments will be designed and integrated based on a few key principles:

  1. Open architecture: we aim to ensure the longest possible lifecycle of the developed and deployed technologies and solutions. Modularity and openness of the architecture are a must, in order to be able to cater for further expansions/integrations of the solutions installed and piloted within the PERHT project. This should enable to follow the possible evolution of requirements (e.g. new types of users or services to be accommodated within the developed framework) and the possible extensions of the capabilities delivered by the technical system(s);
  2. Technology standards: companion to previous concept, the adoption of ICT and interoperability standards (i.e. data models, communication protocols and technologies, technical interfaces, etc.) is also a key requirement to ensure a flexible approach, able to guarantee further adaptations and developments of deployed solutions in the after-LIFE+ phase;
  3. Cost efficiency: a cost-efficient overall system will have to be achieved by combining the design/ development of custom applications/components with the integration of technologies/components available in the market (such as, eg., digital maps and mapping engines). This is crucial also in terms of any follow-up exploitation of technical solutions in the market of mobility systems. Experience in this area is available from Softeco, who are active both in the RTD sector as well as in the market of mobility systems;
  4. Usability: this is key to ensure that the selected and developed technologies are introduced and adopted in the operational environment with the smallest possible impacts on users and operators in terms of understanding, learning curve and use. Aiming at supporting the new green mobility services, PERHT technologies and systems will need to offer solutions that are really able to ease the introduction of new services, with the simplest and quickest integration into current operational of the parking system.
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Marco Boero

Marco Gorini

Know how - Mobility


EC Programme

Grant agreement
N° ...

Start date
October 2012

36 months

ACTT Spa - Azienda Consorzio Trevigiano Trasporti (IT)


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