Challenge of air quality in Lazio Region


Anci Lazio is part of an innovative cooperation project  in the field of renewable energies and urban electric mobility: EV Energy, under Interreg Europe Programme

The Challenge of Air Quality in Italian Cities is the report presented on the last September 29th to the Italian Senate by the Sustainable Development Foundation, a think tank, chaired by the former Minister Mr Edo Ronchi,  in collaboration with Enea, the National Agency for Technology and Energy, and the State Railways Partnership. The Report reveals that approximately 91,000 premature deaths occur annually in Italy for atmospheric pollution, against 86,000 in Germany, 54,000 in France, 50,000 in the United Kingdom, and 30,000 in Spain. These 91,000 deaths in Italy include 66,630 deaths for PM2,5 thin dusts, 21,040 for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and 3,380 for ozone (O3).

The report proposes ten measures to reduce pollution, starting from the need for a national air quality strategy. The criticality identified by the report is the management of antismog policies which are now entrusted to municipalities, but they can only intervene on 40% of sources of pollution. Therefore, there is a need for a National environmental governance to help local authorities ensure that air quality policies are radically aimed at reducing all pollutants.

Among the points of such Decalogue, there is the reduction in the number of private cars, new investments in urban public transport as well as the increase of electric vehicles. These are key points for the air quality policies to be adopted in the Lazio region and the city of Rome.

In fact, in addition to an old, slow and expensive public transport network, Rome’s mobility is almost entirely based on private cars: its motorization rate is 978 vehicles per 1.000 inhabitants, with a death rate for road accidents up to 7 out of 100,000 people.

This is why Anci Lazio, the association of 378 municipalities in the Lazio region, Rome Municipality included, has enthusiastically joined the EV Energy project proposed by the Green IT Amsterdam Region, as lead partner,  together with the Barcelona Official Chamber of Commerce, the Kaunas University of Technology , the Province of Flevoland and the Stockholm County Council, Growth and regional planning administration.

Under the Interreg Europe Programme, the project  paves the way for a future decarbonisation of the energy and mobility sector: it aims to analyse, initiate and implement policies favouring sustainable energy and electric mobility systems in urban areas. It works with experienced cities and regions, transferring the most appropriate policies and drivers. The project focuses on three thematic areas: Renewable energies, Electric mobility, Infrastructures (Smart grids, ICT, etc.).

Electrical cars would of course pollute far less than fossil fuel-driven ones; the air in cities would once more be breathable and their streets as quiet as those of Venice.

In fact, the end of the age of the internal combustion engine is in sight. There are small signs everywhere and even in Rome: the shift to electric vehicles is already under way, among courageous enterprises such as Share’ngo, GLS Italy and UMPI.

SHARE’NGO is a new electric micro car sharing service of the City of Rome, invented in Tuscany, produced in China (produced by Xindayang of Geely Motor Group Co., the Equomobili are designed in Italy and in CS GROUP). Mr Enrico Tagliaferri, Chief of the Sharon’Go in Rome, says that the reaction of Rome’s citizens was very positive, so as to encourage Share’ngo investments, by increasing the fleet to 600 cars and expanding the operational area to the green belt of Rome. Sharengo is also proposing and supporting the “condominium car sharing”, an EV sharing service deployed on a condominium basis. It brings to the extreme the heighborhood operation model narrowing the sharing base to the condominium. This way citizens can book and pick up the EV inside their own condominium and use them for two-way trips.

GLS Italy has an ecological branch in the San Lorenzo neighbourhood in Rome: a strategic point in the inner city of Rome. It is the initiative of the GLS express delivery, to deliver goods in Rome through EVs at 100%. The EVs autonomy of 130 km is sufficient for the entire working day for the distribution of goods in Rome. Therefore, GLS is progressively replacing its methane vehicles with electric ones.  At San Lorenzo, GLS has E-Stations to recharge its fleet and EVs of its customers and visitors. GLS was recently involved also in the Pro-E-Bike project for delivery.

The use of electric vehicles (EVs), and with it the development of a sustainable urban mobility planning, is logically dependent on a functioning and well-structured network of charging points. For this purpose, charging poles need to be installed all around the city, very soon. For this, there are very active enterprises like UMPI, an Italian company leader in the production of powerline smart systems: ACS (Active Charging System). It is a complete and highly innovative platform enabling swift and easy provision throughout urban and extra-urban areas of a series of recharging points for EVs. By using existing electrical networks for public  lighting, this system allows the installation of recharging stations in strategic areas of the city as well as their remote  management and monitoring.

All this proves that the private sector in Rome is ready to the innovation and the transition towards a more sustainable mobility system.

However, the quest for more and better public sector innovation in Rome and Lazio is hampered by several barriers, which fall into major categories such as unfavorable framework conditions; lack of innovation leadership at all levels; limited knowledge and application of innovation processes and methods.

In order to overcome these barriers, the EV Energy project is very pro-active in engaging public authorities and creating new synergies between public and private sectors to innovate and to drive concrete change processes.

Claudio Bordi, European project expert

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