New traffic plan for Rome

Major changes proposed for city's traffic

A raft of changes to combat Rome's traffic problems were proposed by the city's traffic councillor Guido Improta at the Capitoline Museums on 29 January.

Central to the Piano Generale del Traffico Urbano (PGTU) is the introduction of an Ecopass limiting the use of private vehicles inside the anello ferroviario, the railway ring around Rome. The pass would entitle drivers to 120 free annual trips into the city, after which they would pay a toll depending on the level of pollution their vehicles emits.

The proposals would have the biggest affect in the area within the Aurelian walls where Improta suggests the drastic reduction of traffic, in some cases creating car-free "environmental areas" in the city centre.

Other principal points include a proposed 40 per cent increase in bus lanes, lower-cost bus tickets in the suburbs, increased car and bike sharing, getting rid of parking on the city's main streets, increasing the average speed of public transport by 20 per cent, growing the number of public transport commuters by 20 per cent and increasing the number of cyclists by four per cent within five years.

The new plan divides the city into six zones: centro storico; the annello ferroviario where parking fees would be re-examined, public transport boosted, and pedestrian and cycling routes increased; circonvallazione esterna (outer byass) with more bus lanes and improved balance between private cars and public transport; GRA with increased drop-off parking facilities; Extra GRA, with increased bus, pedestrian and cyclist access; La città verso il mare, facilitating better bus services for commuters and summer visitors, and creating pedestrian areas.

Figures released by Improta reveal that the use of private vehicles in Rome generates congestion levels that translate into 135 million hours lost per year for Rome residents, corresponding to a loss of productivity worth about €1.5 billion annually.