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20 May 2014

Milan wins prestigious ITF transport award for its urban road pricing scheme

First publishedon www.WorldHighways.com
The Italian city of Milan has won the 2014 Transport Achievement Award (TAA) for its ‘Area C’ urban road pricing scheme.

The TAA is awarded annually by the International Transport Forum (ITF) at the OECD, an intergovernmental organisation for the transport sector with 54 member countries.

The award will be presented tomorrow in the presence of ministers from around the world during the opening plenary of their global transport summit organised by the ITF.  

Milan, said by the ITF to be one of the most car-dependent cities in Europe, is among only a few European cities to have introduced a road pricing measure.

This measure, known as ‘Area C’, was introduced in January 2012, following a referendum in which 79.1% of voters supported the upgrade of an existing, limited charge to cover more vehicles and also a wider area.

Popular support in Milan for a comprehensive road charge was considerably higher than in other cities which have introduced road charging by referendum. A referendum in Stockholm saw 51% supporting road charging, while voters in Manchester and Edinburgh have rejected charging schemes. The highly publicised London congestion charge was introduced in 2003 without a referendum.

Cars entering Milan’s ‘Area C’ are detected by a system of 43 electronic gates equipped with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology. The fee charged per entry is €5. Mopeds, motorcycles, electric cars, vehicles for disabled people as well as some other vehicle categories are exempted. Residents have 40 free accesses per year and pay €2 from the 41st access.

The programme has reduced congestion, with vehicle accesses to ‘Area C’ falling by 28% compared to levels prior to its introduction. Demand for on-street parking is down by 10% and productivity for freight deliveries within Milan has increased by 10%. The number of road crashes with injuries fell by 26.3%. Emissions were also reduced: Particulate Matter by 10% and CO2 by 35%. The speed of public transport increased (Buses by 6.9%, Trams by +4.1%). Cars using ‘Area C’ were less polluting, with the share of cleaner vehicles rising from 9.6% of the total to 16.6%.

The ITF Awards jury recognised Milan’s successful introduction of a comprehensive road charge as “a significant achievement in improving the urban transport system”. The jury was particularly impressed by the way Milan succeeded in obtaining the political support of citizens. “After identifying that the existing congestion pricing scheme was no longer achieving its objectives, the Municipality of Milan had the foresight and political courage to design a more effective replacement, and the capability to implement this successfully,” a jury statement read.

“This award is one of the most important recognitions for one of the main actions undertaken by our Municipality in order to improve the citizens’ quality of life”, said Milan’s Mayor Giuliano Pisapia. “Milan has proposed a model that has immediately become European and global best practice.”

“In a very short time we obtained very satisfactory results in terms of traffic reduction and lowering of pollutant emissions. Another positive new trend is that citizens, tourists and city users are increasingly switching to public transport, which has been improved by the ‘Area C’ model”, added Mayor Pisapia.

Runners-up for the 2014 Transport Achievement Award were Airport Council International Europe, for its ‘Airport Carbon Accreditation’, the first ever institutionally-endorsed carbon management programme designed specifically for the airport industry, and Transport for London (UK), for its Open Data strategy that has spawned more than 190 smartphone transport apps for London.  

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International Transport Forum
Transport for London
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