How the city of messina is dealing with the digital transformation of urban service

As reported in “eGovernment Benchmark 2016. A turning point for eGovernment development in Europe?”,

“A successful digital transformation comes not from implementing new technologies but from transforming an organisation to take advantage of the possibilities that new technologies provide”.

URBANITE, by following a multi-disciplinary approach, studies the factors and effects of using disruptive technologies to support decision-making processes in urban planning and mobility management and offers Municipalities tools but also a set of recommendations guiding them in the adoption of disruptive technologies like big data, artificial intelligence and algorithms.

The Municipality of Messina (Italy) is one of the partners of the URBANITE project, and brings one of the four urban mobility Use Cases supporting project activities and the validation of results.

During the European Mobility Week (September 2020), the URBANITE team had the opportunity to meet the citizens of Messina who showed great interest and curiosity towards the future of Smart Mobility in terms of new electric vehicles and innovative initiatives, and how ICT can improve citizen’s experience. Messina is gaining experience in this domain also thanks to a small action of e-bike loan with rotating assignments through a compelling web portal ( that leverages the Blockchain Technologies to increase transparency of public processes and speed-up the digital transformation workflows. The e-bike assignments are performed totally paperless among all interested actors: cycle shops owners, citizens and entrepreneurs (and their employees), administration officers, etc.

This experience places itself in the path marked in recent years by several initiatives at international level related to new mobility services that are gaining momentum, like “sharing" and "pooling" of vehicles, electric scooters, bikes, etc., and by disruptive start-ups (such as Uber o Cabify) that are revolutionizing the "mobility models" previously used. People’s “mobility behaviours” are changing under the "pressure" generated by new technologies, new services, new business models and also by the need to adapt and respond to unexpected needs that can be raised by unforeseen circumstances, such as COVID-19 pandemic.

All these elements and experiences are together opportunities and challenges for the Municipality of Messina; it is in this context that efficient and effective mobility planning becomes ever more a fundamental step to reach city objectives but also the EU ones.

Currently, the Municipality of Messina in shaping its future mobility plans by defining its SUMP (Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan). This is a strategic plan that arises from existing planning tools, but which takes into account principles of integration, participation and evaluation in order to meet mobility needs of people and goods, with the overall aim of improving the quality of life in cities and their surroundings.

To achieve this purpose, the Municipality has already some clear ideas of its future direction, and is going to count on the experience, tools and recommendations being developed through URBANITE to support city hall officers and policy makers in the application of disruptive technologies to perform evidence-based decision making with a strong participation of all the actors involved increasing effectiveness and trust.

Alongside the Municipality of Messina is Alma Digit, a spin-off of the University of Messina and also partner of URBANITE project. Alma Digit is supporting the Municipality in capturing the new opportunities offered by ICT and transforming them into reality by continuously and carefully collaborating with ICT researchers to transfer technological innovation from the academic world into production. In the context of URBANITE Alma Digit is guiding the Public Administration towards digital transformation of services and process management in the mobility sector.

More information on Messina Use Case, in the URBANITE project, will be available soon, so stay tuned!

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