The city of Messina is the third largest city in Sicily with a population of around 250,000. The area is a vital service centre not only for the surrounding municipalities of the province, but also for the Calabria and Straits area. Its particular geographical position makes Messina the gateway to Sicily from the mainland. As a matter of fact, it has always served as a crossroads for Sicily.
Messina is the first stop for those who come from the strait. Therefore, the flow of commuters comes from the surrounding area municipalities and from the sea. The port of Messina is one of the first Italian port that appears in the top ten of European ports for passenger according to the recently published Eurostat survey. The port area is a centre for logistics and contains both civil and military shipyards. Peculiar to the city of Messina is the local public transport consisting mainly of buses, tramway and rail transports network and of hydrofoil and ferry boats fleets.
The municipality of Messina is investing a lot in infrastructure and smart services for the city and citizens. It is proved by the several activities it is carrying on, such as vehicular access detection in LTZ (Limited Traffic Zone) and pedestrian areas, centralized traffic management based on smart lights, micro and macro simulation of traffic flows and analysis, incentives to use public transportation, video surveillance.
To this aims, it has set up an ICT infrastructure to perform the following monitoring activities:
- real time tracking of bus and tram positions in the city;
- vehicular access detection in LTZ (Limited Traffic Zone) and pedestrian areas based on vehicular plate recognition at well identified access gate;
- access detection of trucks moving dangerous goods in the urban area based on OCR video-cameras;
- noise monitoring for traffic degree detection;
- electro-magnetic field monitoring for electro-magnetic pollution detection.
- Bus and tram tracking, and noise and electro-magnetic monitoring activities are at operating speed from several years (the monthly and yearly reports can be seen on the Municipality web site https://trasparenza.comunemessina.gov.it/stato-ambiente.html).
- Vehicular access monitoring-based OCR video-cameras is in a testing stage and will start to operate in May 2019.
The Municipality of Messina aims to make its urban mobility system hard to be managed for several reasons, also due its geographical peculiarities, that are:
- the main points of connection of the city (and of Sicily) with the mainland and some of the neighbouring municipalities are in the urban centre, and involve different transportation systems (ferryboats, trains, hydrofoils, inter-regional buses)
- the geographical shape of the city is stretched for 32 km beside the Tirrenian sea, and tight between its hills and the sea.
Citizens cope daily with public transport delay, traffic jams, works and unforeseen depending on the weather and geographical features. The main challenge the Municipality of Messina has to tackle in the coming years is to build mobility services fulfilling the need of citizens, dwellers, commuters and visitors to move seamless and without hurdles thanks to an expanded array of transportation options and services in the meantime to secure and to optimise the management and interaction among the different mobility and monitoring systems and services available in its urban area reducing the waste of resources and of costs for the public administration. As matter of fact the Municipality of Messina is well-equipped with real time urban mobility monitoring systems
The main challenges for the Municipality of Messina are:
- Improving communication towards citizens to build a sense of ownership to the city, and to support them in urban shifts
- put people at the center of the public transport system management, thus to address effective needs of citizens
- make the Public Transport system more attractive, thus to improve the sustainability of the urban mobility
- to create an urban ecosystem for optimized urban management involving public administrations, private transport companies and citizens
- integrate different transport services and systems (local public transport, transport information in real-time, parking, ticketing, urban monitoring systems, car sharing and carpooling) in order to provide seamless services to citizens
- develop and exploit social media strategies affecting and shifting citizens travel behaviors by engaging and placing dwellers, commuters and visitors as co-creators in the urban mobility services making citizens active players in the achievement of urban mobility goals.