"Car Culture is our main challenge and creating a Green Culture is our next one": Andrea Colombo about sustainable mobility in Bologna

What are the top priorities in Bologna when it comes to sustainable mobility?

Andrea Colombo: Our chief problems are traffic congestion, pollution and road accidents. Three priorities to support and promote sustainable mobility solutions are:

  • Raising citizens' awareness about the necessity to change their means of transport and opt for more efficient and less pollutant ones, such as cycling and walking.
  • Similarly, Bologna’s Municipality and transport providers need to strive to offer sustainable mobility services that are as useful and attractive as possible.
  • To make this change possible, cities also have to involve citizens and stakeholders as much as possible in planning, designing and implementing any new mobility services.

What are the challenges in implementing those priorities?

Car Culture is our main challenge and creating a “Green Culture” is our next one. Over the years a negative habit regarding transport and mobility has been established in Italy and even Bologna: Car and private means of transport in general, are seen by many people as the first and often the only choice for getting from A to B.

What is your own personal pet cause, what are you championing at the moment?

As the new Mobility Councillor in the city of Bologna, together with colleagues and technicians from the City Hall, I am strongly committed to improving city life by creating a new way to move around the city: smarter and safer whilst using less polluting energy sources. Over the last few months several areas in the city centre have been completely pedestrianised and a new pedestrianisation action plan for the historic city centre has been launched. This project aims to revolutionise mobility in the city, giving priority to pedestrian orientated measures.

Currently, we are running a kind of “Participated Project” in Bologna whereby citizens, stakeholders, associations meet together to speak about their ideas for a new city centre and give their contribution for the development of the new project. This is part of Bologna’s ambitious plan entitled “A City Centre Again” to address several problems regarding accessibility and liveability in the city centre. New public space regulations and interventions will be introduced on the basis that pedestrians should enjoy top priority and need to be welcomed back to the city centre. The plan is currently in the consultation stage.

Who do you look up to? Who inspires you in the area of sustainable development?

I confess I am inspired by Mr. Guido Fanti, a Mayor of Bologna during the late sixties, who died just few weeks ago. In collaboration with the City Hall, he established the first pedestrianisation measure in the city in 1968. By doing this he proved to be extremely courageous and forward thinking in promoting sustainable mobility at a time when cultural resistances and barriers were very strong.

This interview has been extracted by courtesy of CIVITAS MIMOSA. The full interview is available here.