There is little doubt that mobility as we knowing is on the brink of change. Such change, whatever shape it takes, is going to be momentous and to affect every aspect of our lives, from how we commute to work to how we travel for leisure. Having lagged behind in this respect for a few years, Italy is finally joining the sustainable mobility revolution, with several cities launching programs for electric micro-mobility aimed at both residents and tourists. Italy’s long-lasting love story with cars is the result of a combination of reasons: from lack of infrastructure and public transport options to an ingrained diffidence towards new technologies and an unwillingness to let go of old habits and traditions. In recent years, however, most of the population appears to have developed an interest in sustainable alternatives to traditional mobility, either out of genuine concern for global warming or because such alternatives are now more affordable, easier to use and cheaper to maintain – which, at a time when the price of oil is unstable, to say the least, is no small consideration. That’s why a number of Italian cities and regions have embraced sustainable mobility.
Electric scooters in Rimini
Rimini is one such: the city is launching a pilot scheme with a thousand electric scooters as alternative seaside vehicles – particularly useful to move on the crowded streets between the local marinas in the summer. The consensus on e-scooters is far from unanimous: the city of Milan banned them until clearer and more comprehensive rules can be established for their circulation. In Rimini, however, they seem to have been greeted with enthusiasm by local residents and tourists alike. The scooter-sharing service is managed by Bird and Lime, two international companies that are trying to do what so far has proved harder in Italy than in most European Countries: run a successful ride-sharing business for vehicles other than cars. In order to avoid some of the problems that electric scooters presented, the city council in Rimini approved the positioning of specific street signs aimed at making their use safer, by limiting speed in certain areas.
Turin explores sustainable mobility
Not only electric scooters but also electric mopeds were presented as examples of sustainable mobility at last year’s edition of Eicma – Milan’s annual Motorcycle Trade Show. The pioneers of innovation in this department seem to be converging in Turin, particularly around Nito, a startup founded by former director of the European Design Institute César Mendoza. Nito aims at turning mobility into an industry that values sustainability as well as performance and sleek design. Like Apple, but environmentally conscious and equipped with wheels. The young Turin-based startup is also promising to solve the problem of urban mobility once and for all, finding viable solutions for those who want to thrive in a metropolitan setting but feel strongly about environmental issues.