Multimodal Tourist Hubs: easy reachable places, with facilities, close to the city center and connected with it thanks to pedestrian paths, bike and PT
Tourist buses used to reach the limit of Ravenna LTZ (Low Traffic Zone) through many gateways, often using unsuitable roads and generating traffic jams and danger both for tourists and citizens.
In order to solve this situation, four proper gateways have been identified, on the basis of road size, lanes number and connections to parking lots.
At the same time, some areas close to the city center have been devoted to welcome visitors, giving them facilities like wi-fi, wc, and information in a safe and comfortable place. These areas have been called “Multimodal Tourist Hub” (MTH) because not only they are connected to the city center thanks to accessible – for all, due to the presence of elevators and ramps - pedestrian paths, but tourists can also decide to rent a bike or take the public transport to reach their destinations.
Moreover, buses are forced to leave the MTHs within 15 minutes to reach the final, and free, parking area: this trip, as the previous one, must follow a mandatory route.
The MTHs, included in Ravenna’s SUMP, are able to improve the road safety for citizens and tourists and the city liveabilty. This measure involves several stakeholders like transport companies (private and public buses but also bike rentals), museums, tourism operators and trade associations.
In this moment MTHs are free of charge, but in the coming months a toll will be introduced and, with this, the possibility to make a reservation and collect useful data.
Tolling system realization has been externalized to a company that will manage it for the next 15 years.
The system will be completely automatic, with the only need of a remote operator.
Up to 160 buses/hour will be automatically managed (40 slots, 4 buses each one in a single hour).
Evidence of success
There are not data from the three MTHs; in the coming months the accesses to the platform will be monitored.
The absence of private buses in the city center has improved safety and quality of life both for tourists and citizens; traffic jams generated by buses stuck in narrow streets have been drastically reduced.
Tourist operators are defining the MTHs as starting points of their tours; fines caused by “private buses improper stops” are decreasing.
The challenges faced are mostly related to the management of arrivals and departures because MTHs are used by public transport and a lot of private companies, not all with a fixed timetable. The definition of the rules for mandatory routes required some attention.
Potential for learning or transfer
This practice can be transferred to every city characterized by a small historic center, with narrow streets and the problem of traffic and danger generated by private buses.
There are different aspects that can work, even separately:
• Proper accesses definition in the road network for specific means
• Mandatory paths (road size and lanes) for specific means
• Safe places to “get on/off” busses
• Facilities for tourists in their arrival point before going into the very city center (wc, wi-fi, museum tickets..)
• Multimodality for tourists in their arrival point
• Paths for all