Partners: Emilia-Romagna Region

The Emilia-Romagna region, situated in north area of Italy, covers about 22,1252 km and its population is 3,983,346 (2001 data). It consists of 341 municipalities grouped in 9 provinces.

The region’s main road system is made up of 10,792 km of roads, distributed as follows:

  • 643 km motorways and motorway junctions;
  • 2,907 km national roads and regional roads;
  • 7,231 km provincial roads.

Regarding the functional standards, only two levels can be identified:

  • The motorway network, connecting regional and national medium-to-long distances
  • The ordinary road system, which includes all national, regional, provincial and extra-urban municipal roads, which are widespread throughout the regional area and link short-distances.

The railway network includes 1,350 km and 900 km are managed by a private national operator (TRENITALIA) and 450 km are managed by a regional operator (FER).

The analysis of the population distribution shows that 77% of municipalities have less than 10,000 inhabitants, accounting for 28% of the total population. In particular, it may be worth noting that 43% of the population is concentrated in the provincial capitals cities and in larger towns.

Environmental Situation/Problems

The environmental conditions of the Emilia-Romagna region are indeed critical for a number of reasons, including its geological and morphological make-up, the presence throughout the territory of historical cities characterised by high population densities, and mobility rates which are among the highest in Europe.
In recent years a substantial increase in the levels of pollution has been recorded, due especially to the presence of high concentrations of fine particulates (PM10). The health limit of 50µg/cm (set by directive 99/30/CE and included in D.M. [Ministerial Decree] n. 60/2002) was exceeded several times. The 2003 average PM10 concentration recorded in the region’s urban areas was 43 µg/mc; 8 provincial cities exceeded the yearly threshold set by legislation to protect public health at 40 µg/mc, starting from 1st January 2005.

In the first four months of 2004 concentrations beyond 50?g/mc were recorded on more than 35 days in all urban areas, except the city of Rimini (Rimini being a coastal city with different meteorological conditions):

In particular it should be noticed that:

  • in almost all the cities of the Emilia-Romagna region PM10 concentrations decreased between 2001 and 2002, with the exception of Ferrara, where PM10 levels showed no change (43 µg/mc), and Forlì, where a small increase was recorded (from 42 µg/mc to 43 µg/mc);
  • the cities of Bologna, Reggio Emilia and Parma exceeded the threshold value throughout the 2001-2003 period;
  • the 50 µg/mc value (set by D.M. n. 60/2002) was exceeded by all the cities in Emilia-Romagna for more than 35 days/year in both 2002 and 2003; as a matter of fact in all cities PM10 concentrations even beyond 65 µg/mc were recorded for more than 35 days.

Traffic is one of the main factors leading to increased atmospheric pollution. As an example, an average 20% of total PM10 emissions (primary plus secondary, i.e. that which is not emitted directly, but is formed in the atmosphere) in urban areas is caused by local traffic, 24% by sources within the area (non-local traffic, heating, etc.), 56% by causes outside the area (industrial plants, thermoelectric stations, traffic, etc.). In the Emilia-Romagna region traffic is therefore the main culprit increasing atmospheric pollution.

Istitutional Context

The main actors where air quality are concerned are:

  • Ministry of the Environment, responsible for the implementation of the national environmenatl policy and co-ordinating the regional and national ARPA (Regional Agency for health prevention and environmental protection) system;
  • Emilia-Romagna Region, responsible for environmental resources management planning; operative plans are carried out by provinces and municipalities;
  • ARPA Emilia-Romagna, Regional Environmental Protection Agency, that carries out air quality monitoring for municipalities and provinces.


There are 104 stations for the automatic and continuous control of air quality scattered over the territory of the Emilia-Romagna region, with a total 698 analysers. The regional atmospheric pollution monitoring network detects the most important substances (ozone, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, dusts, lead, carbon oxide, volatile organic substances, benzene). The data are sent to computerised processing centres and the information is disclosed to the citizens and local authorities, which can restrict traffic in the event that critical levels are exceeded. The stations are located mainly in urban areas.

Moreover ER Region is now implementing Monitoring Traffic System (MTS) project, in order to support transport planning and programming and to have systematic traffic flows data, permitting continuous and dynamic monitoring of traffic flows trends and ensuring comparability of data throughout time.

When running at full capacity, the MTS will include 302 stations for calculating and classifying traffic flows, of which:

  • 232 will be implemented within the framework of this project;
  • 14 were originally created for a pilot project initiated by the Municipality of Ravenna and will be included in the system (Ravenna pilot project is now operative);
  • 18 will be build in the course of the pilot project started by the Municipality of Ferrara and will be integrated into the system (and Ferrara project will be operative form march 2005);
  • 38 are tollgates already existing on the regional territory; data shall be collected thanks to specific agreements with the concessionary companies.

The stations will survey number, speed and type of vehicles, at least in 3 categories (cars, vans and lorries, trucks and full trailers and articulated lorries.

Planned Activities and Expected Results

Expected results are:

  • to provide practical plan for implementing an Air Quality Decision Support System (DSS) in Emilia-Romagna region;
  • to acquire the conceptual framework and knowledge on specific component of traffic-environment chain, based on HEAVEN experience;
  • to prepare a transfer guidebook and to implement and test the models chain on a pilot area of Emilia-Romagna region.



Emilia-Romana Region




2004 Copyright note and legal information