Partners Cities: Rome

Background information about the city

The Rome Metropolitan Area, instituted through the National Act 142/90, hosts about 4 million residents over an area of 5300 km2 and comprises the Rome Municipality (1300 km2) and other 120 small satellite municipalities (4000 km2). It is located on the west coast of the centre of Italy in the Lazio Region, which is the third most populous region and the third industrial pole in the country, claiming over 5 million people.

Rome Municipality is further subdivided into 19 districts (Municipi), but from a functional point of view five areas can be identified, four internal to the Great Ring Road (GRA, Grande Raccordo Anulare) according to the Urban Traffic General Plan (PGTU, Piano Generale del Traffico Urbano), while the fifth is external to the GRA and extends to the city border; all of them have been identified on the base of their general characteristics and the planned modal shift between public and private transport.

Figure 1 - Territorial partition of the Rome municipality (PGTU) in the Leaflet to inform the Rome’s citizens about the mobility limitations

The PGTU acknowledges the need to have a strong public transport service in the inner areas, characterised by high residential and activity densities, and a forced but functional cohabitation of public and private transport in the peripheral and suburban areas, where densities are low.

The historical centre (A), corresponding to the Restricted Access Zone (LTZ, Zona a Traffico Limitato), has an area of about 6 km2 and shows the highest concentration of business activities in Rome. The central area (B) borders internally the historical centre and externally the railway ring (RAIL RING). The area is densely populated and presents a great deal of business activities.

The semi-central area (C) borders internally the central area and externally is approximately identified by the inner ring road (still not completed). The area is characterised by a medium business density and the highest population density. The peripheral area (D) covers the rest of the urban settlement within the external road ring (GRA). Business and residential density are lower than in the previous cases.

Environmental situation/problems

Rome is the capital city of the country: administrative, political and services are the main activities, including transport and all assets related to tourism; these activities are particularly concentrated in the central area, especially in its historical centre. In spite of this concentration of activities, a sufficiently developed radial system of public transport services has not been implemented. Both pedestrian and public transport shares are only 20% each of the total mobility, while 60% trips are travelled by private transport; in the historical centre this modal share changes into 34% of pedestrians, 29% public transport and 37% private transport.

Mode split is further characterised by the dominance of registered private cars and motorbikes despite the lack of parking spaces.

The City Administration has developed policies aimed at improving mobility, modifying modal split in favour of public transport, increasing traffic safety, decreasing air pollution and acoustic nuisances, regenerating urban spaces, rationalising public space use, safeguarding citizens health, preserving historical and architectural heritage.

The City of Rome, integrating its approach in on-going project MIRACLES inside the CIVITAS EU line of DGTREN, adopts an ambitious approach where innovation mixes technology and policy with political and behavioural support to reduce congestion, energy consumption, noise and air pollution according to EU policies (Kyoto and Energy Green Paper).

The main objective of City Council is to achieve, through the implementation of suitable mobility policies, an urban sustainable development as outlined by the Europe Council Program “For a durable and sustainable urban development”.

This main objective can be detailed in two general goals, i.e. to improve traffic mobility conditions, increasing road safety and decreasing traffic related pollution and to re-qualify urban spaces, rationalizing public space, safeguarding citizens’ health and life quality, and preserving historical and architectural heritage. The City Administration is implementing long term and short term activities in order to reach these objectives.

In the Rome Metropolitan area air quality indicators for particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide are sometimes beyond the limits set in the EU directives on air quality, while Benzene is generally not a problem. In the picture, the PM10 situation in four monitoring sites is shown. Industrial emissions have steadily decreased over recent decades and previous modelling exercises show that management of transport related emissions may be a key factor in achieving compliance with the EU directives.

Institutional context

The main actors where air quality is concerned are:

  • Ministry of the Environment, responsible for the implementation of the national environmental policy and co-ordinating the Regional and National ARPA system
  • ARPA Lazio, that is regional authority that carries out air quality monitoring for municipalities, including Rome, and the whole Lazio Region.
  • X Department of Rome Municipality, the municipal body in Rome responsible for air quality management and respect of the limits, set-up by the Environment Ministry in compliance with European Directives.
  • The Air Quality Commission, composed by representatives of all the stakeholders: Lazio Region, X Department of Rome Municipality, VII Department of Rome Municipality (Traffic), ARPA Lazio, ENEA and CNR, i.e. the most important Italian institutes on air quality research, Superior Institute of Health, STA, ATAC, i.e. the PT municipal agency, and the main polluting company, sometimes belonging to Municipality (ACEA, AMA, ecc);
  • STA, the Mobility Agency of the city of Rome, whose activity is the analysis and regulation of the private traffic in the city. Committed in evaluating the impact of mobility on the environment, especially on air quality. Important asset is the traffic control centre where a prototype system creating an integrated traffic – environment chain was already tested in HEAVEN IST project and where the full-scale system, called SICOTRAVIA, is under development;

The main actors where health is concerned are:

  • WHO, the World Health Organisation has large influence on the health care, due to the presence of the main regional office in Rome.
  • X Department of Rome Municipality.

At the moment there are unstructured mechanisms, based on the application of a Regional framework, that generate (short-term) traffic measures based on air quality measurements. The new structured Municipal Environmental Action Plan is presently under discussion and will presented in the next months.


ARPA Lazio, the regional environmental agency operates several air quality monitoring sites in the Lazio Region, including Rome. The Rome monitoring network consists of 13 monitoring stations classified as four different types: A,B,C and D. Type A are usually located in areas not directly affected by traffic sources such as parks or green areas. They monitor pollutants such as CO, SO2, NOx, NO, BTX, PM10 and O3. Type B are located in areas with heavy traffic conditions. They monitor CO, NOx, BTX, PM10 and O3. Type C are located in residential areas. They monitor CO, NOx and BTX. Type D are located outside the urban area, almost in the countryside. They monitor O3 and NOx, and are devoted to the control of photochemical pollution.

Figure 2 - PM10 Annual Mean Concentration

The monitoring network acquires concentration data every hour. Data are sent to the Regional Environmental Protection Agency (ARPA) for validation and delivered to the Environmental Department of the Municipality of Rome that is responsible for data collecting, storing and delivering.

Moreover the Municipality of Rome carries out campaigns with diffusion tubes. These campaigns last one week and are distributed across the whole urban area, during different periods of the year.

Monitoring tubes are usually located in secondary streets, to provide information on background concentrations. They last one week and are distributed in different periods of the year. BTX, NO2 are measured plus O3 in summer time.

The Municipality of Rome together with STA delivers the Annual Air Quality Report every year. It includes the current status of air quality in Rome, a description of the main measures to reduce air pollution and studies aimed at predicting further reductions.

From the analysis of the current air situation, it is apparent that traffic is mainly responsible for the high pollutant concentrations. Traffic is the main source of CO, C6H6 and PM10 concentrations. High concentrations are recorded next to heavy traffic areas, whilst background concentrations do not exceed the limits. SO2 concentrations are below limits and quality objectives as industrial activity has ceased to be a dominant source of air pollution.

Planned activities and expected results

Expected results are answering three central questions:

  • How do I inform my citizens in the best possible way about air quality?
  • How best to handle the obliged air quality reporting and what kind of measures can be introduced/are interesting.
  • How to manage economic growth with sustainable environmental impacts?


Municipality of Rome – Environmental Department

STA — Mobility Service for Rome S.p.A.




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