Back to Top

Mobility Measure

Reducing illegal on-street parking

Bologna has a problem with illegal on-street parking and has decided to tackle this with the help of an automatic enforcement system.

Implementing sustainable mobility

Parking in double rows or on reserved bus lanes is unfortunately common in Bologna and one of the main causes of congestion. It hinders public transport vehicles in particular. The city wants to implement an automatic enforcement system to discourage illegal parking. It will be one of the first of such systems in Europe.

The main objectives of the measure are to:

  • Improve the travel time of public transport; and
  • Enforce road rules to reduce illegal on-street parking.

Weak enforcement of illegal on-street parking has a negative impact on public transport and traffic circulation in Bologna. The historical city centre especially suffers from this situation. Intelligent transport systems (ITS) have proven efficient instruments to release such situations. Bologna hopes that an electronic mobile enforcement system will decrease illegal on-street parking. The existing ITS system will be improved with mobile cameras designed to detect illegal parking and support the municipal police in enforcement. The so-called SCOUT system works as follows: Patrolling police first take a picture of the illegally parked car from inside the police car. The owner of the car is identified via the number plate and the fine procedure begins. Disputes after the fine has been issued are avoided through a Galileo-based GPS application onboard the police car that provides the exact position of the vehicle.

How did the measure progress?

The implementation of the measure involved a technical and market analysis, a definition of requirements, the development of a prototype and an evaluation of first tests. Bologna has completed all these steps and SCOUT is now in operation. The system was firstly introduced to monitor the bus route 14. Since February 2010, a second bus route (number 13) is being monitored through the SCOUT system. On 1st December 2010 Scout was expanded to the central Irnerio street, due to changes to traffic circulation and road works for a new trolley bus lane. In January 2011 the Municipal Police department acquired an upgraded SCOUT device with an extended memory and the possibility to be connected with different data bases in order to make cross checks (e.g. on stolen cars). Since December 2011, the SCOUT device has been used also to monitor the main traffic flow axis to and from the city centre and within the centre itself. Together with the Police, training courses on how to use the system have been organised for employees of the public transport operator that is responsible for the management of parking in public areas. Illegal on-street parking is being monitored to assess improvements in journey times of public transport. Dissemination activities have been implemented. SCOUT has been presented during public conferences and events, in relationship to the activities foreseen by measure “Policy planning and cooperation”. Reliable results have been available firstly in 2010: when comparing 2010 data with data from 2008, the fines appear to have significantly decreased (to less than 68 percent). This means that citizens have became aware of this kind of enforcement and consequently they are changing their illegal driving/ parking behavior. Legal disputes challenging fines have been limited thanks to the photographic and GPS-supported proof the SCOUT system provides. Due to the success of results obtained, in 2012 the Municipality of Bologna has decided to expand the service and to purchase new equipment and a new detection vehicle (outside MIMOSA). A second SCOUT device was introduced in September 2012, followed by a third one in November.

What were the outcomes of the measure?

Designing the measure, Bologna expected: - A reduction in on-street illegal parking; and - Improvements in the travel time of public transport.

The activities carried out by the Municipality were successful. Reliable results have been available since 2010: when comparing 2010 data with data from 2008, the fines appeared to have significantly decreased (to about 68 percent), proving the reduction in on-street illegal parking. This means also that citizens had became aware of this kind of enforcement and consequently they were changing their illegal driving/ parking behavior. Such good results have been confirmed the next year: a reduction was seen in illegal on-street parking in streets controlled by SCOUT, with reference to all types of infringement (a 53% reduction between 2008 and 2011 referring to bus route 14, which was first monitored and therefore offers more data). Legal disputes challenging fines have been limited thanks to the photographic and GPS-supported proof the SCOUT system provides.

In the meantime, positive results were obtained in terms of PT regularity, with particular reference to the month of December, when it was particularly high: a decrease in congestion on monitored bus routes has been perceived by drivers and buses are running more regularly.

Basic Information

BOL 8.2
April 2013

Thematic Areas