Introducing clean trolley buses

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The renewal of Rome’s public transport fleet included the acquisition of new cleaner buses and new-generation trolley buses.

Implementing sustainable mobility

Rome has a surface public transport network of over 3,500 km, served by 339 lines on which almost 2,500 buses operate. Prior to measure implementation, the bus fleet mainly comprised old, polluting buses, not yet compliant with European emissions standards.

Rome’s limited traffic zone covers a surface of 5.2 km2 out of the entire area of the municipality (1,300 km2). The establishment of this zone, which covers the main cultural heritage of Rome, is at the heart of the municipality’s policy to reduce traffic pollution and congestion.

The measure to reduce the environmental impact of public transport vehicles was based around the renewal of the bus fleet, which involved the purchase of 908 Euro III buses, 200 Euro III buses equipped with continuous regenerating trap (CRT) filters and 30 “new-generation” bi-modal trolleybuses.


With the support of CIVITAS MIRACLES, a plan was drawn up, for implementation by the public transport operator in Rome (ATAC), to speed up the renewal of the traditional bus fleet. In 2002 and 2003, a total of 1,107 Euro III buses were purchased. Standards for 300 of the buses (200 urban and 100 suburban) were more demanding than for other acquisitions. They were equipped with CRT system to help filter out particulates (PM10), the most significant pollutant from traffic in Rome.

Bi-modal trolleybuses were introduced after the completion of tests carried out by ATAC in Hungary. These trolleybuses replaced conventional diesel buses on links entering the limited access zone, without the use of double overhead wires along the section in the protected area due to battery hybridisation. Out of the total line length of 11.3 km, the pure battery section comprised 1.3 km.


At the end of 2003, out of the fleet of 2,796 buses a total of 1,239 were Euro III vehicles. The average age of ATAC buses was reduced to 6.9 years, compared to 12 years in 2000.

The new trolleybuses represented the first application of the battery propulsion of a heavy-load vehicle.

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