EVALUATION OF 3 ITALIAN ITS PROJECTS
Politecnico di Milano-Via Durando 38/A, 20158 Milan, Italy. Phone: +39 02 23995848
E-mail: email@example.com, Web: www.trasporti.polimi.it
Giovanna Marchionni, Politecnico di Milano +39 02 23995849, giovanna.marchionni @polimi.it
Marco Ponti, Politecnico di Milano +39 02 23995849, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eleonora Veronesi, Politecnico di Milano, +39 02 23995849 email@example.com
The paper reports on the activities of the study “Evaluation of the facilities and telematic services
projects within CORVETTE and SERTI” carried out by the Department IN.D.A.CO. – Sistemi per la
Mobilità of the Politecnico di Milano in behalf of the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transportation
The study aim is the evaluation of the impact of some ITSs planned on the Italian area included within
the Euro-regional SERTI and CORVETTE. The following projects were defined:
• Società delle Autostrade di Venezia e Padova S.p.A. – Third Lane project (T3);
• Società delle Autostrade Brescia–Verona–Vicenza-Padova S.p.A. – Companion project;
• Autostrada dei Fiori S.p.A. – integration of several ITS implementations.
We take this opportunity to sincerely thank all the operators who provided the information and data
necessary to draw up this report. We would also like to thank them for their helpfulness and
collaboration, besides for their real interest in the progress of the evaluation report.
In Italy the CORVETTE project regards motorway sections in the north-eastern area, while the SERTI
project involves motorway concessionaires in the north-west. Therefore the SERTI and CORVETTE
projects cover the whole northern Italy, thus involving a relevant part of the Italian motorway network
in terms both of kilometric extent and above all of circulating traffic.
For the first time in Italy the evaluation of ITS services has followed an European common method
agreed by Expert Evaluation Group (promoted by DGTREN) that makes it easier to compare the
results achieved by similar ITS projects implemented on different areas, thus increasing the
importance of the single projects.
This report will specifically analyse the location and evaluation, where it is possible, of the
consequences of the ITS on the following issues:
• users acceptance;
The projects CORVETTE (CO-oRdination and Validation of the dEployment of advanced Transport
TElematic systems in the alpine area) and SERTI (Southern European Road Telematics
Implementation), together with other Euro-regional Projects included within the MIP (Multi-annual
Indicative Program for the Trans-European Network), are all the main means for promoting and
diffusing the ITS (Intelligent Transport System) on both the Italian motorway network and the Trans-
European road network (TERN). These projects aim at promoting a harmonious and synchronized
development of the systems. Their final objectives are:
• optimising the use of roads capacity and traffic flows of both people and goods;
• improving road safety by reducing accidents and their consequences;
• reducing damages on the environment by decreasing traffic jams.
An evaluation is required for all the Euro-regional projects to:
• account for the funds allocated by the European community;
• prove the benefits of single applications;
• prove the benefits of the whole of the applications;
• prove the benefits of the higher information exchange among the several projects.
The idea of having a common evaluation method makes it easier to compare the results achieved by
similar ITS projects implemented on different areas, thus increasing the importance of the single
There are some general principles to be taken into consideration during the evaluation process in
order to underline the most important aspects of each stage in the development of the ITS projects in
First of all, evaluation aims shall be made clear. They are:
• describing of the ITS performance,
• proving to both national authorities and the European community the benefits thus obtained,
• evaluating the positive aspects of applications,
• accounting for funds allocated.
• last but not the least the chance, either for those who are willing to apply similar methods or those
who have similar problems, to make use of analyses to actually evaluate the progress made in
achieving results and to correct the technologies applied
Secondly, by carrying out an evaluation before the implementation (ex-ante) it is possible to check that
the expected results have actually been achieved, while also creating a database to be applied to the
subsequent evaluation (ex-post).
The clearer the objectives stated by the project in hand are, the more effective the evaluation will be;
thanks to this statement our attention can be focused on the progress made in achieving the expected
An evaluation shall generally include:
• a clear description of both place and context, where the ITS application was carried out, to make it
easy to evaluate the exportability of the results to other similar ITS implementations;
• a complete description of the survey methods and techniques employed to make it easy to read
the results achieved;
• a set of specific indicators fully acknowledged at European level to evaluate the effects and to
improve results comparability at both national and European level;
• assessment of the statistical significance degree of the results achieved.
RESULTS OF THE STUDY
Third Lane (T3)
The Third Lane project (T3), implemented by the Società delle Autostrade di Venezia e Padova S.p.a.
(CORVETTE area), aims at improving traffic conditions by using the facilities available; the project
aims at making traffic conditions more smooth-flowing during rush hours. The capacity of this road
shall be increased by letting vehicles travel on the emergency lane.
Safety: potential and actual safety has increased on the infrastructure where the T3 system was
• The number of accidents per direction has significantly decreased (- 57,7% eastbound, -49,0%
westbound); even the number of collisions has decreased, both in absolute terms (-71,0%
eastbound, -66,7% westbound) and as percentage on the number of accidents.
• A higher evenness of traffic and a reduction of the potentially risky phenomenon of “stop & go” has
• Vehicles linear density has significantly decreased (-31,0% in winter and -41,1% in summer) thus
allowing an average increase in safety distances between vehicles.
Number of accidents per month, eastbound
July August September October November December January February March April May
Number of accidents
Figure 1 – Number of accidents per month surveyed eastbound in the period before and
after the T3 system implementation.
Vehicles linear average density - all sections - summer
Average linear density (vehicles/km per la
Figure2 – Average linear density of vehicles – all sections – summer.
The third lane was most frequently opened between 5-23 in winter and 5-21 in summer. In the
remaining time bands the third lane is less often opened with a frequency under 50%, with minimum
frequency (lower than 10%) at night during winter.
• Traffic flows have increased in the sections under control (+7,5% on average in time bands when
the third lane was more frequently opened in winter, and +8,0 in summer). The highest average
increase was recorded in winter working days (+12,6%).
• Flow speed has increased, especially in summer (+23,6%, corresponding to +15 km/h), and more
clearly on working days. Journey time on the beltway has therefore decreased allowing users to
save on journey time.
• The different amount of traffic increases in winter on the several sections under examination
indicates a substantial increase of short-distance flows which cover only part of the sections under
examination. This result proves the improvement in the accessibility of the infrastructure on the
part of local traffic using the beltway. Before the T3 implementation local traffic had to use other
roads because of the high congestion on the beltway.
• Speed limits imposed and indicated by VMS are generally observed, thus proving the
effectiveness of their use in indicating speed limits.
Average flows of traffic per hour - all sections - summer
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 1 9 20 21 22 2 3
Aver age flow s of traf fic (vehi cles p er ho
Figure3 – Average traffic flows per hour – all sections – summer.
• The regularization of flows and speed after the T3 implementation ensures improved traffic flows
and the sharp decrease in traffic jams, which usually cause a particularly polluting way of driving.
The effect on the environment may therefore be considered positive, even if no quantity indicators
for emissions and air quality were developed.
ITS on the Autostrada dei Fiori
The Autostrada dei Fiori (SERTI area) implemented several ITS along the whole motorway in order to
improve both safety and traffic management in general.
This implementation is the only cross-system to include many transports-telematics related aspects. It
is therefore very interesting thanks to the extension and synergy achieved by a joint management of
different technological systems.
• The selected indicators showed a reduction in the number of accidents per vehicle - kilometre
between 1996 – 2003 and a significant decrease in their seriousness both in terms of casualties
every 100 accidents and in terms of casualties per vehicle - kilometre.
• Furthermore, the most satisfying results were given by comparing the value of indicators on the
AdF with those recorded on Italian motorways in the same reference periods. In particular, the
percentage change in the number of accidents per vehicle – kilometre, of casualties and injured
per vehicle - kilometre between 1996 and 2003. We can therefore see a national tendency to
improve motorway safety, but a better performance of the AdF especially in reducing the number
of accidents per vehicle – kilometre and the number of casualties per vehicle - kilometre..
Table 1– Safety indicators of the AdF – Years:1996 – 2003 – Elaborated on Aiscat data.
1996 0,57 1,58% 0,28 0,013 2,26
1997 0,57 1,08% 0,34 0,006 1,08
1998 0,41 1,61% 0,23 0,007 1,84
1999 0,43 1,26% 0,20 0,006 1,46
2000 0,39 1,32% 0,22 0,005 1,32
2001 0,37 1,39% 0,22 0,008 2,08
2002 0,38 1,05% 0,29 0,007 1,89
2003 0,33 0,71% 0,20 0,002 0,71
• The AdF showed an increase in traffic volumes higher than the average increase recorded on all
• With the increase in traffic there is also a small but significant increase in the average speed. This
allows to conclude that the motorway was able to contain traffic flows without reducing its average
Table2 – Percentage change of vehicle – kilometre on the whole Italian motorway
network and on the AdF. Evaluation of the percentage change of data on each single
section with respect to the national level. – Elaborated on Aiscat data.
% change vehicle-km
vehicle - km
Change in ADF value
with respect to the
1997 - 1996 3,95% 4,24% 0,30%
1998 - 1997 4,41% 32,07% 27,66%
1999 - 1998 3,25% 4,66% 1,41%
2000 - 1999 3,45% 3,23% -0,22%
2001 - 2000 3,78% 2,21% -1,56%
2002 - 2001 2,85% 4,67% 1,82%
2003 - 2002 2,94% 2,61% -0,33%
2003 - 1996 27,36% 63,28% 35,92%
Table3 – Average speed on all sections per day. – Years: 1999 – 2004.
Average speed per day (km/h)
Average on all sections
Year Light vehicles Heavy vehicles
1999 108,01 108,47
2000 110,11 111,59
2001 105,64 106,59
2002 104,88 109,71
2003 97,97 110,46
2004 110,18 109,98
• Results emerging from the number of visits to web pages prove a good acceptance of pre–trip
information on the part of users.
The Companion project, carried out by the Società Autostrada Brescia Verona Vicenza Padova
(CORVETTE area), aims at reducing accidents, in particular those caused by the first one in
emergency situations or when visibility is low due to weather conditions. A lighting posts system shall
be therefore used to timely warn drivers in case of danger.
Safety: it will potentially increase thanks to:
• the technical effectiveness of the system.; it can give a timely and consistent warning in case of an
• the reduction, although limited, of vehicles speed when light posts are activated;
• the lower number of accidents and collisions recorded on the historic Soave Montebello section.
Table4 – Number of accidents per km per section.
Section Number of accidents Section km Accidents per km
Sirmione - Sommacampagna 366 19 19,26
Soave - Montebello 130 914,44
Grisignano - Padova Est 268 19 14,11
Other sections 1596 99 16,12
utostrada Brescia Padova 2360 146 16,16
The system proved technically effectiveness and it automatically activates when visibility is low. The
system activates in a consistent and timely way facing the danger to be signaled and it can:
• follow and go ahead queues expanding before or ahead; it always activates well ahead the point
of sharp braking.
• follow the extent of a foggy area, thus effectively warning users approaching a fog bank;
• provide consistent information thus avoiding the excessive alternating of activation and
deactivation phases and properly filtering temporary and hardly relevant changes of parameters
controlled by sensors, without having to change the state of activation in vain.
In analyzed cases regarding light posts activations due to low visibility, a speed reduction of vehicles
from -0,4 to -15,2 km/h was recorded, corresponding to a percentage of -0,4% and -13,6%. Safety
distance between subsequent vehicles showed no clear changes, but alternating increase and
Figure4 – Trend of vehicles in time and state of activation of Companion – Soave –
Montebello section, eastbound – 08/02/2004.
The evaluation carried out and synthetically described, evidenced some circumstances, in part
predictable but in part also unexpected, with respect to the effectiveness of ITS systems to improve
safety conditions of the highway circulation, especially compared to the remarkable increase of traffic
flows recorded in these last years.
These considerations are justified above by the consistent reduction of the accidents in quantitative
terms and with respect to their seriousness, demonstrated by the reduction of the number of
The results stimulate two considerations. The first regards the opportunity to integrate single ITS
implementation made available by the technological progress; their usefulness and their effectiveness,
in fact, are greater when the single implementation participates to the constitution of complex and
centralized systems that facilitate the observation of several phenomena and the definition of action
aimed to traffic control.
The second one regards the usefulness of the evaluation of ITS systems, that have allowed to obtain
quantitative and objective estimations of the effectiveness of technological innovation and of the
opportunity of investments towards an increased safety. This result should induce to go on with this
activities, considering that the increased availability of observations and surveys allow to execute
statically more and more reliable appraisals.
(1 Al-Masaeid H.R., "Performance of safety evaluation methods", Journal of Transportation
Engineering, September/October 1997;
(2) CENTRICO project, “Evaluation – Outline program for sessions in ERP conference in
Dusseldorf”, June 2003.
(3) Henk Taale, ”Evaluation of Intelligent Transport Systems in The Netherlands”, 2003.
(4) Jean Hopkin, ”Evaluation - summary of project deployment indicators”, July 2005.
(5) Steve Tarry, ”Evaluation - Handbook of Best Practice - Outline version 5”, 2006.
(6) Streetwise project, ”Evaluation - Streetwise Guidelines April 2003 version”, 2003.
(7) TEMPO Secretariat, ”Evaluation - Glossary for use in reporting evaluation results”, 2003.
(8) TEMPO Secretariat, Evaluation - TEMPO Guidelines for reporting results - Issue 5 , 2006.