Today, the 5th edition of the FIA Smart Cities Forum took place in Rome and focused on the evolving mobility challenges and opportunities in cities with 'eternal' histories and numerous stages of transformation.

smart cities, rome

The Forum started with two keynote presentations. The first one featured the experience of the MIT Senseable City Lab and its research on advancing social innovation through design and sciences. Carlo Ratti reflected on the maturity of innovations with regards to various scopes of mobility systems and focused on the importance of cities to become ‘Senseable’, which means both ‘able to sense’ and ‘sensible’. The word ‘Senseable’ puts more emphasis on the human – as opposed to technological – side of things. This was reiterated by the second keynote speaker, Olivier Wenden, Executive Director at Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. Committed to promoting renewable energy and clean transport, the Foundation believes in Formula E’s potential to demonstrate the use of technologies in unlocking clean and efficient mobility solutions for all.

The two keynotes were followed by a panel discussion gathering industry players on the evolution of the Smart Cities ecosystem. Users are looking for more efficient and tailor-made solutions. As a result, key mobility players are moving faster towards the development of integrated mobility. Smart technologies have also become scalable and wider-spread. For example, smart grid solutions are now widely deployed by Enel across Italy and abroad. Users benefit from a more efficient e-mobility system which guides consumers towards more sustainable choices. The optimisation of technologies but also their monitoring and regulation was also explained by the PTV Group which presented smart urban traffic management tools to the Forum participants. Michelin, which created their own Open Lab, highlighted that the use of data sourced by various technologies helps build the bridge between the industry and policymakers. Carefully designed, thoroughly tested and assessed innovations will allow for a wider market access and support of city authorities.

A second panel shed light on the need for cities to think about ways to modernise transport systems and make the best use of new mobility technologies. Over the past years, Roman citizens have experienced e-bus transit lines, improved cycling infrastructure and collaborative mobility platforms. New targets are now set in the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, recently adopted by the municipality. Miguel Gaspar, Deputy Mayor of Lisbon, further commented "Cities have a key role in the decarbonisation of mobility but we will only succeed if we create a strong ecosystem of partners with common values and willing to lead the change by sharing data and process within smart cities." The panel also reflected on the critical importance of sustainable and efficient transport when it comes to organising large public events such as sport competitions. Raffaele Chiulli, President of ARISF (Association of IOC Recognised International Sport Federations) underlined the sustainability strategy developed by the IOC and the need to advance this kind of strategies at the city level.

The highlight of the Forum was the High-Level Remarks panel gathering Jean Todt, FIA President, Virginia Raggi, Mayor of Rome, Angelo Sticchi Damiani, ACI President, Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E Holdings and Enzo Bianco, Mayor of Catania and Chairman of National Council ANCI, to discuss challenges and opportunities in urban mobility. Jean Todt opened the session reminding the engagement of cities around the world to grow in a sustainable and efficient manner and the FIA's role to contribute to this progress. "By adopting the New Urban Agenda, cities have committed to overcome urban mobility challenges and find long-lasting solutions for safe, sustainable and accessible transport. It is our role to advance the implementation of this Agenda and its targets." At the forefront of this evolution, the City of Rome has engaged in the process of defining the implementation strategy of its new Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan. "We are designing the town of the future, favoring interconnected mobility with low-environmental impact works. Rome must be competitive and is ready to take up the challenge. The aim is to place the citizens and their needs right at the centre of the project.", said Mayor Raggi. Indeed, the implementation of new mobility solutions requires behavioral changes. As the voice of Italian car users, Angelo Sticchi Damiani asserted "Motorists are aware that their city’s quality of life strongly depends on the quality of its mobility services. I firmly believe that their willingness to change their habits should be encouraged with appropriate programmes, continuous and clearly structured information, connectivity services and real time info-mobility."

The Forum hosted a new edition of the FIA Smart Cities Global Start-up Contest. Three visionary start-ups went on stage to pitch their projects to make cities cleaner and smarter. Selected by a jury of international experts, the winner of the Rome contest was Scuter, an infrastructure offering mobility solutions based on an innovative three-wheeler ultralight electric vehicle designed just for sharing.

Participants also had the chance to discover interactive installations by Enel and PTV and experience ‘innovation in motion’ through an exclusive visit of the Formula E team garages followed by the Formula E Shakedown.