The most recent and important work of infrastructure in Italy is certainly the approximately 1,000 kilometres of High Speed/High Capacity railway lines. In just a few years, High Speed (HS) has changed the habits and customs of millions of people, shortening distances and reducing transfer times.
In 2008, the Naples-Salerno and Milan-Bologna lines came into operation and, at the end of 2009, Florence-Bologna, the completion of the Turin-Milan (Novara-Milan section) and the final section of the Rome-Naples lines were added. At the same time as this, a new private operator, Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (NTV) entered the High Speed market, starting its first service in April 2012 with a partial programme, reaching the current complete service in April 2013. Thus, today, Italy is a unique case internationally as it is the first country where, following the liberalisation of the passenger market, a completely private operator (NTV) provides High Speed transport services in competition with Trenitalia, the previous monopolist. Trenitalia and NTV provide passenger transport services in a market open to free competition, where the services offered are neither regulated from the tariff point of view nor subsidised. In this way, they can be valorised to the greatest benefit of travellers, the result of the competition in terms of tariffs, timetables and frequency, stations of origin and destination of the services and intermediate stops.
The impact of the HS services on the transport system, with special reference to the Turin-Milan-Rome-Naples-Salerno corridor, has been of great importance:
- the high-performance infrastructure has produced a significant reduction in the travelling times;
- the entrance of a new competitor in the HS market triggered virtuous competition in the overall reorganisation of the tariff structure with a resulting reduction in the average price of travel and an improvement in the quality of the services.
The combined effect of these two main factors led to an increase in the number of passengers transported of more than 13 m (+81%) in relation to the ‘core’ area in the five years 2009-2013 where:
- 2.5 m are from other railway services;
- 5.8 m are from other forms of transport (air and vehicle);
- 5.5 m form the so-called induced demand, i.e. the quota of transfers triggered just by the start of HS services.
It’s obvious that, where the estimate is an induced demand of more than 40% of the whole quota of transfers attracted by HS services in 5 years, the essential question is what are its features, what are the phenomena causing it but, above all, how can they be governed for the developments planned in the near future.
The consideration at the base of all this is that the introduction of HS services has space, social and economic impacts on regional development of prime importance – an increase in employment, income, production and changes in the ways the land is used. There have been many studies in the sector which have outlined the first conclusions on the subject, indicating the trends relating to Italy, also in comparison with the other European situations.
Certainly, in this context, the role of the stations, their position in the area, their accessibility and the urban transformations seen around them, is dominant:
- the station is not called on to be a mere access channel to the functions concentrated in the main towns served by the HS network but also aspires to be a powerful tool for the growth of the attraction of its catchment area;
- thinking must be for the connection of the network logics, centred on the transport criteria of efficiency and accessibility, to the area logics measured with criteria of fairness and attractiveness, preventing the marginalisation of the areas not served and promoting the ability of the local hub to become an attractor of catchment area traffic;
- the changes in the ways the land is used have to be quantified so that they can be foreseen and governed;
- it is essential to focus special attention on the new HS stations built or being built outside the metropolitan context, like Reggio Emilia and Naples-Afragola, where these changes undoubtedly have greater volatility factors than those constructed in consolidated urban contexts.
From this point of view, the study of the HS service and its new stations must be viewed as a system which takes into consideration the relationship between a transport system and use of the area with a model that:
- analyses the reactions and counteractions that may be induced by the introduction of an HS station in an extra-urban context;
- quantifies the impact on the use of the area;
- provides the tools to govern the process, correctly planning regional transport services, with the aim of making the future station a real access hub for its catchment area.
Competition on fast track: an analysis of the first competitive market for HSR services – Ennio Cascetta, Pierluigi Coppola, EWGT2013 – 16th Meeting of the EURO Working Group on Transportation
Un sistema di modelli per la previsione della domanda passeggeri sui servizi ferroviari AV – Vito Velard, Roberto dall’Alba, Ingegneria Ferroviaria, 2015
Analyzing Competition between the High Speed Train and Alternative Modes. The Case of the Madrid-Zaragoza-Barcelona Corridor – Concepción Román, Raquel Espino, Juan Carlos Martín – Journal of Choice Modelling 2009
High-speed rail accessibility: a comparative analysis of urban access in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Madrid, and Barcelona – Chuyuan Zhong, Germà Bel, Mildred E. Warner – EJTIR 2014
La stazione AV mediopadana: un’opportunità di sistema, NOMISMA, 2015
The regional impacts of high speed rail a review of methods and models – Guineng Chen, João de Abreu e Silva, Association For European Transport and Contributors, 2011