“My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there”
Milano Linate recorded more than 9 million passengers/year in 2018 and is one of the main Italian city airports. It has reacted to the challenge launched by the great revolution of High Speed railways and has supported and offered new market spaces to the dynamics of medium-long range mobility that have enabled its development, remaining an essential player in and for the area. Today, however, Milano Linate is called on to respond to new challenges and new opportunities which will allow the airport to maintain and, probably, increase its market share in a rapidly evolving economic, regulatory, transport and technological context, referring to both accessibility with respect to the Milanese metropolitan and regional areas, and the offer of innovative services that can respond to the new needs, not just of mobility, that future users may generate.
Today and, a fortiori, tomorrow, the airport won’t just be an access terminal to air services, it won’t just be the ‘first impression of a place and the last memory before leaving’. It will be part of the ‘Linate system’, a wider regional context featuring new industrial areas, new centres for leisure, entertainment and shopping. It will be the access point for movement by public transport through the approaching completion of Line 4 of the Metropolitana (underground). In this new context, the ‘Linate system’ will clearly become a ‘place’ in the city where people work, have fun, meet, do sports and conclude business. The airport will become a physical ‘platform’ with plenty of extremely modular spaces, which can offer the city new mobility and logistics services, supplementing and extending the mobility regulation policies to be implemented in the near future.
The airport will also become a digital ‘platform’ managed following the ‘Mobility as a Service’ approach, i.e. integrating all the systems associated with mobility, procurement and energy resource management services. It will be the ‘smart hub’ of the area, the key element for the overall management of the system which will guarantee a digital one-stop-shop for people, and not just passengers, and a monitoring and management ‘dashboard’ supporting operational, tactical, and strategic decisions for managers to check the consumption of resources and the minimisation of impact pursuing the aims of the UN Agenda 2030 on Climate Change.
SEA, in co-operation with NET Engineering, made a system study for this to create a support tool for strategic decision-making processes, firstly, and planning and tactical ones, secondly, that:
- moves from the analysis of the new short- and medium-term scenario, marked by the completion of the new underground line M4 (whose terminus will be directly connected to the airport) and the technological scenarios that will have a direct influence on the innovative mobility services for people and goods;
- intends to increase the accessibility of the airport with different methods of transport, favouring sustainable mobility, ensuring safe pedestrian mobility in the airport, sustaining the sector of mobility not strictly connected to the airport but concerns the ‘Linate system’;
- has the reorganisation of the land side area of the airport into functional areas as guiding criteria, consistent with a ‘wayfinding’ approach and minimising potential conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles.
In this sense, the project developed pursues the aim of establishing the guidelines of the new structure and defining the individual solutions, again in an integrated view that, starting from the estimate of the needs of future demand, have designed a new layout very consistent with a ‘wayfinding’ plan and responding to the new requirements that the technological context and the innovative mobility services may determine for future time horizons. The functional reorganisation of the spaces, with a more systematic indication of the functional roles of each area, has been aided by a reconfiguration of the access system and a coherent arrangement of a system guiding vehicles towards the functional area corresponding to their needs in the most legible, fastest and safest way possible. In this new environment, the area next to the new future terminus of Line 4 of the underground will be the new terminal for the innovative mobility services, a smart hub for integrated transport (electric car sharing, bike sharing and e-scooters) equipped with innovative technologies like smart lighting, search devices and totems for wayfinding, service areas for the new e-mobility etc.
Therefore, this new smart hub responds to the allocation requirements of avant-garde services already partly available in the area and which could have strong, rapid growth in the near future. It’s consistent with a vision of system development of innovative services in the Milanese metropolitan area. It offers useful spaces in support of the policies that Milan is developing on sustainable mobility. It’s also resilient with respect to the evolutions that the technological and economic context of transport could see in the near future.