How has Milan empowered its citizens?

Milan is the second most populous city in Italy, with a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area comprises an estimated 5 million people. The modal split in Milan is 17% walking, 6% cycling, 57% public transport and 36% private motor vehicle. Milan’s mobility management plan focuses on empowering a modal shift from using the private car to using bike and/or sharing electric cars.


The AutoSvolta Project was designed to tackle two main challenges facing Milan:

  1. The modal split for trips between Milan and its surrounding areas is very unbalanced and car use still contributes significantly to the generation of road accidents and pollutant emission. Commuters travelling to Milan by car tend to use their cars for short trips within the city; trips that could easily be done by bike.
  2. Although many Milano residents use public transport to get around, the main obstacle to the reduction of car use is the fact that Milan still has one of the highest European rates of car ownership, with 518 cars for every 1000 inhabitants. This means that thousands of cars compete with other mobility means and car owners use their vehicles even for short trips, creating congestion in sensitive areas.

Objectives and Approach

The first phase of the project (from December 2016 to April 2017) was designed to tackle the car ownership problem. Through an interactive WebApp we aimed to inform car owners about the cost of ownership including the amount they could earn from the sale of their car and how much they could save by using car sharing services instead. To do that we offered incentives such as an information service, bonuses and discounts. Phase one partners were the City of Milan; Quattroruote (the most famous automotive magazine in Italy); Automotive Club Milano; Share’ngo (a 100% electric car sharing operator); Clear Channel (a Milan based bike sharing operator); ADA-net (a car demolition association) and ICS (a car sharing association).

The second phase of the project (from May 2017 to October 2017) aimed to convince the citizens of Milan to reduce their car usage by choosing to make more journeys by bicycle, public transport and on foot. Through the native app AutoSvolta (a customised version of Mobidot’s app SMART) we gave users the opportunity to challenge themselves and earn points, rewards and discounts when they reached their goals. Partners for this phase were the City of Milan, Universities of Milan, bars and restaurants, bike shops and several Associations. To measure the results of the second phase we built a baseline starting from monthly questionnaires. Questionnaires were made directly from the app and the results have confirmed a positive trend in the app role. We also use data analysis to measure how long users remained interested in using this type of app.


The first phase engaged 1,861 participants and provided more than 1,915 incentives, in particular: 1,861 car evaluations; 3 support services for car demolition and 51 discounts on new bike sharing subscriptions.

361 people participated in the second phase, which provided 12 incentives in the form of 12 bicycles as prizes of the AutoSvolta Challenge.


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