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Connecting Italy: Requirements and infrastructure projects [free access]

February 1, 2018

Italy’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport (MIT) approved the plan "Connecting Italy: needs and infrastructural projects" in April 2017. The plan outlines its vision for the transportation and infrastructure system up to 2030. The scope of work includes the renewal of the public transport fleet, the upgrade of existing, and the development of new, metro and tram lines, and extension of the mass transportation network.


With the launch of this plan, MIT aims to meet the mobility demand of passengers and freight as well as connect the various areas of the country (in particular, cities, industrial centres and tourist places).


Objectives and strategies


MIT has defined four objectives and strategies to establish adequate transport and logistics connections and services to serve Europe and the Mediterranean region for full mobility of passengers and goods.


Figure 1 describes the planned strategies and objectives of the Connecting Italy programme.


Figure 1: Planned strategies and objectives under Connecting Italy




Source: MIT, Global Mass Transit Research (graphics)


The planned objectives focus on the following:



Table 1 indicates the strategies on which the objectives are based.


Table 1: Planned strategies under Connecting Italy



Useful, streamlined and shared infrastructures

Improving the quality of design and construction of infrastructure through:

  • Innovation
  • Review of processes, technology and finances in the planning, programming and design stages
  • Unified national planning
  • Programming of the interventions keeping in mind priorities and investment monitoring
  • Improved design

Modal integration and inter-modality

Shift towards sustainable transport modes and reduce the modal share of road through ad hoc measures to increase service frequency and quality.


The scope of strategy covers:

  • Integration of the national railway network with the European railway network.
  • Accessibility to main lines and interconnection between networks
  • Maintaining demand for sustainable transport modes
  • Promotion of inter-modality

Enhancement of existing assets

Ensuring safety, quality and efficiency of existing infrastructure through:

  • Maintenance interventions for existing infrastructure
  • Improvement of service levels and security infrastructure
  • Technical upgrade of infrastructure
  • Development of intelligent transport system (ITS)

Sustainable urban development

Development of rapid mass transit, information systems, cycle-pedestrian mobility and shared mobility through:

  • Accessibility to urban and metropolitan areas
  • Quality and efficiency of local public transport systems
  • Sustainability of urban transport
  • Deployment of technologies for smart cities

Source: MIT


Strategies by mode, projects and planned action


Figure 2 illustrates the various modes of transportation planned to be developed and integrated by 2030.           


Figure 2: Modes planned to be developed and integrated by 2030


Source: Global Mass Transit Research


It is planned to modify the railway network to support high-speed rail (HSR)/Alta Velocità di Rete (AVR) services by increasing the commercial speed to above 200 km/hr on routes not currently served by the HSRnetwork.


In addition, several priority actions have been identified for completion of key urban rail transport infrastructure including metro and tram systems. These projects are expected to reduce the infrastructure gap in comparison to other European countries as well as create new interchanges between metropolitan areas.


Table 2 indicates the planned strategies, action plan and key projects in the railway and rapid mass transit sectors.


Table 2: Strategies, action plan and key projects for railway and rapid mass transit



Rapid mass transit


  • Completion of the Alpines railway crossing and connection with port and high-speed rail (HSR) network
  • Extension of the HSR network
  • Development of regional and metropolitan systems for elimination of bottlenecks
  • Adjustment of existing links for intercity connections and territorial accessibility
  • Development of integrated rail systems
  • Fourteen metropolitan cities have been defined within the programme, which is divided into four sub-programmes (categories of planned action)

Planned action

  • Technological development to increase capacity and improve performance
  • Enhancement of regional networks
  • Enhancement of intercity railways for tourism
  • Renewal and improvement of the vehicle fleet
  • Strengthening and enhancement of metro, tram and suburban lines
  • Expansion of the existing network
  • Completion of metro, tram and suburban lines currently under construction

Key projects/ cities

  • Turin-Lyon HSR
  • Liguria-Alpi
  • Genova-Ventimiglia
  • Trasversale HSR (Verona-Bivio Vicenza, Bivio Vicenza-Padova, Brescia-Verona)
  • Verona-Brennero
  • Venezia-Trieste/Udine
  • North Tyrrhenian
  • Adriatico-Ionica
  • Central Apennine crossings
  • Naples-Bari
  • Salerno-Taranto
  • Naples-Palermo
  • Sardinia network

14 metropolitan cities include:

  • Cagliari
  • Catania
  • Florence
  • Genoa
  • Messina
  • Milan
  • Naples
  • Calabria Region
  • Rome
  • Turin
  • Padua
  • Rimini
  • Salerno
  • Vicenza

Source: MIT


Planned transport infrastructure system


At European level


Box 1 describes the European Commission’s (EC’s) transport infrastructure policy.


Box 1: EC’s transport policy


The EC’s transport infrastructure policy focuses on the development of transportation for Europe's single market. The system will remove bottlenecks, upgrade infrastructure and streamline cross-border operations throughout the European Union (EU). The policy also plans to achieve ambitious sustainability targets, such as a 60 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the transport sector by 2050.


In order to attain these goals, the EC encourages a modal shift towards more sustainable modes of transport such as sea, river and rail, technical innovation and traffic flow management.


To develop the single market, the EC aims to reduce the infrastructure gap between member states, improve interconnections between various modes and streamline traffic amongst urban, regional and medium/long-distance railway. To do so, it has announced various Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) projects, which comprise the core network (planned to be completed by 2030) and the comprehensive network (planned to be completed by 2050).

Source: MIT, EC


Of the total nine TEN-T core networks, the following four TEN-T corridors are scheduled to pass through Italy:



Figure 3 illustrates the routes of the four TEN-T corridors in Italy.


Figure 3: Planned TEN-T corridors in Italy


Source: Rete Ferroviaria Italiana SpA


As part of the TEN-T network, three-cross-border HSR projects are being developed in Italy. These are described in Table 3.


Table 3: Keycross-border HSR projects under TEN-T network in Italy

Cross border project

Country being connected to Italy

Related TEN-T corridor

Length (km)


Brenner Base Tunnel


Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor


The tunnel will be under the Brenner Pass, which, at an altitude of 1.371 metres, is the lowest pass in the Alps. The tunnel will be located at an altitude of 794 metres above sea level.


The line will span from Innsbruck (Austria) to Fortezza (Italy), replacing part of the current Brenner railway. Freight trains will be operated at a maximum speed of 160 km/hr and passengers trains at 250 km/hr.

Lyon-Turin HSR section


Mediterranean Corridor


The cross border section will span 65 km from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Susa/Bussoleno. It comprises a 57-km long tunnel under the Alps from Maurienne in France to the Susa valley in Italy.


The project cost of EUR26 billion will be funded by the European Union (40 per cent), Italy (35 per cent) and France (25 per cent).


Freight trains will be operated at a maximum speed of 100 km/hr and passengers trains at 220 km/hr.


Construction on the base tunnel is expected to begin in 2018 and be completed within 10 years. Revenue service is expected to commence in 2030.



Mediterranean Corridor

Not available

The Trieste-Divaca is the second cross-border section of the Mediterranean Corridor. It will connect Italy and Slovenia.


For the Italian section of the line, preliminary geognostic analysis and the geo-referenced relief has been completed. The preliminary design, including a feasibility check for the connection with the existing line and the technical equipment at the border, is in progress.


Source: Rete Ferroviaria Italiana SpA


At the national level


In 2001, Italy outlined a National Integrated System of Transport (SNIT). It aims to prioritise infrastructure development for the sustainable growth and development of the country, integration with Europe and improve the competitive positioning of Italy in the Mediterranean region. The SNIT also focuses on the development and integration of multi-modal networks.


The SNIT was updated in 2017 and announced as a part of the Connecting Italy programme to achieve parity with EC’s policy for the development of the European transport network. SNIT-2 increases the time horizon to 2030.


In the railways, SNIT-1 analysed the TEN-T network affecting Italy and identified 48 routes of a total length of 8,800 km, equal to 44 per cent of the entire railway network. All remaining lines are covered in SNIT-2. Greater emphasis will be placed on connections between metropolitan areas and the integration of railways at the local, regional and national levels.


The new guidelines for the mobility policy at the national level attach great importance to both freight and passenger rail services to achieve accessibility, provide support to the industrial supply chain, effect safety and environmental sustainability policies and improve the quality of life in and the competitiveness of urban areas.


The development of integrated urban rail systems including metro and trams is divided into four sub-programmes:



The administrative tools provided for the development of the mass transit network include:



The planning for urban areas will support transit-oriented development (TOD), multi-modality, connectivity between different modes and use of transit projects such as station upgrade for urban redevelopment. New infrastructure will be designed on the principle of lean production such that the use of resources is minimised, information communication technologies (ICT) are deployed and architecture combining aesthetic, technical and economic aspects is adopted.


(This is Part 1 of a two-part feature. Part 1 focuses on the objectives, strategies and planned transport infrastructure. Part 2 will be released in the Global Mass Transit Monthly issue of March 2018. It will cover general trends in demand for mobility, analysis of railways and urban transport expansion, revised SNIT and sources of financing.)