F Mazzone


 The Automobile Club d’Italia (ACI) has recently joined the ERTICO Partnership. Its Mobility and Information Director, Francesco Mazzone, explains through this interview their motivation to take part in this network of stakeholders, and their main activities in the field of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS):


ACI has recently joined the ERTICO Partnership. What explains this decision?

Improving mobility is one of the main pillars in the ACI by-laws. As such, the main Italian motorists’ organisation has been developing projects and services aimed at making mobility more efficient, safe and “green”. In fact, ACI was the first public bureau to implement an urban traffic plan in 1957; and the first call centre informing drivers about traffic conditions in the early ’80s. The first-ever multimodal information service at regional level started in 2004 in Regione Campania managed by ACI, followed by the introduction of “Luceverde”, the local mobility information brand. ACI has also been involved in the foundation of TTS Italia, the launch of “eSafety Challenge” and the promotion of “eSafety” technologies (ESC, AEB, etc.).

With such commitment in the field of ITS, meeting ERTICO was a kind of natural choice, enabled by the recent participation in the HeERO Project, where ACI was actively involved, providing the national pilot site.


What are the ITS trends in Italy and in Europe that interest ACI the most?

ACI is interested in all ITS applications and trends that enable better assistance services to its members on-the-go. In the digital era, our core activities are fully affected by the location-based technologies and by the opportunities provided by the “internet of things”. Multimodal traffic information services, with a special focus on every-day trips, emergency calls, pay-as-you-drive-services, and eSafety applications are of the utmost importance in the current ACI positioning.

From a regulatory point of view, access to data is a very sensitive topic: car-related data, traffic-related data from both official sources and crowd sources, mobility information data from operators, can really generate valuable services to citizens and tourists. Thus, it’s crucial to make sure that the adoption and deployment of the EU Directive on ITS at national level will be fully in line with developing the market for ITS for a smarter mobility.


What are ACI’s current activities in the field of ITS?

ACI is currently committed to providing advanced traffic and mobility information services at the local and regional level. Information from the main Italian cities is collected and delivered to citizens, on behalf of Municipalities (Rome, Milan) and Regions (Lazio, Campania, Valle d’Aosta). Advanced assistance services are also under deployment through the adoption of location-based technologies (b-Calls, breakdown calls). Creating awareness of on-board life-saving technologies is also a major part of ACI’s engagement (Choose eSafety Campaign), thanks to the opportunity provided ACI’s safe driving centre (ACI Vallelunga). Most of the ACI-owned companies are committed to drive the Club’s strategy in the field of Intelligent Mobility: ACI Informatica, the IT company; ACI Global, the road assistance company; ACI Infomobility, in charge of Mobility Information services, ACI Consult, the traffic engineering company; SARA Assicurazioni, the Insurance company (the first in Italy to issue a pay-as-you-drive coverage).


What are the main challenges ACI has identified in the automobile world?

The opportunities provided by the mobile devices industry and technologies require urgent change in the Automotive business model. The growing attitude to the sharing economy is also something to carefully focus on. Original Equipment Manufacturers and Assistance Companies need to re-consider the way they play in the market, making the most of benefits resulting from technology deployment. The Business-to-Consumers market is undergoing a real revolution and so is the approach to individual mobility.


How could ITS contribute to addressing these challenges?

Car ownership and car-related information are rapidly evolving to car usage and mobility information. Cars are asked to “talk” to their users and their smartphones. People on-the-go need travel assistance in their complex travel routes, in their everyday lives.

The concept of assistance is about anticipating its relevance to the mobility stage, rather than to the rescue phase and ACI wants to drive the future of mobility services.