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The Green Ray of Novara

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Network corridors
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Smart mobility and services (SMO)
Transport mode
Multimodal icon
Transport policies
Environmental/Emissions aspects
Transport sectors
Passenger transport


Background & Policy context

Novara is a medium-sized town of 100,000 inhabitants, located between Milan and Turin in northern Italy. The town was experiencing significant car use amongst its population, resulting in both air and noise pollution. The local government sought to develop ways of reducing the use of cars in the town. Citizens were to be directly targeted through an awareness raising campaign to promote a quality of life culture and discourage the use of cars. Specific measures would then look to increase the attractiveness of transport alternatives by creating a ‘slow mobility’ system. This would involve improved and increased provision of low-pollution transport, safe and protected routes for cyclists and pedestrians, computer timetables and the revision of urban planning tools. .


The project sought to develop cooperation between private and public organisations to create a complete and integrated local slow mobility system. This would be complemented by a strategy to discourage motor vehicle use all with the ultimate goal of reducing atmospheric and noise pollution in the area. It aimed to raise citizens’ awareness of the environmental damage of cars and instil an environmentally sensitive quality of life culture through territorial marketing. This would improve the use of public green spaces and public transport and reduce the town’s ecological footprint. It targeted the satisfaction of the real needs of local people in terms of public services, commerce and quality of life. A key objective of the project was to develop a strategic environmental assessment of urban investment tools and programmes. This would inform the future development of urban planning by allowing for much greater consideration of sustainable development concerns. It would be easily transferable for use in other places.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Union
Type of funding
Public (EU)


The project successfully implemented a slow mobility system in the ‘Green Ray’ area of Novara. It created protected pedestrian areas, cycle paths and bike parking lots and introduced fast, low-emission buses and intelligent traffic lights. These measures were complemented with the establishment of a differentiated waste collection system and an ecological area. The system succeeded in increasing the efficiency of the public transport system and reducing the pollutant emissions. It has also improved the long-term sustainability of the local transport system. Furthermore, the initiatives have increased safety and security of pedestrians and cyclists and generally improved the quality of life of people in the area. A significant technical result of the project has been the innovative evaluation methodology for urban tools created by the partner university. Based on an environmental strategic evaluation, this considers the sustainable development of a new initiative such as a plant or building construction rather than simply assessing its immediate environmental impact.

A highly scientific approach to evaluation, the analysis successfully considers the town as a system where many subjects - citizens, institutions, businesses, etc – interact. A series of indicators has been defined to measure the sustainability level of town-planning initiatives. Key indicators include: the cohesion of social networks; the local integration of the system; the valorisation of resources; and the protection of bio-diversity. The methodology therefore provides a multidimensional analysis on which to base town planning, considering urban development simultaneously from the environmental, economic, social and cultural points of view. It can be used in the context of all urban initiatives in cities of up to 500,000 inhabitants. The project also succeeded in achieving a coherent and integrated urban intervention with a high level of citizen involvement. Citizens’ groups took part in actions and accepted the project decisions and undertakings. This, together with a high level of coordination between the different actions, produced tangible results that benefited both the environment and responded to citizens’ needs. The project demonstrated the usefulness of the initiatives and the evaluation methodology and the municipality has already declared its intention to reproduce both in other areas of Novara. The results have a clear potential to be copied in other urban settings in diverse countries and several EU cities involved in the final conference in 2005 have already started planning along these lines. This project has been selected as one of the 22 Best LIFE Environment projects in 2006-2007


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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