Bologna About this sound listen (Italian pronunciation: [boˈloɲːa], from the Latin Bononia, Bulåggna; pronounced [buˈlʌɲːa] in Bolognese dialect) is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley (Pianura Padana in Italian) of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River.

Home to the oldest university in the Western world, University of Bologna, founded in 1088, Bologna is one of the most developed cities in Italy. Bologna often ranks as one of the top cities, in terms of quality of life in Italy: it was ranked 5th in 2006, and 12th in 2007, out of 103 Italian cities.[1] This is due to its strong industrial tradition, its wide range of highly-developed social services, and its physical location at the crossing-point of the most important highways and railways in the country. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, and it has a rich history, art, cuisine, music and culture, and was made 2000's European Capital of Culture.[2]

Main sights

Until the early nineteenth century, when a large-scale urban reconstruction project was undertaken, Bologna remained one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe to this day it remains unique in its historic value. Despite having suffered considerable bombing damage in 1944, Bologna's historic centre, one of Europe's largest, contains a wealth of important Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque artistic monuments.

Bologna developed along the Via Emilia as an Etruscan and later Roman colony the Via Emilia still runs straight through the city under the changing names of Strada Maggiore, Rizzoli, Ugo Bassi, and San Felice. Due to its Roman heritage, the central streets of Bologna, today largely pedestrianized, follow the grid pattern of the Roman settlement.

The original Roman ramparts were supplanted by a high medieval system of fortifications, remains of which are still visible, and finally by a third and final set of ramparts built in the thirteenth century, of which numerous sections survive. Over twenty medieval defensive towers, some of them leaning precariously, remain from the over two hundred that were constructed in the era preceding the security guaranteed by unified civic government. For a complete treatment, see Towers of Bologna.

The cityscape is further enriched by elegant and extensive arcades (or porticos), for which the city is famous. In total, there are some 38 kilometres of arcades in the city's historical center (over 45 km in the city proper), which make it possible to walk for long distances sheltered from rain, snow, or hot summer sun. The Portico of San Luca, one of the longest in the world (3.5 km, 666 arcades) connects the Porta Saragozza (one of the twelve gates of the ancient walls built in the Middle Ages, which circled a 7.5 km part of the city) with the San Luca Sanctuary, on Colle della Guardia, over the city (289 m.).


Bologna is a traffic hot-spot due to its unique location at the foot of the Apennine mountains. Bologna is the main node, connecting the north part of Italy with the south part of the peninsula:

The Bologna-Florence Direttissima is one of the major links in the Italian rail network, connecting the railways of the Po Valley (Milan, Verona/Brenner, Venice) with the railways of Tuscany  and central Italy under the Apennines (Florence, Rome). Direttissima—"direttissima" is Italian for "most direct".  It was Italy's greatest engineering achievement in the first half of the twentieth century. When it opened in 1934 it significantly shortened the old winding Porrettana line over the Apennines via Pistoia, and was made possible by the 18.507 km-long Apennines Base Tunnel. The new Bologna-Florence high-speed railway was opened on 5 December 2009 it includes 73.8 km of tunnels in its 78.5 km length! The high speed rail tunnels reduce the travel time from Bologna to Florence from 68 to 37 minutes. The Bologna-Florence high speed line is only a part of the main north-south high speed rail connection Milan-Bologna-Florence-Rome-Naples which takes currently 4 hours and 10 minutes in total. Bologna Central Station is considered the most important train hub in Italy thanks to the city's strategic location. Also, its goods-station (San Donato) with its 33 railway tracks, is one of the largest in Italy in size and traffic.

Almost in parallel to the railway lines is the highway network with the A1 (Milan-Bologna-Rome), A13 (to Venice) and A14 (toward the Adriatic coast). Most of the massive through-traffic is handled by busy 8-lane ring-road, called the "tangenziale".

Concerning the internal traffic, Bologna has a particular problem due to its large historic city center with a mainly narrow street network which is  very difficult to access by car. Since the entire historic center  became a traffic limited zone in 2003, car flows have reduced by 30%. However, there are regular congestions on the inner ring roads around the historic center, called the "viali".

Bologna has a reasonably well developed bus-based urban and extra-urban public transport service, run by ATC.. But what makes it so attractive to just walk around in the historic center of Bologna is the widespread network of arcades.

Bologna is home to Guglielmo Marconi International Airport, expanded in 2004 by extending the runway to accommodate larger aircraft. It is the tenth busiest Italian airport for passenger traffic (over than 4 million/year in 2007) and is an intercontinental gateway.



In 2009, there were 374,944 people residing in Bologna (while 1 million live in the greater Bologna area), located in the province of Bologna, Emilia Romagna, of whom 46.7% were male and 53.3% were female. Minors (children ages 18 and younger) totalled 12.86 percent of the population compared to pensioners who number 27.02 percent. This compares with the Italian average of 18.06 percent (minors) and 19.94 percent (pensioners). The average age of Bologna resident is 51 compared to the Italian average of 42. In the five years between 2002 and 2007, the population of Bologna grew by 0.0 percent, while Italy as a whole grew by 3.56 percent. The current birth rate of Bologna is 8.07 births per 1,000 inhabitants compared to the Italian average of 9.45 births.


Project partner information

DICAM is the short name for  "Department of Civil, Environmental and Materials Engineering" of the Bologna University. Its Transportation Engineering Group has over 30 years of tradition in transport technologies, demand estimation, traffic assignment and cost-benefit analysis of transportation systems. Its multidisciplinary staff includes researchers from civil-, mechanical- and electrical-engineering. In recent years, many of the institute’s activities have been focused on sustainable transport planning, such as studies of bicycle circulation plans, advanced public transportation systems (Personal Rapid Transit), performance indicators of public transport in general, analysis of noise pollution around airports etc. In relation to the specific contents of BICY, the Department boasts remarkable competences in the field of analysis, evaluation, validation of indicators and planning with sustainable transport systems.

BICY Implemented in the Central Europe Programme ( is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).