Milan to use telematics to get people out of cars

Now here’s a novel use of telematics if ever I’ve heard one. While most of the time the black box system is used to track vehicles to help drivers make them more efficient, take more efficient trips and to improve vehicle security, in Milan, Italy, they’re using it to try and have people use their cars less.

One of the biggest issues facing the city in recent years, has been traffic. Congestion, as more and more people get on the roads, is becoming endemic and the local government is trying all sorts of things to try and fix that. One of them, is rewarding people with public-transport vouchers if they don’t use their cars. How does the government know that you’re not using your car? By having you install telematics hardware in it.

Teaming up with a few different companies that provide telematics services, insurance and the local transport network, the Italian government is now offering a system where if your car stays on the driveway for an extended period of time, you receive vouchers through the post to cover one trip on public transport.


Milan has a cheap, modern rail system that it wants to promote as part of the scheme


Your car will need to remain on your driveway between 7:30 in the morning and 7:30 at night on a week day to qualify and you’ll need to be a customer of insurer Unipol to have the chance to install the telematics hardware for free, but it may end up making a small difference. In Milan, any kind of difference is king however, as it has some of the worst congestion in all of Europe.

“Previously, the connected car has been all about navigation, infotainment and insurance,” said Jonathan Hewett, chief marketing officer at Octo Telematics. “What we’re seeing with this project is organisations from public and private spheres can get together and make life better for Europe’s citizens.”

Called the “Park Your Car and Go Public!” scheme, it’s hoped that it will not only reduce congestion on the road, but save Italians a lot of money. Due to its strong cultural love for cars, especially high-end super cars, Italians are very attached to their vehicles. Breaking that tie a little and getting more people on the surprisingly cheap public transport services will have knock on effects of making the country less reliant on oil and also reduce pollution in the city.

Other schemes being tried in other Italian cities at this time include congestion zone charging, temporary bans on cars in certain areas, as well as local advertising campaigns. It’s not clear at this time how much of an effect those systems have had, but it will be interesting to see if the telematics based system has a clearer impact over the next few years.

[Thanks FT]

Image sources: Sergey Gabdurakhmanov, Richard Evea

    Jon Martindale

    Jon Martindale is an English author and journalist, who's written for a number of high-profile technology news outlets, covering everything from the latest hardware and software releases, to hacking scandals and online activism.

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