The background of Smart Roads in Italy

Communication specialist

The design of smart roads is now “on track” in Italy. Proof of it is the fact that, in June 2018, the Italian Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport (MIT) set up the Technical Observatory to support Smart Roads, connected vehicles and automatic driving. It is an ad hoc Observatory whose main scope of work is the coordination on a national level of local initiatives by universities and companies to start new experiments.


In fact, even in the mobility & transportation sector, this win-win paradigm, which sees the world of research and the world of industry working in close collaboration for a common mission, has been used for a long time. In the context of smart roads, the shared mission is the realization of projects in which innovation is an important tool to ensure greater safety of the citizens. In particular, the smart road project has two ambitious goals: halving the number of road victims in Italy by 2020 and making sure there are none of them anymore by 2050.

This initiative is part of a broader scenario characterized by a strong evolutionary drive at the European level on the topic of networking, whose background is the innovative strategic vision of the “5G motorways” EU project for connected and automated mobility.

In short, self-driving cars, to be able to actually move on the road, need, along with the sensors on board the vehicle, an ultra-broadband, Wi-Fi enabled and 5G infrastructure with widespread coverage throughout the country.

As such, what’s important is to guarantee a technological adaptation in the direction of a self-awareness, that is to say, the ability of the road to know and recognize itself, meaning both its static and strongly dynamic characteristics (such as the loads on it, the operating or climatic conditions).

Therefore, in the last year Italy has doubled its investments towards implementing the connected roads.

Two leading players such as ANAS and Open Fiber have signed an agreement for the construction of fiber-optic network infrastructures, with the goal of reducing the digital divide.

As a matter of fact, an essential requirement is to spread access to high speed internet based services throughout Italy.

Alongside connectivity, the creation of structures and platforms that enable the implementation of functions and the provision of services is at the basis of the process, and they are all characterized by a particular nature:

  • as enablers for different categories of functions and services
  • open for the development, by third parties as well, of market-oriented applications,
  • future-proof, that allow adjusting, over time, the facilities that enable the new technological offers.

In other words, it is essential to create roads equipped with observation, monitoring and traffic prediction platforms allowing a synergy between the new generation vehicles and the digital infrastructures.

Italtel presents itself on the smart road scene as a dynamic actor, bringing on one hand its decades of experience in network design, a consolidated know-how in the management of complex contexts, and technical skills of the highest level, and on the other, a rich partner ecosystem, both in the academic environment and in research institutions, and in both the industrial and the tlc context.

In particular, Italtel has already developed several use cases on the subject of smart mobility, implemented critical infrastructure monitoring projects, and studied development scenarios for future developments.