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Milan Makes it Fashionable to Leave Car at Home

Milan Cathedral
Milan Cathedral

Ancient capitals in Europe struggle with dealing with vehicular traffic.  The narrow, bumpy streets that were laid out literally by oxcarts are having trouble accommodating modern chariots.

The cities of the Old World are adopting different approaches in dealing with the problem.     Hamburg is planning to ban cars by 2050, while London is charging car owners who clog up the streets.  Milan, on the other hand, is paying people to leave their cars at home.

The City of Milan teamed up with the public transport department, insurance provider Unipol and telemetrics supplier Octo Telematics for the “Park Your Car and Go Public!” program.  The cars of the customers of Unipol are equipped with telematics systems that tell the city government if the car was used or not.  If the car stays parked between 7:30AM to 7:30PM, the customer gets €1.5 (US$1.84), which is enough to cover a ticket on public transportation.  The reward is delivered via SMS or text message.  The telematics system also increases the appeal of connected car systems, according to Octo Telematics.

Jonathan Hewett of Octo Telematics told The Financial Times that “previously, the connected car has been all about navigation, infotainment and insurance… What we’re seeing with this project is organizations from public and private spheres can get together and make life better for Europe’s citizens.”

Now, if a campaign like this transforms my car into the Knight Rider Two Thousand (KITT) to go with my Michael Knight-like demeanor, then I’m all for it.  Personally, I think it’s sexier for a gas-guzzling Ferrari to stay parked in a garage than wasting gas in bumper to bumper traffic.

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