What’s the Italian traffic chief’s secret Weapon?
by FFE Tech News Staff
The traffic in Rome has been called many things: reckless, chaotic, feral, crazy, a nightmare. There is even an online game that challenges players to park their car in the maze that is Rome’s wild thoroughfares. This has led citizens like Massimiliano Tonelli of Roma Fa Schifo (Rome Sucks) to lament how the situation is ‘totally out of control.’
Where are the traffic lights and signs? Most motorists treat them as a suggestion than a rule.
Enter Rome’s new traffic chief Raffaele Clemente whose simple solution has led to greater monitoring of traffic and parking in the city. Two months ago, the traffic police started @PLRomaCapitale to get Italians to tweet instances of sosta selvaggia (feral parking). Giving the location of the offending vehicle will help police take quick action.
Lawyer Giuseppe Mazziotti was one of those who sent a tweet about cars which were double parking. @PLRomaCapitale tweeted him back saying 22 motorists had been fined. Mazziotti said the service ‘sends a strong signal that the population supports enforcement action — even though this is unpopular with the offenders themselves.’
Web developer Stefano Vergani, on the other hand, has yet to see action after sending a tweet about parking problems near his office. However, he is willing to give the service another chance as ‘Perhaps they don’t have enough officers to cover every case. I’ll try once more but if that doesn’t work, I’ll stop.’
Rome has 2.6 million residents where 7 out of 10 own cars. So far, one anonymous Twitter account has criticised the service, calling it covert spying and simply ‘un-Roman.’ But it seems more Italians are bothered by traffic than any conspiracy theory behind the new service.
In the Philippines, there are plenty of traffic aggregator websites like Metro Manila Development Authority’s Metro Manila Traffic Navigator and Traffic Dito. Like @PLRomaCapitale, these applications collect updates from concerned motorists, commuters and traffic authorities in Metro Manila, including news of accidents. However, it does not yet cover concerns like parking and other traffic issues.