“a sustainable response to the mobility needs of the Bologna metropolitan area”




Metropolitana area of Bologna



Amount of works

Route S.Vitale: 35,7 Million €
Route S.Donato: 28,5 Million €


Città Metropolitana di Bologna

Services provided

Technical-Economic Feasibility Project for the BRT of the S.Donato and S.Vitale routes


In JV with engineer Andrea Spinosa and another professional,  NET Engineering has been assigned the technical and economic feasibility project for the suburban BRT lines on the “San Donato” (Bologna-Baricella) and “San Vitale” (Bologna-Medicina) routes, by the Metropolitan City of Bologna, which is beneficiary of ministerial funding for interventions in mass rapid transport with fixed installations.

The BRT system called “Metrobus” is part of the objectives and actions set by the Urban Plan for Sustainable Mobility of Bologna. In the current understanding, the sustainability of a project is assessed not only on the basis of purely environmental issues, but also in terms of economic and financial sustainability, the ability to share with stakeholders, integration with the existing network in terms of services and infrastructure (interchanges), but also business models (OSP and non-OSP services, MaaS), user information (MaaS), technology (Smartness), maintenance and management experience.

In this sense, a system design process was adopted, taking into account all the elements and mutual interrelationships that influenced the design choices, both strategic, tactical and operational. From a methodological point of view, this design process included:

  • study of the current territorial, transport and urban context, which is fundamental for the integration of the project in the context and the identification of any constraints;
  • identification of the needs for transport services, i.e. of the so-called “unmet demand”, assessed on the basis of a qualitative-quantitative analysis of the urban, socio-economic and transport context and of a quantitative analysis of the demand for transport in its spatial, temporal and modal characteristics;
  • analysis of the possible project alternatives, in terms of modality, technology, level of infrastructure, integration opportunities, simplification of maintenance and management;
  • evaluation of the project alternatives with respect to the so-called “option 0”, on the basis of criteria relating to the impacts on: travel demand, road network and its performance, network of existing services, environment, artistic heritage, costs, or more generally according to what has already been highlighted with respect to the meaning of “sustainable”;
  • definition of the operating model: the transport service that best meets the above requirements, primarily in terms of performance, i.e. capacity, availability, route and speed.

Design choices such as the configuration of the routes and the identification of the rolling stock are part of a recursive design process that has taken into consideration the position, the layout, the equipment of the stops, the coherent connection with the adduction network and the increase in efficiency of the Mobility Centres and/or other intermodal nodes.

This vast and complex “package” of project actions was clearly developed in response to the mobility demand needs estimated at different time horizons, according to a multimodal transport model that assessed the effectiveness of the project alternatives and supported, according to appropriate indicators, the definition of the final layout. Detailed simulation tools have then corroborated the technical choices, both geometric-functional and of traffic light regulation, with the aim of refining the analyses both in terms of travel time and “robustness” of the Metrobus operating model, and in terms of impact on vehicle mobility.

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Services at bus stops

Advantages of Metrobus