Bella Mossa: Another Reason to Love Bologna

Bella Mossa: Biking in Bologna

Like most urban centers around the world, Bologna has its share of traffic congestion. One major initiative to address this problem was the designation of a pedestrian zone in the city’s historic center that strictly limits automobile traffic. (There are special provisions for tourists who need to get to hotels located within the zone.)

But traffic in most areas of Bologna, which fall outside the zone, still remained challenging, often exacerbated by the frequent strikes (scioperi) and political demonstrations that are typical in Italy.

Bella Mossa: Piazza Maggiore
Piazza Maggiore, the large square in the pedestrian zone of the historic center

Goals of Bella Mossa

My Facebook friend, Laura Bizzari (a language teacher in Bologna), recently posted a BBC video on Facebook about an innovative project in Bologna, called Bella Mossa, that aims to make a difference in health and quality of life.

The project is funded through European Commission’s Horizon 2020, an EU program to promote sustainable transport. Launched in April 2017, the project uses incentives to reduce vehicular traffic and CO2 emissions by encouraging people to walk, cycle or use public transportation.

You can view the BBC video, The City That Gives You Free Beer for Cycling, here.

What is Bella Mossa? How does it work?

  • Through a smartphone app (downloadable in the App Store or on Google Play), individual participants are able to record their sustainable journeys as they go about their lives in Bologna.
  • By doing so, they are able to earn mobility points. In addition, schools and businesses can register as teams.
  • Then through a public/private partnership, participants can exchange their mobility points for discounts and goods offered by local businesses.

The results

According to the Bella Mossa website, some 22,000 people joined the program in the pilot phase between April and October, recording more than a million activities.

On YouTube: The Voices of Bella Mossa Participants

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  1. What a wonderful idea! Traffic can suck the life out of a good day, can’t it? I much prefer walking when at all possible.

  2. ciao
    as a Bolognese I tend to avoid using my car to go downtown because of the traffic and parking issues.
    I also don’t like public transport because of the INDICATIVE timetable, the crowd, the pickpocketing and so on…
    So I usually walk or ride my bike to move inside the city center. Bella Mossa has pushed me to do this also for tours out of the city walls: to go shopping, to visit friends, to dine out at night… and the competition aspects makes even more fun!
    I could say I did for my health… but a free haircut or cinema ticket has kept my motivation up and lasting daily for months!!!
    I look forward to start again next year!
    Oriella Bologna

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