Theory is, sometimes, just a moot point when it is not linked to something real, this is why we decided to use Milan C Area as an example to explain the first step of Lean Decision Quality: Lean DQ Alignment. We are starting by giving a rough description of what C Area is, so that you could easily follow us even without knowing this plan.
Where the “C Area” idea comes out of
The base of the C Area project is a better life for those living, working and studying in Milan and of those who simply are “tourists”.
An ambitious goal to be achieved pursuing five goals:
- Reduce vehicle traffic inside the “Cerchia dei Bastioni” CTZ
- Increase and develop a more efficient and functional public transportation service
- Safeguarding right to mobility for the individual while respecting the common interest
- Funding sustainable mobility for pedestrians, bicycles and slow speed traffic
- Increase security and “livable” level of the city, by reducing car accident rate, illegal parking episodes, noise and air pollution.
With C Area project, Milan local administration is trying to address the sense of unease and the willingness to change emerged after the 12-13th June 2011 referendum. The first question of that referendum, voted yes by 79,1% or voters, was for:
“a plan to increase public transportation service quality and green means of transportation, by extending to all the vehicles (which are not zero-emission vehicles) and by progressively including the trolley-line ring in the toll system to cut traffic and pollution rates”.
At a practical level, the C Area project turned into the following, with regards to the vehicle traffic:
- Toll-free access for electric and hybrid vehicles
- Toll for vehicles included in the following classes: gas Euro 1,2,3,4,5,6 vehicles; Euro 3 Diesel vehicles (with an exception); Euro 4 Diesel vehicles (with a FAP, included after market types),5,6, LNG and methane-fueled vehicles.
- Access denied to Euro 0 gas vehicles; no FAP-equipped Euro 0,1,2,3, 4 Diesel vehicles
The City shared its data about traffic-induced polluting emissions and C Area access rates at the following link.
The chart shows a clear cut in the access rates from 2011 to 2012 (-33%), an increase up until 2015 and again a 3% cut in 2016, compared to 2015, with rates that are again around those of 2013-2014.
The chart highlights how 75% of vehicles accessing the CTZ is gas- or Diesel- fueled and about 25% is “eco”, that is methane/LPG/hybrid/electric vehicles. The highest dropping rate was in 2012 but the most-polluting vehicles rate drop slowed down in the following years.
PM10 marker indicates daily vehicle air pollution in C Area. PM10 is the total amount of fine dust emissions released in the atmosphere by vehicles and that deriving from tire- and brake- wear and the dust produced by road surface erosion, ammonia (NH3), total nitrogen oxide (NOx), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon dioxide (CO2), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC), calculated as stated in COPERT4 (http://www.emisia.com/copert/Copert4.html).
The chart shows a slow reduction in PM10 emissions (2013-2015) produced mainly by an increase use of less-polluting private and public means of transportation. PM10 is mos produced by gas and Diesel vehicles (even pages are missing from the available report, we might have incomplete data).
Now that we presented the project, let’s take a step back and reflect on the first step of the Lean Decision Quality process, the Lean DQ Alignment, to link it to our case study by asking some key questions.
We first need to evaluate City Council goals’ coherence with regard to:
- Vision, mission and company culture
- The real problem they solve
- Clear Values (from a pollution, traffic, etc… point of view) and eventual trade-offs
A City Council must take care of the res publica, its clients are its citizens and they want to know how the money coming from the toll to access C Area has been and will be used and what its goals for the following years are.
Let’s take another look at the C Area goals and let’s ask some clear and direct questions:
- Reduce vehicle traffic inside the “Cerchia dei Bastioni” CTZ: how?
- Increase and develop a more efficient and functional public transportation service: how?
- Safeguarding right to mobility for the individual while respecting the common interest: how?
- Funding sustainable mobility for pedestrians, bicycles and slow speed traffic: how many and what kind?
- Increase security and “livable” level of the city by reducing car accident rate: how and how much?
- Illegal parking episodes: how and how much?
- Noise and air pollution: how?
Just by asking these simple questions it is clear that Milan City Council goals are vague.
What are its strategic and tangible goals in a medium-long range? For example:
- On how to halve air pollution in 5-10 years and what strategy to use to realize this goal
- On how to reduce private gas and Diesel vehicle traffic of 50% in 5 years and what strategy to use (e.g. creating a €25 ticket but offering, as a counter value, excellent services?).
These are core questions Milan City Council would have needed to ask.
In addition to defining its goals, another fundamental critical point is transparency and style of communication to the citizens (the clients). We know that Milan City Council makes it possible for its citizens to access the data about pollution rates variations… but is this level of transparency really satisfying and complete from a citizen’s point of view?
On this subject, crowdfunding campaigns are a good example: the project creators willing to have their project funded ask donors to back them up and explain how their money will be used and the donors receive an item, a service or something else as a reward. There is a goal, there is a defined project, and there is a “return on investments” and clear advantages for every part involved.
Choosing transparency and client (citizen) involvement build engagement and the client will feel they are an active part in the project: I am helping in having a cleaner, more efficient, livable and people-oriented city.
Otherwise, citizens simply feel cheated on and non-involved if a non-transparent and non-involving strategy is adopted. They will end up asking these kinds of questions:
- I bought a hybrid or eco (non-electric) vehicle, why do I have to pay to access C Area since I already help in reducing pollution with my vehicle (ten times more than with a gas- or Diesel-fueled vehicle)?
- If I have to pay despite having an eco-vehicle, how and where will my money be invested to have better services and a better life?
- What is and what will be the C Area? Will it be a place exclusively for electric private vehicles?
By answering these questions, Milan City Council will align its Vision and its Mission to its business goal and it will be credible and coherent in its citizens’ eyes.
In order to realize the C Area goal, clear Principles and precise Goals are necessary as well as a strategy which is coherent with vision, mission and company culture.
What does Milan – not only in its C Area – want to be and to become? It all starts from here…