We have given our more than 2000 stations a new, central role in our strategy, so that they can fully express their potential as transport hubs and centres of attraction that are effectively integrated both with urban mobility networks and with their surroundings. The challenge is to create a ripple effect that, starting from the stations, encourages investment, provides new services to travellers and citizens in general, and improves the quality of mobility and life in the district and surrounding areas.
Our new vision for stations puts people's needs at the centre, reorganising outdoor spaces by increasing pedestrian areas, removing fixed obstacles, making routes more fluid, rationalising the allocation of transport services to prioritise door-to-door transport and minimising the use of private cars.
The aim is to make stations - both inside and outside - more friendly, safe and pleasant by increasing the level of connectivity with local public transport, sharing mobility and cycling and walking, improving accessibility through inclusive and barrier-free design, enhancing infomobility and wayfinding.
This increases the station's vocation as a hybrid organism. On the one hand, it is the beating heart of the smart city, an integral part of the urban fabric, the driving force behind the redevelopment of disused, marginal or unattractive areas, and a magnet for innovation. A unique place that brings together various dimensions designed for their wide range of users. On the other, it is the protagonist of an integrated mobility project, the hub of a MaaS (Mobility as a Service) system, with spaces and services capable of guaranteeing a quicker, easier, more intuitive and fluid change from one means of transport to another. This is accompanied by RFI's efforts to facilitate the integration of the train timetable with that of other transport systems, with the aim of reducing total journey times and simplifying the change from one vehicle to another.
The relationship between station and external environment requires shared actions to be developed, i.e. close cooperation between RFI, institutions and local authorities, so that the other players involved in the modal integration value chain also promote convergent policies and implement coherent actions, necessary to achieve an urban mobility ecosystem that enhances station connections.
There is constant interaction with ministries, regions, metropolitan cities and municipalities so that national and local planning - in particular PUMS, Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans - can facilitate the transformation of stations into privileged places for new mobility and the growth of active, collective and shared mobility systems throughout the territory.
To renovate and upgrade the internal areas of stations and the services they offer - particularly in the 620 busiest stations on the network, which alone carry 90% of travellers - RFI, with its subsidiary GS Rail, is pursuing the Easy Station project to improve the physical space of stations and public information, and the Smart Station project to equip stations with digital technologies. Along the lines of Easy, we will be improving accessibility and usability (by installing lifts/ramps, signage, tactile routes, upgrading lighting, etc.); functionality, decorum and safety (by upgrading internal spaces, enabling the provision of additional services, and delimiting track access fronts); public information (with the wide-scale implementation of the new IeC system and new public information devices complying with the most advanced quality standards); from a smart perspective, the availability of the "Wi-life station" service, the virtual station portal for travel information and other utilities, is being extended, and the Smart Energy Management platform for remote monitoring and management of station utilities (electricity, natural gas, water) is being implemented.
All this without forgetting the smaller, less frequented stations, which are spread throughout the country and are often run using "remote" technologies, for which RFI is pursuing initiatives that are strongly geared towards the creation of shared value, for example, by increasing the number of spaces granted free of charge to local authorities and non-profit organisations for activities of social value, with positive effects on both the liveability of the stations and the area in which they are located.