The R&M Associati studio was founded in 2008 when the two current senior partners, Franco Righetti and Michele Monte, each with more than ten years of his own experience in the fields of mobility, land-use, urban planning, and environmental impact studies, teamed up their professional experience.
Franco Righetti had already founded and run an engineering and consultancy studio under his own name in the field of transportation system analysis. That studio was founded in 1996.
Michele Monte has worked both freelance in the field of urban planning and as Project Manager and Department Head in some of Italy’s major engineering companies. The backgrounds and well-established experience the two partners have working in multi-disciplinary teams enables them to coordinate and manage complex, articulated design issues in the field of land-use transformation, with particular emphasis attached to aspects of mobility.
The studio’s strategic asset thus is characterized by a close conjugation of the relationship between MOBILITY, ENVIRONMENT, and LAND-USE, managed at the different levels of planning and design. The studio’s consultancy therefore provides indispensable technical support for initiatives involving urban renewal and land-use transformation, reorganization and planning of mobility and motor vehicle traffic, town and country planning at various levels of government, enhancement of major road and highway system feasibility, feasibility analysis for new project financing, relocation studies, and environmental impact assessment.
The operational structure is also underpinned by well-established relationships with research centres, universities and both national and international experts.
The studio operates out of two different offices, one in Bologna and the other in Milan, and boasts a staff of transportation engineers, architects and town planners, environmental engineers, agronomists, biologists, GIS operators, and designers.
- Major infrastructure and highway systems
Over the years, a significant portion of the Associates’ consultancy work has hinged around Italy’s major railway infrastructure and highway system, thereby constituting one of the associates’ strong points
Their consultancy work has involved both transportation assessment and underpinning studies on land-use and environment, and has covered successive phases: project financing, feasibility studies, preliminary drafts as stipulated by Italian legislation (Legge Obiettivo -- Legge 443/2001), building projects for comprehensive public procurement tenders, etc. The transportation assessment done since 1998 has involved major nationwide initiatives, including both environmental impact studies presented to ministries and support for project financing initiatives to undertake new stretches of highway, falling under the jurisdiction of the Legge Obiettivo.
Traffic assessments are generally done based on flow simulation models able to represent point of origin-point of destination pertaining to the transportation system serving the area under study.
The approach used in the studies has been solidly corroborated, based on the comparative analysis of various transportation supply and demand scenarios. The systems’ degree of functionality is examined by comparing a non-intervention scenario with the design-based scenario, including forecasts for the short, medium, and long term.
Special attention is attached to the conditions surrounding land-use in the territory under study. Analysis of land-use and transportation planning tools on various scales can be used to ascertain these conditions, and thereby lead to the definition and scheduling of various interventions in the planning process (Quadro Programmatico).
According to the scale of the project in question, the Studio’s studies and activities include pinpointing corridors and itineraries via comprehensive assessment and multi-criteria analysis, performing studies, managing environmental impact assessment to be submitted at different levels of government, and designing environmental mitigation and compensation projects.
- Land Use Planning
Given that land-use and mobility are closely related due to a high degree of interaction, a significant proportion of the studio’s consultancy is devoted to the analysis and evaluation of transportation characteristics used to underpin the drafting of major urban planning tools used at different levels of government (Piani Regionali, Piani Provinciali di Coordinamento Territoriale, Piani Regolatori, Piani Particolareggiati).
Based on the analysis of critical land-use factors, assessments in this area tend to interrelate forecasts for urban expansion, renewal, or relocation with the appropriateness of the infrastructure, and provide an analysis of the scope of the transport systems required to attain the objectives set out in the Plan.
The results obtained in terms of the appropriateness of the Plan’s orientation and the degree to which the overall transportation system can be used in terms of its accessibility and environmental compatibility stem from the simulated scenarios’ ability to analyse the effects that the land-use and population modifications examined would have on transportation systems.
- Project financing
In recent years, transportation assessments to support project financing initiatives for new road and toll highway arteries have steadily gained ground among the Associates’ requests for consultancy.
Given its professional profile, the studio is able to furnish the party proposing the project with the support it needs, integrating the drafting of the studies required for the administrative processing of the project with the project’s technical or land-use feasibility in order to arrive at the project’s financial feasibility for the subsequent drafting of the Financial Plan.
Specifically, the transportation assessments are based on the results of traffic simulations done using transport analysis software able to generate reliable traffic forecasts for project infrastructure ranging from the year of completion through to the end of the project’s lifespan.
Ascertaining the elasticity of demand based on tolls for a given route bears special interest in transportation assessment for project financing initiatives. This elasticity is provided on a routine basis thanks to the traffic simulation’s ability to consider the extra cost in tolls for users and to analysis of users’ stated perceived value of time (Stated Preferences Research).
- Urban transformation and land-use enhacement initiatives
The studio optimizes the strategic integration of its skills in the area of reciprocal, dynamic processes involving the relationship between the development of settlement systems and mobility.
Urban planning interventions are an activity for which State support ranges from analysis of feasibility conditions (location studies, urban planning and environmental due diligence, surveys on transportation) to project promotion and implementation (P.I.I., piani particolareggiati), to developing procedures for authorizing urban planning (building permits, studies and analysis on the environmental and transportation required for processing the project’s evaluation and approval).
Thanks to a great deal of specialization in transportation assessment and land-use and urban planning, the studio is able to work on a comprehensive basis both in preliminary project feasibility evaluation processes and throughout the subsequent phases of project design, planning and approval.
By reconstructing vehicle flows stemming from the specific area of the project in question, which in most cases constitutes the first phase of evaluation done for new residential or business districts, shopping centres or outlets, theme parks or leisure complexes, multiplex cinemas, intra-modal and logistics centres, the consultancy provided is able to verify the proper functionality of the road system linking into the new area basing itself on micro-simulations of traffic at intersections and roundabouts, and to the sizing of parking areas to serve the project.
One of the studio’s ongoing capabilities is preparation these evaluations by developing traffic flow simulation models, used to compare a non-intervention scenario with the project scenario, for the road system affecting the project area in question.
- Project management for the project’s complex structures
- Drafting of location studies for specialized areas
- Due diligence and technical and urban planning feasibility studies
- Drafting of Comprehensive Intervention Programmes (Programmi Integrati di Intervento) and Detailed Plans (Piani Particolareggiati)
- Environmental screening studies and procedures and environmental impact assessment.
- Designs for urban development
- Studies, research and environmental planning
The Studio has broad experience in drafting Environmental Impact Studies for major infrastructure projects (roads and railways) or for major new urban areas, including environmental impact assessment procedures on both a national level (Ministero dell’Ambiente) and a regional level (Regione Lombardia, Regione del Veneto, Regione Emilia Romagna).
In addition to the routine activities tied both to determining and assessing individual environmental factors and to the project’s interaction with the Quadro di Programmazione and overall land-use management and planning for land-use, the Studio has its own internal capacity to work on major project components, with special regard attached to:
- Transportation and other functionalities (traffic studies, verification of the various scenarios involved in the plan, simulations of the dynamics tied to provisional traffic flows during construction work, furnishing of input data for subsequent evaluations of atmospheric and acoustic impact)
- Cost-benefit analysis and assessment, with the inclusion including of an economic appraisal of environmental parameters as well as traditional economical and social indicators in the final assessment.
- Developing and designing environmental mitigation and compensation works (i.e. landscaping, acoustics, vibrations, surface water)
Additionally, the skills developed over the years enable the studio to support both public and private purchasing in the design and planning of regeneration and clean-up of natural areas, urban and regional parks, location studies for high environmental impact facilities, etc.
- Plans for traffic, urban mobility, sustainable mobility and traffic calming
A significant part of the studio’s consultancy involves urban-related projects to for the support of town and city council planning and management of mobility.
In drafting both Traffic Plans (Piani del Traffico) and Detailed Plans (Piani Particolareggiati), increasing importance is attached to road safety through analysis and redesign of urban areas according to traffic calming criteria.
The analysis ranges from road traffic hubs to the evaluation and reorganization of both physical space and parking management policies, the pinpointing of better strategies to protect the accessibility of historical areas, and the incentive for sustainable mobility.
Parallel to the reorganization and improvement of road traffic, studies on urban areas are often geared towards bolstering public transportation through improvement of both customer service (i.e. improved routes, transfers, waiting times, and operating speed) and the image of public transport by developing marketing plans, initiatives for publicizing new services, or customer satisfaction surveys.
Generally speaking, the results of the traffic simulations done to ascertain the correct functioning of project initiatives identified are used to underpin the transportation assessment studies drafted.
- Mobility surveys
In general, transportation assessments start by reproducing the status quo and comparing it with mobility required in the area of the intervention in question.
One of the consultancy’s most important aspects is therefore the design and coordination of mobility studies aimed at reproducing the current situation and gathering information needed to complete simulation models required for preparing the analysis scenarios.
The surveys prepared involve:
- Reconstruction of point of origin – point of destination in the area under study;
- Compilation of vehicles and passenger flows on major road arteries and on pubic transportation;
- Ascertaining user perception when choosing a mode of transportation, including the value of users’ time and their inclination to pay highway tolls or to park in urban areas;
- Modifications of current choices in modes of transportation.
- Public transportation networks and systems
One of the studio’s major areas of expertise has consistently been consultancy on public transportation networks and systems.
The consultancy provided ranges from the reorganization of both urban and extra-urban pubic transportation systems to determining potential demand on new lines or rapid mass transit systems, to the preparing of marketing plans to re-launch pubic transportation.
This type of analysis is done by preparing simulation models for both public and private mobility, implemented on different scales of analysis (i.e. urban and regional) depending on the initiative in question. These models are able to determine user transportation choices.
When new mass transit lines are in question, the results obtained on the number of passengers transported in the system are generally examined together with assessments of possibilities for decongestion of road systems triggered by the new public systems’ absorption of a portion of private transportation.
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Since 1992, Franco Righetti has worked as a freelance consultant in the analysis and planning of transportation networks and systems for complex projects ranging from major highway infrastructure projects ...
also involving project financing, to traffic reorganization and mobility on an urban scale, to urban renewal and regeneration, public transportation systems, and software to support decision making in transportation planning ...
An expert in design and planning of road and railway infrastructure, Michele Monte has dealt particularly with issues tied to land-use and the environment.
Over his career, both as a freelance and in long-term consultancy arrangements, he played roles not only as an urban planning specialist overseeing environmental and landscape issues, but also as Coordinator and Project Manager.
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