Piazza Venezia Urban Redesign and ATAC Central Bus Network Redesign, Rome Italy

arch 499A paired studio project | 2019

Piazza Venezia one of Rome’s historical centers, yet it functions mostly as a traffic circle and pedestrian menace. This proposal would consolidate vehicle travel to two east-west streets and one north-south street, creating plaza space for people to congregate rather than avoid.

Trees, landscaping, and paving patterns would be placed in the shadows of buildings which were demolished to build the Victor Emmanuel II Monument and associated piazza as shown on the Nolli Map of Rome from 1748. This would allow for smaller, more intimate piazza spaces and would take focus away from the massive monument in favor of the urban fabric around it.

The needs of pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, and visitors idling in the space would be prioritized ahead of the needs of mixed traffic, but cars would still be able to move through the site. The two-lane, two-way pair of east-west streets would be converted to one mixed-traffic street and one transit-only street, and the north-south thoroughfare would be converted to a single four-lane road with two transit lanes and two mixed traffic lanes.

Urban amenities and directions of movement: pedestrians, transit, and bikes

To accomplish this radical shift in traffic patterns, transit routes crossing the piazza would need to be altered. Existing bus and tram routes are a convoluted whirlpool of unnecessary loops and buses which bypass stops they pass. Additionally, terminating buses use large amounts of highly desirable land in the center of the piazza.

Number of buses per outbound routing at three times of the week and stop information

Current transit network serving Piazza Venezia

This plan proposes interlining routes through the center to create two main spines: one east-west and one north-south. This would reduce or eliminate bus layovers in the piazza and allow some passengers to access more of Rome with fewer transfers between buses. Tram routes would be expanded using the same spines, taking over the highest-ridership bus routes, to eliminate terminating trams in the piazza and to address capacity concerns which will not be solved quickly with metro construction.

Map of Rome Metro and future extensions, which will eventually reach Piazza Venezia

Proposed transit network with north-south and east-west spines and future tram extensions

The Rome bus network’s biggest issue is reliability. This plan should be implemented in concert with other improvements to increase reliability: better dispatching, more dedicated transit lanes, increased stop spacing to international standards, and transit signal priority.

This project was completed in association with an ongoing project to develop the existing piazza which is currently used for bus layovers and return Piazza d’Aracoeli to its pre-demolition shape.