The infrastructure and transport sector is highly complex. While on one hand, technological and digital innovation is radically changing the ways in which services are provided and used, on the other, the need to reduce the negative effects (greenhouse gas emissions, noise and soil pollution), is revolutionising the design of transport vehicles (zero-emission and self-driving vehicles) and infrastructure (smart roads, smart systems to manage road and waterway transport).

Since 2008, FS Italiane has increasingly committed to transform shared, collective mobility in Italy, anticipating the challenges of the future and creating long-term value for the country. Even the 2019-2023 Industrial Plan integrates the principles of social, environmental and economic sustainability with the aim of offering people personalised, highquality services. Indeed, the Plan envisages €58 billion in investments divided as follows:

  • €42 billion for the national railway and road infrastructure;
  • €12 billion to purchase new trains and buses;
  • €4 billion for innovation and technology.

These investments will reduce the number of private cars on the road (for 400,000 fewer cars and 600,000 fewer tonnes of CO2 per year), with FS Italiane Group carrying 90 million more passengers to their destination each year.

The strategy marks a change of paradigm for FS Italiane, which has considered the needs of people – passengers and employees – and made them the foundation of an integrated mobility plan capable of contributing to the development, connectivity and sustainability of the transport system.

Traffic of main European railway companies

In an economic scenario characterised by slow growth, railway transport demand followed the same trend as that of general mobility demands, posting uneven results for passenger and freight mobility.

The European railway passenger segment increased significantly on the previous year. In accordance with the most recent data of the UIC (Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer), the growth in traffic volumes was roughly 5.5% compared to the same period of the previous year and, at the same time, services offered, in train-km, increased by roughly 1.4%. One of the most important railway companies in Europe, the French SNCF Mobilites posted the most significant increase (+12%), followed by the Spanish Renfe (+1.5%), while the German DB AG remained stable compared to the previous year.

On the contrary, the railway freight segment underperformed the previous year. In fact, provisional figures of the UIC showed that railway traffic volumes in Europe fell by 2.8% on the same period of the previous year, even more than industrial production. Except for SNCF Mobilites, whose volumes grew by 13.6%, and Renfe, with a slight increase of 0.7%, all European railway companies recorded a fall in volumes.

Transport market

During 2019, in the face of the weak economic context, the transport segment developed unevenly in the passenger and freight sectors. In particular, freight traffic was most impacted by the economic slowdown due to the international trade tensions and the slowdown of the Chinese economy.

In the freight sector, the air segment shows the most evident contraction with a 4.5% decrease in volumes compared with the previous year. Sea transport at the main Italian ports was also affected by the economic slowdown, and particularly by the significant decrease in trade. Road traffic was more dynamic, with an increase of 2.2% in heavy vehicles on motorways. Logistics was also up slightly in terms of turnover, confirming that it is a dynamic sector thanks to the new 4.0 technologies and to the automation of transport and warehouse activities.

On the other hand, passenger transport grew. Monitored by Assaeroporti, Italian terminals saw approximately 180 million air passengers pass by in the first 11 months of the year (+4.0% on 2018). The trend in the cruise sector was also positive and, according to the most recent estimates in the Italian Cruise report, it will end the year with a total of 4,834 ships and 12.1 million passengers (+3.2% and +8.8% on the previous year, respectively). The Italian port system confirmed its first place in the Mediterranean in terms of the number of passengers, with approximately 40% of total traffic. Light vehicle car traffic in the motorway network subject to tolls remains stable.

National rail and road infrastructure

The FS Italiane Group manages approximately 46,000 km of infrastructure, railway and road networks evenly distributed throughout Italy, connecting the country by improving quality and safety standards.

In 2019, roughly 9,000 trains operated by both the country’s incumbent operator and third party railway companies, travelled across the Italian railway network, totalling 370 million train-km in the year. Similarly, Anas' road network was used by approximately 7 million passenger vehicles (light) and 500,000 freight vehicles (heavy) per day, covering around 77 billion km per year.

At 31 December 2019, the domestic railway infrastructure operated by Rete Ferroviaria Italiana, amounts to 16,779 km. The network is comprised as follows:

  • fundamental lines with high traffic density, covering 6,468 km;
  • complementary lines, which make up a dense network of regional connections and interconnections with the main lines, covering a total distance of 9,361 km;
  • hub lines, which are located in major metropolitan areas for a total distance of 950 km.
Graphics: Lenghts railway and tracks

Of these lines, double tracks account for 7,722 km (46% of the total), while 12,016 km (71.6%) is electrified. The total track length is 24,500 km, including 1,467 km of HS/HC network lines.

All network lines are equipped with one or more train speed protection systems, which makes Rete Ferroviaria Italiana’s railway infrastructure one of the safest in Europe. In particular, the lines on the new HS/HC network feature the ERTMS/ETCS, the standard European signalling system.

In addition to the railway infrastructure, the FS Italiane Group manages approximately 29,000 km of main roads and 1,300 km of motorways through its subsidiary Anas. In 2019, the index of road traffic on the main Anas network remained substantially the same as in the previous year, as observed by the centralised monitoring system, PANAMA (Anas’ monitoring and analysis platform), while heavy vehicle traffic decreased slightly, by 1.7%.

Passenger and cargo traffic of the FS Italiane Group

In the transport sector, during the year, the FS Italiane group once again confirmed its growth in business segments with quantitative and qualitative services that increasingly meet passengers’ needs, strengthening its role as a mobility leader. With the cooperation and commitment of its subsidiaries, in Italy and abroad, demand for the FS Italiane group’s transport services expanded, despite the weak economic cycle and the decrease in trade.

Overall passenger and freight railway transport figures confirm the improvement in collective demand (+0.2% passenger-km on the previous year) and the increase in freight traffic volumes (+0.2% tonne-km on the previous year).

Specifically, long-haul transport posted a 1.3% contraction in passenger volumes, due to a decrease in demand for the market service (-2.9%). On the contrary, universal services, which are provided as defined by the customer (public entities), showed a 5.4% increase in volumes. The supply of market services, which include Trenitalia’s Frecce trains, accounts for more than 90% of the total and increased by approximately 2.4%.

Long-haul transport - Universal service (includes the Group subsidiaries’ traffic abroad)

Graphics: Long-haul transport - Universal service

Long-haul transport - Market service (includes the Group subsidiaries’ traffic abroad)

Graphics: Long-haul transport - Market service

Regional railway transport also showed an overall increase in traffic volumes, demonstrating the Group’s greater attention to the commuter service, as set out in the guidelines of the Business plan. The demand of roughly 25 billion passenger-km was met in Italy and abroad, up by 1.6% on the previous year, while production increased by 1.4%.

Short-haul transport (includes the Group subsidiaries’ traffic abroad)

Graphics: Short-haul transport

The FS Italian Group’s efforts in urban local public transport to create an integrated model more closely aligned to customers’ actual, differing needs, met the demand for approximately 2.9 billion passenger-km (+2%), offering around 207 million 2019 directors’ report 90 bus-km. The scope of road LPT is mainly centred in the subsidiary Busitalia-Sita Nord, which manages, directly and indirectly, urban and extra-urban transport in various Italian regions (Veneto, Campania, Tuscany and Umbria), representing the third operator in Italy, and LPT in the Netherlands through Qbuzz BV. During the year, Busitalia-Sita Nord left the long-haul market, focusing its resources on modal integration. Its general offer is also supplemented by the road services of Ferrovie del Sud Est in Puglia, the Netinera group companies in Germany and road connections on certain lines managed by TrainOSE in Greece.

Road transport (includes the Group subsidiaries’ traffic abroad)

Graphic: Road transport

Freight transport volumes of the FS Italiane Group companies, in Italy and abroad, were over 22 billion tonne-km (+0.2%) overall, while production in train-km decreased by 0.9%. International traffic recorded a significant increase (+3.1%), but domestic traffic suffered a slight decrease, confirming Italy’s difficult economic context, with industrial production losing an average of 1.3% over the previous year.

Freight transport (includes the Group subsidiaries’ traffic abroad)

Graphic: Freight transport

In addition to railway transport and LPT, to ensure the continuity of railway services throughout the entire country, the FS Italiane group also operates sea connections between the mainland and Sicily, which are currently operated using Rete Ferroviaria Italiana ships for long-haul trains and by Bluferries’ bidirectional ships for the transport of passengers, vehicles and goods. In May 2019, the subsidiary Blu Jet started its activities with new speed boats to offer more crossings of the Messina strait.

Transport by sea

Grahpic: Transport by sea