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Rome Police Use Twitter To Battle Illegal Parking 157

Posted by samzenpus
from the shame-your-neighbor dept.
cartechboy writes "Illegal parking has always been a major problem in Rome. More than half of Rome's 2.7 million residents use private vehicles, and the ancient city has a staggering ratio of 70 cars per 100 residents. So many residents park, uh, creatively. But now authorities think they've found a way to fight bad parking using social media. Basically, they've asked residents to post photos of bad parking jobs to Twitter. In December, the Italian cops began encouraging smart phone users to snap pics of illegally parked cars and tweet those photos to the department's Twitter account. The new system, which was created by Raffaele Clemente, Rome's chief of traffic police, seems to be working. In the first 30 days, police received more than 1,000 complaints tweeted to their account; (one example is here). Officials were able to respond to around 740 and hand out citations."
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Rome Police Use Twitter To Battle Illegal Parking

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Hey, 'your car is being towed' is trending!

    #StupidShitPeopleThinkIsSmart #FAIL

    • #StupidShitPeopleThinkIsSmart #FAIL

      Indeed. Classic case of treating the symptom rather than the cause.

      • by N1AK (864906)

        Indeed. Classic case of treating the symptom rather than the cause.

        That rather depends on where you define symptom and cause, sometimes the only practical action that can be taken is to address something part way down the chain. Is the 'cause' that everyone isn't able to walk to everything they need? Or would you say the cause was just that there isn't enough parking?

        In this case, even if we take "there isn't enough parking" as the cause this may well still address it. Perhaps the cost of converting la

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        they're italian.

        a good "cause" for them to park wherever the fuck they happen to want is that it's tuesday.

    • now it will be a competition. get a picture of your car posted, parked in the most outrageous position possible.

  • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @10:42AM (#46134157)

    What irks me is the lack of town planning for cars in European cities then the incompetent authorities act like it is all the citizens fault. I get that they have ancient medieval town centers that are almost impossible to modify - but that is no excuse for not providing adequate amounts of free to almost free just out-of-town parking and efficient cheap public transport into the centers (efficient does not mean it has to be profitable in the direct sense).

    Singapore for example with so little space has pioneered high rise cheap parking for all out in the suburbs and electronic pay to enter town centers that really increased the quality of life in the inner city, or so I hear.

    Don't get me started on the last century traffic lights on timers and no trigger sensors of any kind in sight even at the pedestrian crossings. Christmas lights I like to call them. The amount of petrol they must waste stopping scores of cars for no reason must be mind-boggling.

    /rant off.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Quality of life and a "socialist" public transport system are not in vogue in "Austerity for no good reason" [ragingbullshit.com] Europe.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That's because most town planning like this is run by civil engineers. And not just any civil engineer... civil engineers that couldn't find jobs in the private sector and work for the government. The gutter trash of the engineering world.

      • by mythosaz (572040)

        It does seem awfully short-sighted of the Rome city planners to have not provided more parking spaces downtown when they laid it out in the 8th century.

    • by Sique (173459) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @11:27AM (#46134357) Homepage

      What irks me is the lack of town planning for cars in European cities then the incompetent authorities act like it is all the citizens fault.

      First, those towns were planned when there were no cars at all. Second, some towns tried to restructure itself into a more car friendly town, and the result was a less human friendly town. For some reasons, the most searched for towns are those with a horrible parking situation. So blame who you want, towns with a not adequate parking situation fare better in general, because they seem to get the general idea how to operate a town, and one aspect seems to not concentrate on cars too much.

      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by FriendlyLurker (50431)
        You did not read past the first sentence of my post, obviously. Here is the second sentence for your convenience: "I get that they have ancient medieval town centers that are almost impossible to modify - but that is no excuse for not providing adequate amounts of free to almost free just out-of-town parking and efficient cheap public transport into the centers.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          But the issue with Rome is the people that live there and the cars they drive - I highly doubt they would be interested in out of town park and rides.

          • by HiThere (15173)

            If there were good public transit, and secure long-term storage places (wherre, e.g., the battery could be kept charged) then they might be interested. Particularly if sensible parking regulations were enforced. This, however, looks like putting enforcement before the alternative. OTOH, it's a Slashdot summary, so who knows what's really going on.

          • I highly doubt they would be interested in out of town park and rides.

            When there is no longer the option of "creative parking" - then all that is left would be interest in parking somewhere convenient. Living in European cities I have had to park suburbs away from the apartment, and even then it was a hit and miss affair due to lack of town planning.

        • by cheesybagel (670288) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @01:13PM (#46134869)

          You keep thinking like this is the US where literally no one lives in the center which is composed of office spaces. This is not the case in European cities. Many people live in the center and quite often their building has no parking space at all. Because it was built in the XIXth century or whatever when people did not need such things. And the streets are often narrow because horses needed less space to move around.

          • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @02:11PM (#46135145)
            No I have lived in the center of my fare share of European cities. All your points are correct and also the reason why you can't park there. My point is: Not only is there nowhere to park in the center, there is nowhere to park out of the center, either. i.e. lack of town planning.
            • by Trepidity (597)

              One solution, which Copenhagen has adopted, is to reduce how necessary it is to park anywhere at all. If you live in the center, of course you have no need for a car: you can bike, bus, walk, or metro anywhere you need to go. If you live out of the center, you also have no need for a car, because you can bike, bus, or walk to the nearest S-train stop, which by design [wikipedia.org] will not be far away, and take that right into the city.

              As a result of that, plus high taxes on car ownership to further disincentivize it, Co

              • by Zaelath (2588189)

                Wish I had a handy copy of a picture I took of a bike in Rome. It was locked to a post, but not tightly enough to avoid being run over by a lorry and turned into a banana chair.

        • He's saying that it *is* an excuse. Just because he disagrees with you does not mean he's ignoring what you're saying.

    • by godrik (1287354) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @11:37AM (#46134391)

      Whie I entirely aggree with you that the main problem comes from the city lacking the proper parking spaces, that makes it no excuse to park like a complete douche.

    • by jwdb (526327) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @11:51AM (#46134467)

      What irks me is the lack of town planning for cars in European cities then the incompetent authorities act like it is all the citizens fault. I get that they have ancient medieval town centers that are almost impossible to modify - but that is no excuse for not providing adequate amounts of free to almost free just out-of-town parking and efficient cheap public transport into the centers (efficient does not mean it has to be profitable in the direct sense).

      You're not looking hard enough. Most of the major cities I've driven to in the EU (Belgium and the Netherlands, primarily, over five years) had significant parking on the outskirts of town (never free, land costs money) near the end of the city metro lines. Drop the car there, take the tram, and enjoy a city built at a human scale. Or even better, take the train right into downtown.

      I've moved back to the US recently, and I dearly miss those compact cities. I'm in a small city in Georgia now and it's disgusting how much prime downtown space is wasted on empty parking lots. I'd much rather have no parking at all rather than too much, as then you can at least walk or bike.

      Don't get me started on the last century traffic lights on timers and no trigger sensors of any kind in sight even at the pedestrian crossings.

      Traffic lights is a different matter, and apparently depends on your driving style. I never had a problem flowing through light after light back home, but here I'm constantly being stopped. I'm sure I'll eventually get used to the timing here, as you would over there.

      • Your right I painted with a broad brush by saying "European cities". All the ones I have lived in (Italy, Spain, France...) but not including Belgium or the Netherlands have the problem I describe. Not all in Italy are so bad either, I hear Milan at least have some inner city congestion control and planning than most.
        • by jwdb (526327)

          Ah, I've never driven that far south, so you could be right in that.

          In any case, there's always hope that as gas becomes more expensive, municipalities will pay more attention to planning for traffic. Europe will have to build higher, and the US more compactly I think. Otherwise I guess we could always move to Singapore, enjoy the growth that part of the world is experiencing.

      • by cdrudge (68377)

        I'd much rather have no parking at all rather than too much, as then you can at least walk or bike.

        Screw that. It's 10 degrees currently and we're suppose to get 6-8" of snow . I'm not walking/biking in that.

        Maybe that works for you when you shut down the city/town when there's a flurry in the air. That doesn't work here.

        • by jwdb (526327)

          We rarely got 6-8" in Belgium, but usually at least an inch or two, and I've biked through that many times. It's simply a matter of clearing the sidewalks and bike path as well, and not only the road.

          Dunno what kind of car you have, but unless it's a truck it probably can't handle half a foot of uncleared snow very well either.

          And 10 F isn't bad, as long as you dress for it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jfdavis668 (1414919)
      You do realize that most European cities existed for hundreds or even thousands of years before cars were invented?
    • by ciotog (1098035)

      Don't get me started on the last century traffic lights on timers and no trigger sensors of any kind in sight even at the pedestrian crossings. Christmas lights I like to call them. The amount of petrol they must waste stopping scores of cars for no reason must be mind-boggling.

      If they make driving too convenient, then people will drive more often and farther away, which would consume even more petrol than idling at a traffic light occasionally.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Last time I drove in London, I took about an hour to cover one mile. Solely because, when my light went green, the light ahead was still red, so there was only space for one or two cars to move forward during the green part of the cycle. As soon as we got past the last traffic light and onto the main road, we were doing 40mph within seconds.

        Fortunately, 'congestion charging' will clearly solve that.

    • by zsau (266209) <slashdot@NoSpAm.thecartographers.net> on Sunday February 02, 2014 @04:45PM (#46135923) Homepage Journal

      The European design wastes a lot less petrol than the American design, because you can get around and do a lot without even getting into the car. It is a local inefficiency as a trade-off for a higher-level efficiency. In America, you want to buy milk? You have to move a ton of steel around at homicidal speeds. In Europe, you want to buy milk? You walk for the same amount of time—or less—and you buy it from the shops.

      "Town planning fail" happens when you think that the car is an important and necessary part of modern life. It's not. It's useful that some people have cars; but to think it should be convenient for everyone to drive most of the time is foolishness.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        All true but only in some European cities. Milk might be a walk away but in general the business districts usually require some non trivial size of the work force to drive in from the suburbs (hence the parking problem reported in Rome).
      • The European design wastes a lot less petrol than the American design

        Um, no. We waste absolutely no petrol; we waste gas here in America.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Singapore for example with so little space has pioneered high rise cheap parking for all out in the suburbs and electronic pay to enter town centers that really increased the quality of life in the inner city, or so I hear.

      Here you've just shown you dont have a clue what you're on about.

      Singapore is about the worst example you could pick. Owning a car in Singapore is incredibly expensive. You have to pay up to 150% of the cars value when you by it, import duties are 41% and that's before registration and road taxes. For a small car (engine displacement less than 1.6L) you're going to be paying about S$15,000 just to have a car you can drive on the road. Singapore has very few traffic problems because they make owning a car co

      • by mjwx (966435)

        you're going to be paying about S$15,000 just to have a car you can drive on the road.

        That's per month as well.

      • Having lived in "HDB land" suburbs of Singapore, I do know that cars are expensive there (in the top ten with London [jalopnik.com]) which is to be expected given the limited space. That does not stop more Singaporeans having a car than the roads can support though (see link).

        However I was talking about the good town planning at least as far as the car park facilities go. For every X HDB blocks and number of residents they have planned and provided a high rise parking facility that is very reasonably priced Vs incomes th

    • by N1AK (864906)

      Singapore for example with so little space has pioneered high rise cheap parking for all out in the suburbs and electronic pay to enter town centers that really increased the quality of life in the inner city, or so I hear.

      They also have to buy a license to own a car which costs thousands of dollars a year. I'm not knocking Singapore's solution but it's hardly shocking that if you charge people thousands to be allowe to buy a car and then again to use the city roads you can afford to buy public parking. The

  • So when I park my Fiat in a parking fountain, should I send a dozen tweets sending the cops to the opposite side of the city? "The solution is dilution".
    • by Anonymous Coward

      should I send a dozen tweets sending the cops to the opposite side of the city?

      Yes don't worry for your car, the folks from opposite corners of the city will take care of sending its pics.

  • Number of citations (Score:4, Interesting)

    by worf_mo (193770) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @10:45AM (#46134179)

    To put those numbers into perspective: In 2011, 2.5 million traffic citations were filed in Rome, about 45% of those have been paid. In 2012 the number of citations dropped to 2.2 million of which 39% have been paid. (source [ilmessaggero.it])

    • Now, a very good question for a non-Italian to ask would be "why on hell do more than half of the tickets go unpaid?"
      • by Virtucon (127420)

        Because they ticket you for any nuisance thing you can do. It's impossible to drive in Rome or anywhere in Italy and not get a ticket for something. It's a revenue stream because nobody is going to argue against it. Why? We all know how good the Italian Justice system is, right? [reuters.com] You'd have a better chance arguing your case in the Coliseum in front of a pride of hungry lions.

        When driving in Rome the old saying "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." applies otherwise you'll get into an accident but then aga

  • 2.7 million residents, 1.9 million private vehicles and they got about 30 complaints per day? In the world of social media, that's a pretty big failure.

  • ancient city has a staggering ratio of 70 cars per 100 residents

    I don't find that staggering. What I do find staggering is that the seems to be a ratio of about 70 cars per every parking space. Rome is a place where triple parking is pretty much routine.

    • Re:Wrong ration (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 02, 2014 @11:23AM (#46134345)

      ancient city has a staggering ratio of 70 cars per 100 residents

      I don't find that staggering. What I do find staggering is that the seems to be a ratio of about 70 cars per every parking space. Rome is a place where triple parking is pretty much routine.

      Rome has enormous public transportation problems for 2 main reasons :

      - one is that its surface public bus fleet is seriously small for a city that in extension is second to London.
      - building a subway network is very difficult not for engineering problems but for historical problems. The Law makes it impossible to continue an engineering project should you end up coming into contact with ancient Roman ruins. And digging in Rome is a guarantee that you'll end up upon some ancient Roman ruins. So each time you want to build a garage, a new subway station it is a roll of dice. And when the works stops you can't destroy the ruins to continue the engineering project, you are not allow to move the ruins etc... So it all ends un in a standstill for years or decades to come. This is one aspect where fanatical respect for historical ruins is seriously harming any evolution of Rome as a city. Sometimes you need to let go of ancient things to build for the present. And that's not the case in Italy. The past takes precedence over the present. And so you end up in these absurd situations where Roman ruins end up having more "rights" than modern roman citizens do. With the consequence that living in Rome is hell. I can guarentee that no Roman likes living in Rome. Tourists yeah but they only stay 1-2 weeks. Day to day life in Rome is hell. Think Atlanta snow congested caos every single day of the year. It would drive crazy anybody.

      • So build surface transit. Many European cities have large networks of surface light rail (trams) which can transport several times as many people as a bus, and dozens of times as many people as a car. (Zurich, for instance, has over half the population of Rome and NO subways, and is commonly regarded as the world's best city for public transportation, because of its trams.) But Rome has only a handful of tram lines, none of which really penetrate into the central city. Meanwhile there are many multi-lane ro

    • Re:Wrong ration (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jfdavis668 (1414919) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @12:04PM (#46134551)
      Rome existed for thousands of years before the car was invented. Sorry that they didn't think of savings space for car parks during the bronze age.
      • by Trepidity (597)

        The city center yes, but large parts of Rome are early-to-mid-20th-century monstrosities that suffer for the opposite reason: they were built with the expectation of people driving everywhere, and have poor transit or walkability. Big roads that endanger pedestrians and bicyclists, and encourage people to drive into the city rather than taking another option. The EUR area [wikipedia.org] is particularly bad.

  • by drgs (3521903)
    The future of politics will rely on this kind of "user-generated content", like wikipedia, only in real life and everywhere
  • Italy is notorious for its culture of tax evasion and insane driving.
    In a country where almost no one pays their taxes (rendering it unenforceable) why pay fines too?
  • by xenobyte (446878) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @11:56AM (#46134505)

    Just open up for private companies to tow illegally parked cars and make money (huge fees) from the towing and storage of the vehicles. With hundreds of such companies hunting for illegally parked cars and thus money, the streets will be clear in no time, and all the parking assholes will have learned an expensive lesson. To prevent abuse all towing must be documented using photos showing the parking offense, a copy of which are sent to the offender.

    • by volmtech (769154)
      Guaranteed money maker. I had two children graduate from FSU in Tallahassee, Fl. My daughter also got her masters and PhD so I got to experience this four times. The ceremonies are held downtown. This is the state capital so lots of government buildings. On Saturdays the offices are closed but their parking lots are still for government employees only. You have to park a half a mile away and walk by hundreds of empty parking spaces. Paying a fine would be no problem for many but your vehicle is towed so few
  • by arvindsg (1757328) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @12:07PM (#46134559)

    The new system, which was created by Raffaele Clemente, Rome's chief of traffic police, seems to be working.

    I would argue if it were working then they wouldn't be getting many such tweets. Perfaps you forget aim is not to give more itations but fewer illegal parkings. All we can say is it might work.

  • ...is the future.
    It's more just: No observers of an infraction, no problem, regardless of the letter of the law.
    I'd just add a reputation based moderation system to supress malice.
  • Where nearly everyone spied on everyone else. You never knew who was watching and reporting, so you assumed everyone was.

  • For the the modern joe-job.

    Unless its an actual officer with an issued camera, the picture means nothing.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Am I the only one chilled by the rising use of technology combined with citizens to create a self-police state? What next? Jay walking? Dogs with no leash? Spitting in public?

    Will we not be satisfied until everyone has a camera, and they're pointed at everyone else, and every single infraction we all do daily is continually reported until we are all in jail? That's where it ends up, in my purposely exaggerated to prove a point scenario.

    And sorry for posting as AC, but you know...tin foil hat and all th

  • that it was possible to park illegally in Roma. I thought every empty spot was fair game.

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