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19 October 2023

Among the winners also Federico Orsini, researcher at the University of Padova, winner ex aequo of both the Italian prize and the 12th International 'Abertis Chair' Award for his doctoral thesis on road safety.


The award ceremony for the second 'Abertis Italy Chair' competition for the most innovative research work on sustainable mobility in Italy was held today. The award was established at national level in 2021 by the Abertis Group - one of the leading international groups in the management of toll roads and mobility infrastructures, present in 16 countries across Europe, Asia and the Americas -  from the Abertis Foundation and A4 Holding, together with the University of Padova and its Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering (ICEA).

The winners' awards ceremony took place inside Palazzo Bo, the historic seat of the University of Padova, during an event organized by A4 Holding, the Italian concessionaire of the Abertis Group that manages over 235 km of motorway in the North East, and by the ICEA Department in the presence of Elena Salgado - Chairlady of the Abertis Foundation, Georgina Flamme – General Director of the Abertis Foundation, Francesca da Porto - Vice-Rector for Sustainability at the University of Padova, Gonzalo Alcalde - Chairman of A4 Holding, Carmen Balsa - Economic and Commercial Consul of the Embassy of Spain, Andrea Giordano - Director of the Department of Civil, Environmental And Architectural Engineering at the University of Padova, and Riccardo Rossi - President of Abertis Chair Italy.

The call launched in March this year for the second Italian edition, was intended for university students with a bachelor's, master's or doctorate degree who had produced the best research work on sustainable mobility issues by 2022.

The examining board, composed of ICEA teachers and A4 Holding managers, awarded the prize for research on sustainable mobility to Dr Federico Orsini, a researcher at the University of Padova, for his doctoral thesis 'Analysis of road safety based on the traffic conflict approach'. Within this paper, an alternative approach to road safety analysis is proposed where, instead of examining only accident data, traffic conflicts are taken into account, i.e. the risks incurred between two vehicles in the event that their trajectories may collide or interact in a potentially dangerous way.

Ex aequo winner, together with Federico Orsini, was the researcher Pinky Kumawat of the Polytechnic University of Torino, for her doctoral thesis on the psychological reasons that guide mobility choices. The study focused on different data sources, from smartphone apps, to assess how they can be useful for understanding people's driving behaviour and measuring their attitude towards the environment, as well as identifying the psychological factors that influence travel and transport choices.

During the ceremony, the master's thesis of Luca Pili, engineer of the University of Genoa, was also awarded for his contribution on the topic of the effects produced by the implementation of the ZTL system (i.e. limited traffic zones) in different scenarios, which he demonstrated through the application of a case study in Bergamo. These effects were analyzed through the design of an ad hoc model, with the aim of calculating variations in the number of kilometres traveled by cars, travel times, user involvement, costs and traffic flows in different parts of the city.

Finally, the University of Padova was awarded, again through its doctoral student Federico Orsini,  with the prestigious ' Abertis International Chair Award' (won ex equo with Dr. Loïc Bonnetain of the University of Paris), now in its twelfth edition and already active in 7 universities in as many countries where the Abertis Group is present: Spain, France, Puerto Rico, Chile, Brazil, Mexico and Italy.

Awarded this year for the first time in Italy, this international recognition, together with the individual local awards, is the result of the desire of the Abertis Group and its Foundation to promote study and research activities towards themes related to the innovative and sustainable management of transport infrastructures and road safety.

The aim of the "Abertis International Chair Award" is in fact the construction of an International Network of Sustainable Mobility Chairs, with the aim of increasing the connection between universities and businesses and strengthening integral training in mobility and transport management, research innovation and development in the fields of planning (analysis of the demand for mobility of people and goods) and operation of land transport systems (road in particular), transport economics (investment costs, infrastructure maintenance and management costs, concessions, pricing policies), application of new technologies (ITS), road safety, all with a view to social, economic and environmental sustainability.

"We are very honoured that this year's edition of the International Awards ceremony of the Cattedra Abertis competition was held in Italy - is the comment of the Chairman of A4 Holding, Gonzalo Alcalde - and even more pleased that among the winners there were so many deserving students, researchers and doctoral students representing the university excellence of the network that Abertis has decided to support and implement over all these years. A4 Holding continues to be at the forefront in supporting and developing research, innovation, technology transfer, dissemination and scientific creation in the field of mobility, transport and infrastructure management, and believes that many steps forward can be taken through the ingenuity and skills demonstrated by university students in this field, keeping an eye on the technological challenges of the new frontiers of what must be increasingly sustainable and responsible mobility".

"Once again this year it is an honour to present these awards and to celebrate the innovation and commitment dedicated to promoting a more sustainable, efficient and safe future of mobility," commented Elena Salgado, Chairlady of the Abertis Foundation. "Through our International Network of Abertis Chairs, we aim to stimulate and disseminate new knowledge and technologies in these fields of activity in order to put them at the service of society."

"It is a great pleasure for the University of Padova to host this year the ceremony for awarding the prizes of the second 'Cattedra Abertis Italia' competition and the 'Abertis International Chair Award' for the first time," added Francesca da Porto, University of Padova's Vice-Chancellor for Sustainability. "Our university is very committed to sustainability issues, and the awarded works focus on the area of sustainable mobility and infrastructure, which is fully consistent with the policies and research topics on which our university is active. The hope is that, also on the subject of sustainable mobility, the innovative research that we conduct at the University, for which one of our researchers was awarded this year, will soon be transformed into technologies and good practices at the service of all."