Walking steered the design of EXPO 2015 to accommodate and move smoothly 21m visitors in 6 months.
EXPO 2015 Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life held in Milan was a unique major event of extraordinary relevance that made Milan the main gateway of Italy throughout the six months of the event. The overall success is confirmed by the general international response and the observed daily flows of visitors. The Exhibition involved 138 Official Participants, representing 86% of the world population, 67 Enterprises and Organizations of the Civil Society, more than 60 Heads of State and Government, and around 270 delegations. As originally forecasted, the average number of daily visitors during the last months of the Universal Exhibition was in the region of 140,000 visitors with more than 250,000 people during the weekends and other special days (259,093 visitors on September 29th was the highest peak reached), resulting in more than 20m visitors during the whole event.
Although transport did not represent the main theme of the EXPO 2015, particular attention was paid to visitors’ mobility, and all multi-dimensional related aspects, among which walking as a focal field of investigation, steered the design of the site in order to accommodate and move smoothly the expected visitors. Mobility planning of EXPO 2015 is called to work at every scale of analysis, complemented with a robust and strong knowledge of crowd management strategies (also with respect to evacuation and emergency situations) and advanced modelling. While keeping fully consistency with the originally stated principle of sustainability, the resulting mobility plan encompassed an integrated set of strategies and a scientific approach toward the assessment of the effectiveness of all key infrastructures and mobility services, specifically provided to ensure an adequate level of accessibility to the visitors, ranging from road and parking systems, public transport accessibility, dedicated ad hoc people mover routes and shuttle services, delivery and logistic strategies as well as pedestrian accessibility and internal circulation.
As a result, more than 60% of daily EXPO population reached the site by using the available public transport services, specifically reinforced for the event, from high-speed railway services to urban subway connections and metropolitan/urban railway services. EXPO gates were equipped with a bike sharing service providing normal and assisted pedal bikes and a multi-fuel hybrid People Mover service along the edge/boundary of the site. Regarding the pivotal aspect of walking, the overall pedestrian network, with its diverse spatial elements, was examined through the development of a comprehensive static pedestrian macroscopic model. Additionally, dozens of other pedestrian dynamic simulations were developed to support the design of all pedestrian gateways of the exhibition site and the most important attractors and pavilions exhibited during EXPO 2015.