Big Data Mentorship: Meet the replicating city Larissa

The city of Larissa in Greece is participating in the Urban Transports Community's Mentorship Programme and benefiting from the experience of the pioneer city of Rimini and Misano Adriatico in Italy on the topic of big data. The mentorship focuses on the use of data that will be collected in order to perform mobility analyses and enhance system’s operations.

Watch the interview with the mentor here


Larissa, the capital of Thessaly region in Greece, has a total area of 335 km², and a population of 160.000 inhabitants. The Municipality of Larissa is strongly committed to sustainable mobility and is pioneering among Greek cities, having first elaborated and started the implementation of a SUMP. Citizens, however, do not always follow up with the City’s aspirations as they remain largely car-dependent for their daily activities. Larissa’s central area is characterized by high population densities and mixed land use.

A central 40-block area has been progressively pedestrianized since the 80s. However, extensive illegal access and parking are observed and result in the creation of an unpleasant and dangerous environment for pedestrians. In order to address this issue, and following the SUMP’s recommendations, the pedestrianized area will be controlled by a central monitoring system.

The system was deployed in spring 2021 and will start partial operations by the end of July 2021. It includes plate recognition cameras, bollards, an operations center and a virtual platform for real-time monitoring and off-line reporting. The Municipality of Larissa seeked technical assistance on the use of the data that will be collected in order to (i) perform mobility analyses and (ii) enhance system’s operations. The mentor was recruited to build on the experience of Rimini and Misano Adriatico regarding big data analytics during special events (Mobilitas project) to assist Larissa.

The mentorship program started in March 2021 and so far has included : two meetings and several informal exchanges with the staff of the Municipality, two meetings with external stakeholders (mainly representatives of people with disabilities and of the contractor responsible for the implementation of the system) as well as a peer-to-peer meeting with the Pioneer entities. The agenda, participants, and minutes of those meetings are attached to the present report. A first report on the ‘State of the art of access monitoring in the Central Area of Larissa’ was completed in June 2021 and is also attached to the present. This report helped in the identification of the scope of the mentoring towards two directions: (i) blending of collected data to estimate indicators of usage (frequency of legal and illegal access etc.) and (ii) explore possibilities for the extension of the system to include, for example, motorcycles. The final replication and adaptation report on the ‘Strategy for smart access monitoring’ is still pending and expected by the end of July 2021. Communication activities are also planned for autumn 2021.