New public transport elevator scales heights of central Genoa

The hilly city of Genoa, capital of Italy’s Liguria region, has a new public transport solution. An elevator now links the central area and upper section of the city’s busy Sampierdarena district. Passengers travel between the Via Cantore and the Corso Scassi 26 metres above it, with the upper stop outside the busy Villa Scassi Hospital. The new elevator, opened in December 2016, joins other elevators in Genoa’s public transport network and replaces a shuttle bus that operated after the district’s previous elevator closed in 2007.

Additional tools

Genoa © Creative Commons Genoa © Creative Commons

" The new elevator continues our city’s tradition of strong innovation, and responds to the contemporary need for mobility that is more compatible with the environment, encouraging citizens to move away from using cars. "

Marco Doria, Mayor of Genoa 2012-2017

The new system offers increased comfort and safety to passengers. In the old system, passengers had to walk between the elevator and Via Cantore along a 140 m tunnel. Although the elevator was in high demand, people disliked using the pedestrian tunnel because it was damp, cold and felt unsafe.

In the new elevator, a cable pulls the passenger car along the existing horizontal tunnel, then vertically in a new inclined tunnel to and from the Corso Scassi without stopping. The journey takes just 80 seconds, for fast, smooth and comfortable public transport between the upper and lower parts of the district.

High capacity

Up to 460 passengers can travel each hour in the elevator, which operates from early morning to mid evening. The cabin holds 30 people and makes 14 journeys every hour, in a loop operated by a central system. 

This high capacity is needed to meet demand. The previous elevator was used extensively, despite the unpopularity of the tunnel. The installation was decommissioned only because it had reached the end of its 30-year technical lifespan.  City residents had petitioned Genoa city for a replacement to have a convenient alternative to the steep streets between Via Cantore and the hospital on the Corso Scassi. 

Innovative solutions

Renovations to the infrastructure restore an elevator to the area and address passenger concerns about comfort and safety.

The 95 m main section of the original pedestrian tunnel, a converted air raid shelter, has been extended by a 30 m inclined tunnel. A track along the tunnel and curving up into the inclined part has been built for the elevator car. The elevator is operated by a winch, fitted at the lower Via Cantore stop, with a system of ropes and pulleys and a counterweight

Passengers’ safety is a primary concern. Despite the unusual design, the elevator meets EU standards for inclined elevators. A mechanism ensures that the bottom of the cabin remains horizontal as it moves along the various sections of its route. Along the inclined section, there is an auxiliary lift to rescue passengers if the main lift becomes stuck. Video surveillance in the cabin and tunnels adds to the sense of security in this renovated infrastructure.

As a bus replacement, this solution is not only faster and more convenient, it also reduces transport emissions for more environmentally-friendly mobility in Genoa.

Total investment and EU funding 

Total investment for the project “Urban development – construction of a new inclined elevator for public transport between Via Cantore and the Villa Scassi Hospital in Genoa” is EUR 5 020 800, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 940 677 through the “Liguria” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “competitiveness”.


Draft date