Venice Gondolas Get GPS

venice_gondolas_gpsCan you imagine Venice without gondolas? No? Neither can the millions of tourists that visit Venice every year. But, there’s an issue brewing in those famous waters. An excess of traffic along the waterway is causing gondoliers to travel too quickly.

President of the ‘Venice Gondola Rowers,’ Aldo Reato, wants to put a stop to these speeds. Reato’s concerns were sparked by a recent accident that occurred this past August when a German professor aboard a gondola was killed, and his 3-year-old daughter was hospitalized with a severe head injury after the vessel collided with a water-bus (a form of public transportation in Venice).

The Solution

Italian transportation officials plan to implement a GPS tracking system in order to help gondola drivers maneuver the boats more efficiently. These devices will be ready to roll by November 4th. Each gondola in Venice will also be outfitted with a number plate and reflectors to aid authorities when trying to identify each boat caught on film (various cameras are set up along the waterway).

Up until now, the only identifying boat numbers could not be easily captured on film, since these numbers were located inside of the boats. In addition, gondoliers will also be required to carry identification cards.

How GPS Will Help

It may seem kind of crazy to picture small boats as a major form of transportation, but that’s how life rolls in Venice. Boats are used to transport everything from goods to people and (of course) tourists. GPS trackers will allow authorities to track down careless gondoliers that aren’t obeying traffic rules.

How many boats clutter Venice’s waterways? Around 1600 – 700 of which are taxis and 200 of those boats are gondolas. That’s a lot of traffic! High speeds on the Venice seas can cause collisions, and that’s something that has to be stopped.

Other Measures

Aside from GPS trackers and license plates, there are a number of other solutions in the works. Some of these include:

  • Banning morning gondola rides
  • Tighter drug and alcohol laws
  • Random drug tests
  • Restrictive docking

Many additional measures are being created and implemented currently. As for the tragic gondola accident mentioned above, the accident is still under investigation. In addition to video evidence, photographs and videos from tourist cameras are being collected as well (you never know when those photos are going to come in handy!).

Since the fatal incident, tourists and residents alike have avoided gondola rides in fear of something similar happening to them. It is the hope of city officials that the GPS trackers will restore faith in the gondola once again.

Would you feel safer traveling in a gondola if GPS trackers were on board? Have you ever been to Venice? Let us know what you think below!


Photo courtesy of Kylir via Flickr Creative Commons

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