One of our colleagues guides us through today’s complex metropolitan railway systems, bringing to the light the remarkable features that we often ignore.

2:00 min

Giovanni Paolini joined the Impact Program in February 2021, and currently serves his first rotation in the Innovation, Orchestration and Fintech team. Giovanni has always been a public transportation enthusiast. During the recent Group Transformation Office’s Brunch and Learn Session, he shared interesting facts about transport systems with our colleagues, and we could not miss the opportunity to ask him some questions on his passion!

Do you consider yourself a railway expert?

I think the term “amateur expert” in underground metropolitan railways would be a more appropriate title! I do have a deep understanding of the London, Paris and Milan infrastructures, as I have studied them in great detail. I have also been involved in several discussions with ATM for the realisation of a series of educational railway videos in Milan.

Why is it important that we talk about underground systems?

Railways play a vital role in sustainability initiatives, for instance such as the reduction of COemissions. In areas where there is an opening or extension of metropolitan tracks, such as connecting the suburbs or far-away airports to city centres, we see a significant decrease in carbon emissions reflected through new commuter trends. For example, the extension of the Docklands Light Railway connecting undeveloped areas in London, England to London City Airport in 2005 saved the environment 156 tonnes of CO2 and 120,000 taxi rides each year.

We overheard you mention diversity and inclusion in railway stations. Can you explain what you mean by that?

Well, when we take a look at the central stations today, only a handful of them carry famous female names. There are several activists and campaigns advocating the renaming of existing stations or inaugurating new stations after important female figures. We see this in the extension of Line 4 in Paris when they inaugurated the new structures after two female French celebrities, Lucie Aubrac and Barbara.

And what can we do today to learn more about the curiosities of the underground railways?

We call them “Tubefluencers”, or those who have a strong media presence on social platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. These creators often publish content highlighting interesting and fun historical and contemporary facts about the metropolitan railways around them. For instance, Geoff Marshall, a famous subway expert, features regular videos about tube networks in the UK through a series titled “Secrets of the Underground”. I highly recommend it!