Concerned about maritime safety after a German professor died in after a gondola crashed into a “vaporetto” waterbus, Venice’s municipal officials have determined that the city’s famed gondolas will be fitted with Global Positioning System (GPS) devices to prevent such accidents.
According to Newsweek, about 5,000 vessels (including water taxis) will be mandated to have the GPS devices installed. Prior to the new measures, gondolas were only identified by numbers inside the craft which could not be seen by surveillance cameras.
Now, gondoliers will also have to have identity cards. The GPS will serve to control speed and leave a trace of each boat’s journey.
The mayor of Venice, Giorgio Orsoni, has warned that water traffic has reached dangerous levels, especially during the busy summer tourist season when, every 10 hours, some 1,600 boats (including 700 taxis and 200 gondolas) pass under the Rialto Bridge alone. The German tourist, Joachim Vogel, was killed nearby said bridge.