Member in the Spotlight: Parking in Madrid gets Smart (Spain)

Madrid is the first city in the world to implement a variable parking rate based on vehicle emissions. In the current discussion about standardised approaches for on-street parking service provision, Madrid is a shining example, so could this be a way forward for other cities as well? Ivo Cré reports.

Parking is important for the redefinition of the role of cities, between the "motorway" culture and re-urbanisation. Centralised parking in cities has been proven to decrease the dependency on car trips and improve the urban public space. However, implementing integrated parking strategies is a challenging task, for both local authorities and parking operators.

To create a better understanding between the different actors in parking activities, the European Parking Association (EPA) and Polis have established a partnership to discuss the interaction of urban transport and parking activities. The current focus of the cooperation is standardised approaches for on-street parking. Off-street parking practice is moving towards a standardised operational framework: users meet the same information and payment technologies across Europe. Would a similar approach be possible for on-street parking?

Parking as part of a strategic framework

The city of Madrid has developed a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP). This is a strategic document that sets the framework for all urban transport policies. The key objective is to promote more sustainable transport in the city and to reduce the use of private cars in favour of more sustainable modes. The SUMP has set the framework for several innovative schemes and measures, such as the public bicycle scheme, the pedestrian plan, low emission zones etc.

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This insight has been published in the 'Thinking Cities' magazine, a joint publication of Polis and H3B Media. Issue 3, November/2014, page 106.