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Thursday, January 20, 2011

European cities are reaping the rewards of innovative parking policies

So says a new report, Europe’s Parking U-Turn: From Accommodation to Regulation, from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP).

Source: ITDP (2011) Europe’s Parking U-Turn: From Accommodation to Regulation, p18

Here is an excerpt from the Executive Summary (I have added a link):
This paper is the second in a series of policy papers from ITDP on parking. The first paper, released in Spring 2010, focused on successful parking practices in U.S. cities. This paper reviews successful parking practices in European cities. Parking management is a critical and often overlooked tool for achieving a variety of social goals. For much of the 20th Century, cities in Europe, like cities in the rest of the world, used parking policy mainly to encourage the construction of additional off-street parking, hoping to ease a perceived shortage of parking.
In the last few decades a growing number of European cities have led the world in changing the direction of parking policy. European citizens grew tired of having public spaces and footpaths occupied by surface parking. ...
In the cities reviewed here, parking policy has been reoriented around alternative social goals. Some recent parking reforms are driven by the need to comply with EU ambient air quality or national greenhouse gas targets. Other new parking policies are part of broader mobility targets encouraging reductions in the use of private motor vehicles. While London, Stockholm, and a few other European cities have managed to implement congestion charging to reduce motor vehicle use, more are turning to parking.

The ten cities featured are Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Copenhagen, London, Munich, Paris, Stockholm, Strasbourg and Zurich. The report was written by Michael Kodransky and Gabrielle Hermann.


Key findings include:
  • Parking is increasingly linked to public transport. Amsterdam, Paris, Zurich and Strasbourg limit how much parking is allowed in new developments based on how far it is to walk to a bus, tram or metro stop. Zurich has made significant investments in new tram and bus lines while making parking more expensive and less convenient. As a result, between 2000 and 2005, the share of public transit use went up by 7%, while the share of cars in traffic declined by 6%.
  • European cities are ahead of the rest of the world in charging rational prices for on-street parking. In Paris, the on-street parking supply has been reduced by more than 9% since 2003, and of the remaining stock, 95% is paid parking. The result, along with other transport infrastructure improvements, has been a 13% decrease in driving.
  • Parking reforms are becoming more popular than congestion charging. While London, Stockholm, and a few other European cities have managed to implement congestion charging, more are turning to parking. Parking caps have been set in Zurich and Hamburg’s business districts to freeze the existing supply, where access to public transport is easiest.
  • Revenue gathered from parking tariffs is being invested to support other mobility needs. In Barcelona, 100% of revenue goes to operate Bicing—the city’s public bike system. Several boroughs in London use parking revenue to subsidize transit passes for seniors and the disabled, who ride public transit for free.
Click here for a copy of the report (PDF).