Parking Space Management / Fee-Based Parking – A Definition of Terms

In the objectives of the recently elected Bremen state government, regulation and limitation of parking are at the forefront. Strategic measures from the Bremen Transport Development Plan 2025 have now finally been included in the operative catalogue of objectives of our state government.

In addition, civil society is increasingly calling for a decisive change in transport policy. Among other things, it no longer accepts the unsustainable situation in many urban neighbourhoods caused by illegally parked cars and the climate-damaging “successes” of an automobile industry advertising the purchase of large cars against all common well-being:

– be it that on a local level the Bremer Verkehrswende-Bündnis has adopted the demands for comprehensive fee-based parking as an essential lever for the societal move “away from the car – towards a sustainable transport and a city worth living in”,
– be it that the demands for a stepwise reduction in the number of parking spaces, for city tolls and consistent charging of parking are now clearly demanded by the many groups that support the climate strikes in Bremen,
– be it that a growing number of associations and groups operating nationwide make themselves heard and demand a clear renunciation of the radical (almost) inaction from federal and state governments.

With this post, I would like to explain the term “parking space management” and explore its context in order to be able to be more linguistically uniform in our demands regarding such questions as “reclaiming public space” and indeed “parking” and to give them ever stronger impact.

What is parking space managementAn “official” definition of the term “parking space management” is given in the publication“Parkraumbewirtschaftung, Nutzen und Effekte”, (Ministry of Transport, Baden-Württemberg, 2016, p. 7):
“Parking space management” means the temporal and spatial influencing of parking space use by means of structural, organisational and traffic law measures. The latter are summarised under the term “parking space management”.

Possible instruments that can be used:
– Time of the parking process (day of the week, time of day),
– Duration (limited/unlimited),
– free or chargeable use,
– Dedication of use for certain vehicles (e.g. cars, vans) or for certain owners (e.g. residents, people with disabilities).
A corresponding signposting indicates the respective regulation. For example, municipalities generate a higher turnover rate in areas with very high parking pressure – and correspondingly more free parking spaces”.

This brochure also uses the system of terms commonly used today in the field of parking management, which the Berlin Senate Administration first published in 2004 (see, among others, the study by agora Verkehrswende “Parkraummanagement lohnt sich”, U. Bauer, M. Hertel, R. Sedlak, Berlin, February 2019):

What is fee-based car parking?
Fee-based car parking comprises the temporal and spatial influencing of parking space use by means of making parking chargeable. The above source (“Parkraumbewirtschaftung – Nutzen und Effekte”, a.a.O., S. 7, loc. cit., p. 7) explains this:
“Fee-based car parking” refers exclusively to the parking space offered on the public traffic network, and represents a building block within the overarching thematic area of “Parking space management”.

The Federal Environment Agency has summarised its findings regarding “parking space management” and regarding “fee-based car parking” (“Rechtliche Hemmnisse für eine nachhaltige Mobilität- …”, Dessau, July 2019, p. 49 f.) in the following way:

“Parking space management is a central tool for municipalities (…). Parking space management can be used to address various objectives:
– Improving the availability of parking space for residents of densely populated inner city residential areas,
– Reduction of parking search traffic,
– Improving road safety,
– Reduction of car traffic
– Shift to public transport, bike and foot
– in addition, the generation of revenues to finance alternative mobility services (…).
In addition, a functioning fee-based parking  system can make traffic areas available for other modes of transport such as public transport, cycling or walking, enable their expansion and use inner-city space for purposes other than traffic. Favourable framework conditions for fee-based parking are therefore essential for a municipal mobility policy oriented towards sustainability objectives.
(…) The general rules for stopping and parking and, in particular, the instruments for monitoring parking mistakes and misbehaviour as well as for the actual enforcement of bans therefore also have a significance for effectiveness that should not be underestimated. Obstacles to an effective system of fee-based parking include the very low warning fines for illegal parking and the low monitoring density.”

And in the next episode: “Residential parking”
Outlook: In a subsequent post I will go into more detail on residential parking, as its expansion, too, is explicitly mentioned in the objectives of the Bremen government for the current term and as the topic is currently being urgently addressed by the advisory councils of those Bremen districts close to the city centre.

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