The Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition requires Spanish cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants and those municipalities with more than 20,000 inhabitants that exceed certain pollution limits to become Low Emission Zones (ZBE) before January 1st, 2023. There are 150 municipalities where the most polluting vehicles will no longer be able to access, as they will be limited circulation and parking areas that must comply with the new requirements.
The aim of the Ministry when introducing the Low Emission Zones is to achieve the decarbonisation of cities and thus guarantee clean air for everybody. Pollution in cities is one of the factors that mostly contributes to climate change since they consume more than 75% of the world’s energy and produce more than 60% of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to reducing the number of trips by car, public space will also be freed up, which can be used to promote more sustainable means of transport. This is a key action for the environment and ultimately for the well-being of the population.
The Park & Ride zones are one of the initiatives already implemented in other Low Emissions Zones and it revolves around those vehicles that will NO longer be able to access the city centre, and also for those users who can, but prefer to avoid the trouble that it entails. This alternative consists of parking the vehicle before accessing the Low Emission Zones for those people who drive from the outskirts of the centre with their vehicle. It consists of parking at these Park & Ride spaces and then taking alternative means of transport in order to access the centre in a non-polluting way (metro, bus, tram, bike, etc.). This solution, already implemented in several European cities, needs to be accompanied by a good user experience to encourage its use. Complementing these projects with a technological solution for information and guidance to free spaces speeds up parking and encourages its usage. Users are guided through variable message signs or apps that transmit the availability of places in real time.
Urbiotica has already implemented its parking solution in the Park & Ride areas of Barcelona, Burlington and Los Angeles, in which users are guided directly to free parking spaces. The municipalities are satisfied with this solution that allows them to meet their decarbonisation objective while the users are pleased.
On the other hand, the management of the vehicles that CAN circulate inside these regulated areas is also a challenge. Especially because these areas of the cities have more and more green spaces, pedestrians or lanes for bikes or scooters every day, by sacrificing parking spaces and traffic lanes. In many cases, the existing car park is reduced practically exclusively to regulated parking for specific services or uses, such as loading and unloading areas, PRM, electric vehicle charging, limited-time parking, etc. Therefore, within the low-emission zones it will be crucial to efficiently manage these parking spaces to increase the rotation in the spaces and avoid chaos due to low availability. The challenge for public administrations will be to achieve compliance with the regulations established for these places. Efficient control of parking occupancy prevents infractions and fraud, which translates into greater availability and rotation of authorized users.
The city councils of cities like Barcelona are already implementing solutions for the efficient control of these areas, such as spaces reserved for People with Reduced Mobility (PRM) and Loading and Unloading. Likewise, control solutions have also been implemented for free limited-time parking areas in Viseu (Portugal).
Therefore, low emission zones are going to have a great impact on the environment over time, but at first, they will have important direct consequences on citizens, who will have to deal with many restrictions and changes in their daily life. That is why the Ministry launches aids to support those cities that are facing this challenge. Part of the aid is aimed to digitalize mobility to facilitate the change with the least possible impact on citizens and the city management. Up to 1,500 million euros are destined for those actions. Of this amount, 1,000 billion euros has already been assigned to different cities during the first call. However, a second call is already foreseen for 2022 with a budget of 500 million euros.
Digitalization includes support for the implementation and management of Park & Ride zones, as well as the of control reserved parking areas in low-emission zones. Contact an expert here and we will explain you how it has been previously implemented in other cities and for other use cases. With the broadest portfolio of parking guidance and control solutions, FASTPRK allows you to deploy a tailor-made suit for each project.
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