How to manage parking lots with Low Emission Zones

Many cities now have Low Emission Zones (LEZs), which are defined as areas of cities where certain vehicles’ access is restricted due to the amount of their polluting emissions. So, one of the aspects to be taken into account in this point is how to manage parking in LEZ’s.

This is one of the measures that cities have been taking for years to lower pollution and improve air quality and citizens’ quality of life. It is also an action that came into force in 2023 with Spain’s Climate Change and Energy Transition Act.

Barcelona was the first city to implement an LEZ to restrict the most polluting vehicles’ access to the city, namely those that do not have the environmental sticker from the Directorate General of Traffic (DGT). Likewise, those with B and C stickers or labels have some restrictions on accessing and circulating in these zones.

The restrictions applied to vehicles with B and C labels vary. Although they can access Low Emission Zones, their circulation may be limited during certain periods of high pollution or at specific peak times.

However, with this law, up to 149 Spanish cities will have to have a Low Emission Zone, according to figures from the National Statistical Institute (INE), so it is crucial to efficiently manage parking within these areas. This is where Urbiotica’s smart parking solutions come into play, which are specifically designed for Park&Ride areas. With these systems, we provide the keys to facilitate parking management in these towns or cities’ LEZ’s.

What does the Climate Change and Energy Transition Act say?

The Climate Change and Energy Transition Act was passed following the approval of the European Climate Law, which aims for climate neutrality and for the European Union to achieve negative emissions from 2050 onwards. It sets a binding target for lowering net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels.

This state legislation is mandatory for Spanish cities with a population of more than 50,000 inhabitants, including the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, as well as towns with more than 20,000 inhabitants that exceed permitted pollution levels and therefore fail to meet minimum air quality requirements.

All of them will have to designate LEZ’s within two years, and these mobility restrictions for the most polluting vehicles may be a problem for citizens given that not all of them have easy access to public transportation and need their vehicles to commute to their city jobs from the suburbs.

On the question of how to effectively manage parking within the context of Low Emission Zones, it is important to keep in mind that when implementing LEZ’s, cities often provide citizens with Park&Ride areas. These zones allow drivers to park their vehicles before entering the LEZ with alternative forms of transportation. This is where Urbiotica’s solutions can make a big difference.

Our solutions are designed to facilitate parking in Park&Ride areas by providing real-time information on occupancy and guiding drivers to available free spots. Making these zones easier to use and more efficient encourages their use and thus promotes sustainable mobility and contributes to the objectives of climate change and energy transition laws.

Technologies to manage parking in Low Emission Zones

Against this legislative backdrop, we have to talk about the technologies available to manage Park&Ride facilities around LEZs, which will help cities achieve their objectives, especially when, as in the cases mentioned above, these areas of circulation and restricted access for the most polluting vehicles are mandatory.

Guidance solution for Park&Ride facilities

This includes the guidance solution for Park&Ride facilities or dissuasive parking lots on the outskirts of cities where drivers can park and then travel to the center on public transportation. These parking lots are generally located near bus or railway stations to facilitate transfers and encourage the use of public transportation.

The digitalization of Park&Ride facilities encourages drivers to use them because it offers a a better parking experience. With real-time information about available parking areas transmitted via digital panels or apps, they can park more quickly and easily. This will encourage citizens to adhere to these multi-modal mobility methods.



Stimulates the use of outdoor deterrent parking areas by providing a good user experience through real-time information on availability and guiding vehicles directly to free spaces.
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The system used by Urbiotica’s Park&Ride solution is based on two complementary forms of detection that are distinguished by the characteristics of the parking area:

  • Equipping the entrances and exits of the parking lot with U-Flow VISIO cameras that monitor capacity by counting vehicle movements. The spot detection software uses artificial intelligence to detect the entry and exit of vehicles from a well-defined parking area in real time. This technology can also perform single-spot detection in its U-Spot VISIO version.
  • Install U-Spot single-spot detection sensors, which are independent, flush-mounted sensors with different communication options adapted to each project and customer’s specific needs.
  • U-Spot M2M sensors that communicate over the mobile network (NB-IoT) and are particularly suitable for dispersed locations.
  • U-Spot 3.0 sensors that communicate via the LoRaWAN protocol, ideal for low-power, wide-area networks.

The two systems complement each other perfectly. For example, a common scenario is that the guidance solution based on counting entries and exits is implemented for general spot detection, and individualized detection is added for spots reserved for special use, such as for Persons with Reduced Mobility (PRM) or electric vehicle charging. In this way, the information transmitted to users also includes the availability of spots set aside for specific uses.

The information collected by the system is sent to the U-Admin platform to report on the availability of these spots. In this way, the guidance solution provides a complete and precise overview of the use of the parking spot, adapted to the particularities of each site.

Advantages of solutions to improve mobility in LEZ’s

These two technological solutions, which aim to optimize mobility and vehicle management in Park&Ride areas, bring a number of benefits:

  • They encourage the use of Park&Ride zones.
  • They lower vehicle traffic in the city center and its associated pollution, which leads to more satisfied citizens.
  • They lower the amount of time it takes to find a free parking spot.
  • Users can park in a quick, planned manner, improving the driver experience.
  • They stimulate local businesses by facilitating access to the city center.
  • They lead to lower levels of GHG emissions, air and noise pollution in cities.

Therefore, due to the obligation to implement LEZ’s following the approval and enforcement of the European Climate Law and the Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition, public administrations must look for reliable, high-quality technological alternatives to effectively manage Low Emission Zone parking lots. The technologies that we have explained in this article are reliable solutions to achieve these environmental objectives.

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