Barcelona's green parking scheme (Spain)

By News Editor / Updated: 10 Mar 2015
Since 2005 city centre parking in Barcelona has been restricted by a zonal parking scheme.
Barcelona (like many other European cities) has experienced a steady increase in the number of cars entering its city centre. In 2005 it was estimated that there were 1.15m car trips which involved travel throughout the city centre, and 93 per cent of those were seeking parking spaces. These numbers resulted in severe traffic congestion and associated negative environmental effects. Faced with this predicament a new parking management scheme was introduced. The broad aims of the scheme were to:
  • Reduce traffic and make the centre less congested by encouraging the use of alternative means of transport and improving the city's environment;
  • Facilitate parking for local residents by creating parking places for them (and thus dissuading others from entering the city centre by car).
  • Use public spaces in a more orderly fashion and reduce the amount of illegal parking.
In action 
Parking in the city centre now falls into three categories:
  • ‘Green zones’ reserved for local residents, who pay one euro a week
  • ‘Other green zones’ limited to a one- or two-hour stay, available to all, but where locals enjoy a fixed-price discount; and
  • ‘Blue zones’, the parking meter areas of old.
Parking in the green areas cost between € 1.08 and € 2.94 per hour depending on the area (four zones: A, B, C and D) rates also vary depending on the type of site. The blue square: these are places where you can stay in 2.3 or 4 hours. The prices of these places vary between € 1.08 and € 2.42 depending on the area (Zone A is the most expensive).
There is now no free daytime parking whatsoever in central Barcelona, although, city parking is free (and a free-for-all) between the hours of 8pm and 8am. In parallel with the Green zone implementation, other Mobility Management measures implemented in the City include:
  • Measures to improve and promote transfers to more sustainable modes, such as increasing the number of cycle routes and bus lanes, increasing the number of on-street motorcycle parking spaces to reclaim and safeguard pavements for pedestrians;
  • Measures to promote transfer to other modes and reduce cars parking on public roads, by introducing ‘park-and-ride’ and improving the network of off-street car parks.

One year after introducing the green zone parking system the following results were obtained:

  • Mobility studies, carried out in connection with its introduction, indicate that it has had a direct influence on the 3.5 per cent reduction in the average daily traffic intensity in parking-controlled areas.
  • This figure represents approximately 89 000 fewer cars on the streets of Barcelona on a working day and approximately 106 000 people who use alternative means of transport to get round the city centre, compared to the situation prior to the introduction of the green zone.
  • These figures have helped to increase average traffic speed and, therefore, traffic flow. In the third quarter of 2006, the average speed in the city was 21.8 km/h, while for the same period last year it was 20.4 km/h.
  • A reduction in illegal parking of between 51 per cent and 64.4 per cent, depending on which phase of the scheme it is.
In Depth 
Traffic and demand management
Southern Europe
PDF icon November 2011 update (ES)116.28 KB
09 Jul 2007
10 Mar 2015