Due to ever increasing car ownership and use, in 2003 the city of Belgrade introduced a new zonal parking system, which has significantly reduced congestion levels and improved the environmental quality in the city centre.
Background & Objectives
With 1.7 million inhabitants and 560,000 vehicles, the City of Belgrade faces a continuing battle to manage traffic flows to achieve sustainable, cleaner and energy efficient traffic management within the city. One way the city aims to achieve this and to focus citizens’ travel choices on sustainable modes is via and effective parking management scheme.
The new Central Belgrade zonal parking system was introduced in 2003, with the following key features:
- Parking is divided into three main zones;
- In yellow is allowed for 2 hours, and;
- In green zones for 3 hours;
- Residents are allowed to park without time limits;
- Additional parking facilities are also provided in public garages (2,300 spaces).
In each zone, clearly marked, reserved parking spaces for people with mobility-restrictions, which are clearly marked and located at key locations, e.g. in front of health centres, hospitals, municipal offices, post offices and other public institutions. At each disabled parking space a phone number is provided to allow people to report ‘illegally’ parked cars using these reserved spaces.
Payment can be made by using parking automats (only in zone 1), by parking ticket and via sms on mobile phones. In 2012 about 96% of all payments were made by mobile phone and 4% by ticket.
When the parking scheme was introduced, there was some evidence that many drivers were avoiding the parking fees by parking on the outskirts of the zones, which resulted in a lack of available parking for residents. To try and prevent this, the zonal system has been extended to cover a much larger area within the city, and now in total of 22,000 parking spaces are now available (from the original 11,000). This expansion took place after widespread consultation with local residents to help decide where the parking zones should be extended to, and also to gain public acceptance of the scheme,
Simultaneously to the introduction and roll-out of the parking scheme was accompanied by a range of other measures to try and persuade car drives to use alternative more sustainable modes for their daily trips. These include:
- Measures to promote walking, which includes new pedestrian zones and home zones, as well as campaigns to encourage walking;
- Measures to promote cycling, which includes specially marked cycle lanes, a campaign to promote cycling (“We ride a bicycle in Belgrade”), and other cycling events;
- Measures to promote public transport, which includes special bus lanes, monitoring (via CCTV) and enforcement of illegal parking in bus lanes, and promotional campaigns.
The zonal parking system has achieved several positive effects:
- Increased satisfaction with parking facilities for local residents;
- Considerable modal shift from car drivers to public transport, walking cycling and off-street parking (in public garages);
- A reduction in the number of illegally parked cars;
- A reduction in driver time searching for parking spaces, with associated improved air quality and reduced fuel consumption.
Belgrade’s parking management scheme has achieved significant improvements on terms of overall traffic management and general environmental improvements within the city. However, like most other similar cities, the demand for parking is still and issues and further refinements / improvements to the scheme are likely to be required.
Consultation with local residents and supplementary measures to promotes non-car alternatives are both key factors in the success of the scheme.
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