Managing street parking has been a key challenge in managing traffic congestion. A key mechanism to regulate street parking across cities globally has been to introduce parking permits.
What are parking permits?
Parking permits are permissions issued to a specific type of user or vehicle type that allows parking on the street. For instance, residential parking permits are issued to allow residents in a neighbourhood to park on the street. Similarly, cities issue parking permits for short term parking users in commercial districts, or park-and-go permits for shared cabs, or shuttle bus parking permits for bus services requiring short term parking.
Permits when implemented well, enable efficient use of street parking based on the traffic patterns and local area needs. They ensure that local stakeholders can benefit from available parking spaces while reducing congestion and chaos from indiscriminate street parking.
How is it practiced globally?
Parking permits exist across countries, especially the US, Europe and Japan. Cities in the US have a range of permits designed for short term parking, residential permits, service vehicles, and in recent years for carpool and car share permits. Permits for different types of vehicles and for different users (e.g. differently abled users) exist in all European countries with some local variations. Japan is known for its ‘proof of parking’ law with strict limits on night parking which is amongst the most stringent in the world. Traditionally, most parking permits are implemented with a combination of on-ground meters, signages and local attendants to monitor enforcement.
What’s being done in India?
While India has guidelines on basic parking permits which define no parking zones, time based parking and handicap zones in some parts of major cities, for the most part, parking permits have been limited in their implementation and enforcement. This is now starting to change with major cities considering parking area management plans (PAMPs) to organise and regulate street parking in major cities. The PAMPs and proposed parking guidelines have considered residential parking permits and short term parking permits in busy commercial areas.
Parking permits help provide a mechanism to regulate and manage street parking efficiently. Different types of permits provide flexibility for parking depending on the area within a city or based on the type of user. A key challenge is the management of issuing and enforcing parking permits. Here, smart parking tech solutions with the options of Cloud based Software, IoT systems and geo-location markers can provide flexible, efficient and cost effective solutions for cities and local authorities to implement parking permits effectively, enabling cities in India and similar markets to leapfrog traditional parking technologies that have existed in developed markets.