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Innovative approaches to parking management (SVI2004/043)

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Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project website
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Smart mobility and services (SMO)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

The parking policy faces challenges like traffic growth or the increasing scarcity of free floor space. Depending on the prevailing type of landuse based on a specific location or on an area the parking demand changes in time to a varying degree.
Parking management sets a certain parking regime. In the case of paid parking it generates a return for the provision of public street parking or a private or public investment goods (eg parking garage). The parking management policies of municipalities and cities (and the requirements of companies) are located in the area of conflict differently bearing public and private interests.
Improvements and new solutions in parking policy are thus needed in Switzerland to provide a satisfactory parking management in cities.


Present parking management in Switzerland aims at different goals depending on location, size of town etc. The research analyses innovative approaches to parking management that have been put to practice in Switzerland and abroad in recent years, and assess their opportunity for application in Switzer­land. On this basis, conclusions for future orientations are drawn and new ideas are developed.


The following methods were used:

  • Literature review and additional telephone or personal interviews with authorities and administrations. The interviews are based on a structured list of questions.
  • Survey on foreign good practise, supported by the company's network of Research Centre (branches or subsidiaries in England, Holland and France) and existing contacts.
  • Presentation and evaluation of innovative management approaches is based on a uniform structure. The presentation of approaches includes a systematic description of the impacts.

The evaluation criteria are based on the "official" target systems of the Swiss federation (objectives DETEC, NISTRA goals). The conclusions are derived from the presentation and evaluation of innovative approaches. The development of new ideas involves a creative brainstorming process, the experts were also integrated on the part of the public administration and private investors.
Where available and usable quantitative results of innovative approaches are taken into account; where no satisfactory quantitative statements can be made, the presentation and evaluation of approaches were provided mainly qualitatively.

Seven approaches have been selected out of the considered fields of innovation, and are analysed and assessed. The selection is based on pragmatic criteria, among which the availability of information, and the aim of covering a large spectrum of approaches. Each of the selected approaches is described in its main features and in a graphic assessment profile.

The following approaches have been selected:

  1. Payment of parking fees by means of mobile telephones
  2. Payment of parking fees by means of a mono-functional mobile device (“pocket parking meter”)
  3. Individual exit barriers for chargeable parking spots
  4. Parking permit recorded on Public Transport season ticket (monthly or yearly pass)
  5. Customer-friendly distribution of parking permits
  6. Emission-dependent tariff modulation of parking permits
  7. Dynamic control of parking tariffs depending on measured occupancy („Performancebased pricing“).

The assessment of the approaches comprises the following aspects:

  • Advantages/Opportunities, Disadvantages/Risks
  • From the Swiss perspective: Transferability, Potential for improvement, Cost/Benefitratio
  • Assessment of impacts.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
Swiss Government: State Secretariat for Education and Research
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


The research results in the following main conclusions:

  1. There is a lack of available investigations on the impacts of new parking management schemes (before/after-comparisons).
  2. To one hand, the analysed approaches stem from the search of user-friendliness. In this case, the condition of success is that users are willing to pay or that the operator saves cost.
  3. To the other hand, the analysed approaches stem from environmental and urban development policy.
  4. The application of telematics for distributing certain types of parking permits (e.g. electronic parking permit for residents, internet distribution of visitor permits) and for collecting single parking fee payments (by mobile phone, by pocket parking meter) raises the need for inter-municipal organisation. These new services are of limited interest for users and have little chances of success if they constitute a patchwork of isolated solutions.
  5. There are yet no signs of breakthrough for sensors detecting the occupancy of individual parking spots on public ground.

The following recommendations are given for Switzerland:

  • Case studies on the impact of new parking management measures and of adaptationsof existing schemes should be promoted. They should be eligible for funding by research funds.
  • The indication of emission class in Swiss vehicle documents should be seeked, as aprerequisite for taking into account emission classes in the tariff modulation of parking permits. The indication should be harmonised with neighbour countries.
  • The dynamic control of parking tariffs depending on the effective occupancy (“performance-based pricing”) should be considered further. Possible cases for application should be identified.
  • It is recommended to start inter-municipality coordination on the level of the large conurbationsand in the field of parking permits for professional users. In analogy to tariff communities in public transport, it is proposed to examine common administration of parking permits and to develop pilot applications.
  • On the medium term, nationwide interoperability of electronic parking permits shouldbe seeked through the development and maintenance of the necessary framework by the municipalities in a collective organisation. It should be clarified how the municipalities can steer and fund this work.
  • In the same framework and in parallel to the interoperability of parking permits, the maket for payments by mea

    Innovation aspects

    The criterion of “innovative” approaches has been taken in a wide sense. The innovative approaches cannot be defined solely in terms of the parameters of the parking regime (access right – parking duration – fee) or solely in terms of technical equipment. They are also characterised by procedural or organisational features. In terms of status of development, focus is on approaches that are already operational, or that have been or are under trial in pilot projects.

    The report provides a “tour d’horizon” overview of different fields of innovation in parking management. The presentation is grouped by topics, no stable taxonomy being available. The research has aimed at finding and analysing exemplary approaches in the fields of innovation. There is no exhaustivity. The following fields of innovation have been considered:

    • Cashless payment of parking fees by means of mobile devices
    • Automatic systems for the enforcement of limited parking durations and of fee payment
    • Customer-friendly distribution and payment options for parking cards
    • Additional functions of parking tickets and parking cards
    • Demand-dependent differentiation of parking fees
    • Differentiation of parking card tariffs
    • Automatic check of the access right to single parking spots
    • Earmarking of revenue from parking management
    • Inter-company parking management for company-owned parking spaces
    • Reservation of parking spaces
    • Information on parking space availability


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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