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Implementing a unified parking system in Budapest

In co-operation with district municipal governments, the Municipality of Budapest plans to unify and develop parking in Budapest.

One of today’s most burning issues in transportation is the disorganised state of parking in the city centre. Budapest considers this problem of high priority, which must be solved together with the district municipal governments. Although transportation habits have temporarily changed due to the pandemic, parking problems have remained. The introduction of free parking by the government has been causing chaos in parking in the city centre for months, making everday life difficult for both locals and commuters looking for parking spaces. Parking problems are expected to remain even after lifting restrictive measures, especially if people turn to private means of transportation due to the pandemic.

 

Nobody benefits from a fragmented parking system

Parking options outside public spaces are missing in the city centre, thus commuters’ parking demands are in constant conflict with local residents’ needs. While public space is finite in the densely built city centre full of narrow streets, the number of vehicles in Budapest has increased by 20% in the past ten years, whose parking and storage in public spaces is causing more and more conflict with pedestrians, cyclists and other micromobility users, as well as the public transport vehicles. Parking is in conflict not only with other participants of traffic, but also with the diverse, livable use of public space. In many places, due to parking spaces occupying up to a third of the street area, it is not possible to plant trees, install green spaces, create a comfortable, barrier-free sidewalk, or create terraces for ground-floor shops and restaurants. The defining element of this conflict is primarily the parking of cars, but the parking of bicycles and micromobility devices (eg. scooters), freight vehicles or tourist buses is also a source of problem.

The biggest problems with the current, fragmented parking system are the following:

      • Parking operation is fragmented, there is no unified customer experience.
      • The parking framework is fragmented (dates, fees, zones, etc.)
      • There is a constant conflict between residents and commuters for parking spaces (which also generates unnecessary parking space-seeking traffic).
      • The increasing number of vehicles in public spaces is causing more and more conflicts for pedestrians and public transport alike.
      • The current system has a significant space requirement in the already narrow city centre areas – it impedes the development of potential green areas, pedestrian areas, and public-like spaces.

These complex problems cannot be solved overnight, but can only be substantially improved by implementing a co-ordinated package of measures and shaping our approach to traffic.

A co-ordinated package of measures is needed

The Mobility Plan adopted by the Municipality in May 2019 states that „the parking policy is a strategic tool for transforming mobility processes, influencing transportation methods and improving the quality of public spaces. The aim of the parking management is to influence the choice of transportation methods, to encourage the changing of devices, improve the quality of public spaces, moderate and organise street parking, unify the parking system, push parking outside of public palces, keep commuter traffic from the agglomeration outside the inner areas and to find a normative- even beneficial for users- solution of local’s vehicle storing. During the development of a unified parking system, the redistribution of public spaces should also be encouraged in order to improve the liveability of public spaces and the city. Therefore, the Municipality of Budapest initiates the forming of a unified parking system in Budapest with the following aims:

  • Provide a unified user experience
  • Prioritise residential parking
  • Improve commuter parking
  • Provide tidy public spaces for citizens
  • Free public spaces from parking and vehicle storage for citizens
  • Rationalise the parking system

The task of the upcoming months is for the Budapest and district municipal governments to develop the details of the above points, while providing adequate and continuos information to the citizens of Budapest.