A report issued this week found that France has the best off-street parking policies in Europe for promoting sustainable mobility.
The European Cyclists’ Federation’s (ECF) Making Buildings Fit for Sustainable Mobility report investigated national and regional off-street parking regulations governing both cars and bicycles in 31 European countries; in the first study of its kind to analyse and compare parking regulations internationally. found that France was the only country to have introduced nationwide maximum car parking norms, which impose a quota for new building construction restricting the number of car parking spaces which can be built per new housing unit.
The ECF said: “There is consensus among academic researchers that car parking availability induces car ownership and car use. Households own more cars, use them more often and drive them further if there is good access to off-street parking. Minimum parking requirements cause an over-supply of parking, thereby affecting living costs, construction costs, land use, car ownership and mode share. If requirements for minimum amounts of parking were removed, housing developers would offer less car parking, especially in downtown areas. Requirements for the provision of minimum amounts of car parking have been shown to be contradictory to sustainable mobility.”
Berlin in Germany and Hamburg and Tyrol in Austria were found to have the most effective sustainable parking legislation on a regional scale; while Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Slovenia ranked highly for sustainable parking facilities at a national level. The ECF is calling on national and local authorities to implement maximum parking facilities and corresponding mobility management services.
Fabian Küster, ECF senior policy officer and the report’s lead author, said: “We need to have a debate on how buildings can become more sustainable: more sustainable in terms of mobility, energy-efficiency and affordability. Getting rid of minimum car parking norms and installing maximum limits is an essential tool on delivering on all three objectives.”