The city of Berlin has decided to deploy a fleet of four cars to map the quality of the city center's parking supply. The idea is to be able to anticipate user needs and optimize the locations of future parking spaces in order to improve traffic flow and air quality.
These cars -- equipped with high-resolution cameras, LiDAR (laser detection measurement systems) and GPS aerials -- are capable of locating parking spaces and recording their occupancy rate. Those in charge of this operation specify that personal data relating to the license plates of cars scanned in this way is not used in the project. Likewise, no infractions will be recorded.
From June 1, these vehicles will regularly travel the streets of the center of Berlin, and some streets in the districts of Mitte and Tempelhof-Schöneberg. First, they will register the total number of parking spaces on the public highway. Then, they will analyze the occupancy rate of these parking areas, space by space, until the end of 2023.
One of the city's objectives is to study the behavior of motorists in order to ensure the optimal planning of parking spaces in the future. The idea is to reduce the number of parking spaces, but also to distribute them in a more intelligent way, in order to improve air quality.
This measure follows other recent announcements intended to ease traffic congestion and significantly improve air quality in the German capital. The municipality plans to create a major new bicycle path crossing the city from east to west. It is expected to be completed by 2030, with an estimated travel time of two and a half hours.
Meanwhile, a Berlin collective is campaigning for the entire city center to be closed to cars within a few years, becoming a space reserved for pedestrians, public transport, bicycles, scooters and the likes. This is certainly in line with the times, as so-called "low-emission zones" are becoming increasingly common in many major cities around the world.