Istanbul: Kilometers long traffic jams disappeared due to citywide parking policy

The number of passenger cars in the Turkish capital has increased since 2003 from 900 thousand to 2.1 million. According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, there are 500-600 new cars on the roads of Istanbul every day. However, the city has just over 200 thousand public parking spaces. How have the representatives of Turkey’s largest city responded to this challenge?

Istanbul presents with its 13.6 million inhabitants one of the largest conurbations in Europe, which is divided into 39 administrative boroughs. It is characterized by intense car traffic, which has paralyzed the city center for years.

The new parking strategy

The city lacked enough parking spaces and existing capacities were not utilized effectively. In order to reduce the number of cars that directly entered the city center on daily basis, the city has decided to charge for parking in public places and introduced a citywide parking policy.

How does it work? Hourly rate depends on the distance from the center. The closer to the center the driver wants to park, the more extra he has to pay. Drivers are encouraged to park their cars only for the time necessary, so several cars can park on one parking space during the day. Long-term parking on the streets is then moved to areas outside the main traffic routes.

The new parking policy is implemented by the company ISPARK, which manages over 100,000 parking spaces in Istanbul. In addition to charging of parking fees, maintaining the quality of parking spaces and monitoring of parking, the company is also focused on the implementation of several projects that encourage use of public transport, walking and cycling. These projects are financed by ISPARK, mainly from resources generated from parking fees. Thanks to built infrastructure, ISPARK also provides easy access to historical sites and shopping centers by public transport.

Park and Ride

Within the „Park and Ride“ Project ISPARK has created remote support parking places with the capacity of 7600 parking spaces on more than 30 locations. These parking spaces have grown mainly in areas with high traffic density, where drivers can park their cars and then take the subway, metrobus, ferry or other form of public transport. For the passengers themselves it is the fastest way of commuting to work and there are also undeniable environmental benefits. Thanks to the “Park and Ride” Project, CO2 emissions have been reduced annually by 700 tons.

Istanbul on two wheels

In addition, ISPARK has built a network for public bicycle rental. Since October 2012 Istanbul residents and tourists may rent 100 bicycles from 10 rental posts located along the cost and between districts Kadıköy a Kartal. Till May 2013, the bicycles have been used 5000 times and the company plans to expand the capacity up to 288 bicycles.



From International Seminar held on 6 May 2013

Organized by Energy Centre Bratislava in cooperation with the Magistrate of Bratislava, within the UNDP/GEF Project “Sustainable Mobility in Bratislava”