Madrid announced plans to introduce smart parking meters that will determine rates based on the cars emission level. Those with the lowest emissions will be charged the least expensive parking rate. The new system is scheduled to go into effect July 1.
It is estimated that a million cars come to Madrid every day and it is hoped the new parking meters will reduce that number. The European Union has warned the city it faces large fines unless it improves its air quality. Diesel cars from 2000 and earlier will be charged a 20 per cent surcharge, while hybrid cars will have their parking fees discounted by 20 percent. Electric cars will get to park for free. In addition, less busy streets will have cheaper rates than busier streets closer to the centre.
Elisa Barahona, who runs Madrids sustainability division, told The Guardian she believes an effective way to discourage motorists from driving into the clogged city centre is to charge higher parking rates. We thought it would be fair if the cars that pollute more pay more and compensate those who use more efficient vehicles. Particularly for those who have cars that pollute, we hope that having to pay more will make people think twice before using them.
The new meters are expected to reduce the citys nitrogen dioxide levels that have periodically exceeded more than five times the maximum level mandated by the European Union. According to the World Health Organization, Madrids pollution levels have increased more than 20 percent over the last 20 years. Other possible initiatives include bike sharing and increasing electric cars use.
Barahona adds: Now with the economic situation improving a little, we have more opportunities to put all of our ideas in motion.
Source: Smart Meters
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