Digital Blue Zone on-street parking payments in São Paulo

When you use this in your parking change-making efforts, please give credit to Parking Reform Atlas and/or its sources.

 

Do you see an error? Have a comment? There is a feedback form here

Brief summary of this reform

In 2016, the Digital Blue Zone (Zona Azul Digital) system for on-street parking fees replaced the older Blue Zone coupon-based system that had been used since 1975. So the primary way to pay for on-street parking in São Paulo is now by mobile app.

Why should you care?

This is an important example of a city that has never adopted expensive in-street parking payments infrastructure such as parking meters. It previously used pre-paid paper coupons and has now shifted to a mobile-only payments system. It seems to be working well and may therefore be a model for many other cities seeking to avoid the high capital cost of installing parking meters or parking pay stations.

Country

Brazil

Vehicle type

diverse

State/province

State of São Paulo

Key actor type

Local government

Jurisdiction

City of São Paulo

Primary motivation

orderly parking (usually for wider benefits too)

Agencies involved

Municipal Secretariat of Mobility and Transport ( Secretaria Municipal de Mobilidade e Transportes)

Is it a model or a warning?

useful model

Reform type

Main parking category

Main parking paradigm shift

pricing

On-street (many contexts)

Helpful for park-once-and-walk approach

Adaptive Parking thrust

Implementation status

Year adopted

Both P and On

implemented

2016

Goals of the reform

Shifting to digital mobile-based payments enabled improved monitoring, enforcement, and service to motorists (such as notifications that their paid parking time is running out and the possibility to extend - within a time limit).

Impetus (what problem, campaign, opportunity or event prompted action?)

The rise of digital parking payment app technology made it possible to shift away from the older and more problem-prone system that used paper coupons displayed in vehicles. The coupon system made enforcement expensive and was prone to fraud and counterfeit coupons.

Detailed description of the reform

In 2016, the Digital Blue Zone (Zona Azul Digital) system for on-street parking fees replaced the older Blue Zone coupon-based system that had been used since 1975. So the primary way to pay for on-street parking in São Paulo is now by mobile app.

As of early 2021, the system is transitioning to a new concessionaire for the system.

Sporadic users have the less convenient alternative of paying at a designated 'payment office' (mostly local shops I think). There is an sms-based option for registered users who find themselves short of mobile data.

São Paulo has never had parking meters or parking pay stations. Between 1975 and 2016, Blue Zone paid on-street parking used a system of pre-purchased coupons.

The cost of a Digital Blue Card is currently 5 Rials (just under one US dollar). Motorists can use either one or two such cards when parking. In most areas, one card enables one hour of parking. So there is an effective time limit of 2 hours. In certain special areas, one card equates to 2 or 3 hours of parking, so that the time limit is 4 or 6 hours.

Results or impacts

According to Ferreira et al., the new digital payment approach has overcome the fraud problems of coupons. By 2017, it had already led to a 60% higher level of revenue from on-street parking fees. It has made enforcement much more efficient and enables tracking of the usage of on-street parking.

Success is reflected in the fact that the system is rapidly being emulated in many other cities in Brazil.

Sources and acknowledgements

Marcela Alonso Ferreira, Hannah Arcuschin Machado, Fernando Túlio Salva Rocha Franco, Fernando de Mello Franco (2020) Brazil: Sao Paulo, in in Dorina Pojani, Jonathan Corcoran, Neil Sipe and Iderlina Mateo-Babiano (eds.) Parking: An International Perspective, 1st Edition. Elsevier.

http://www.cetsp.com.br/consultas/zona-azul.aspx [in Portuguese]

https://www.estapar.com.br/zona-azul-digital/o-que-mudou [in Portuguese]

Painted Greek Island

Last updated: 

2 Mar 2021