Istanbul ISPARK on-street parking management improvements
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Brief summary of this reform
A city-owned parking management company, ISPARK, was set up to manage on-street parking. Free-of-charge, unmanaged parking (or pricing by illegal attendants) was replaced, area by area, with marked out parking spaces, with good signage, and predictable parking fees collected by uniformed attendants with digital handheld devices. This has greatly reduced the parking chaos in the areas managed by ISPARK.
Why should you care?
This seems a useful example of a city with extremely chaotic on-street parking and a sense of parking crisis making large steps towards well-managed parking.
Have the early improvements been maintained and consolidated? It seems likely further improvements to on-street parking management are still needed. I would like to know more.
Key actor type
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality
orderly parking (usually for wider benefits too)
ISPARK, a parking management company established by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality
Is it a model or a warning?
Main parking category
Main parking paradigm shift
parking management broadly
On-street (many contexts)
Helpful for park-once-and-walk approach
Adaptive Parking thrust
Both P and On
Goals of the reform
Effective rationing of scarce on-street parking and prevention of nuisance parking in busy areas through marking, pricing and enforcement. More use of off-street parking facilities was also a goal with on-street parking mainly for short-term visits.
Impetus (what problem, campaign, opportunity or event prompted action?)
On-street parking was extremely chaotic with strongly negative impacts on other street users. In fact, this is still the case in most areas that ISPARK has not yet been extended to.
On-street parking was unmanaged and either free-of-charge or priced by illegal parking attendants.
Detailed description of the reform
A city-owned parking management company, ISPARK, was set up to manage on-street parking. ISPARK also manages city-owned off-street parking facilities.
Free-of-charge, unmanaged parking (or pricing by illegal attendants) was replaced with marked out parking spaces, with good signage, and predictable parking fees collected by uniformed attendants with digital handheld devices.
According to Eren Inci, ISPARK "expanded neighborhood by neighborhood, and thus there has been a gradual transition from free and informal parking to paid and formal."
I don't know if prices vary much from place to place or how they are set.
Payment is to in-street parking attendants who have digital devices and is by cash, credit card or istanbulkart (the same card can be used for public transport).
Relying mainly on parking attendants to collect fees in the streets seems likely to be a costly approach and it seems a little risky to have in-street attendants handling cash payments. [I would like to know more about how this is working]
As of 2009, approximately half of revenues went to the municipality. After other costs, the rest is invested in parking.
Results or impacts
ISPARK management greatly reduced the parking chaos in the areas managed by ISPARK, although the standard of parking management remains far from perfect, even in ISPARK areas.
Sources and acknowledgements
Eren Inci (2016) "Who Pays for Free Parking", Milken Institute Review, 69 (First Quarter, 2016), 66-74.
Ozan Bakis, Eren Inci and Rifat Ozan Senturk (2018) Unbundling Curbside Parking Costs from Housing Prices, Journal of Economic Geography 19 (2019), 89-119.
"On-Road Car Parks" ISPARK [in Turkish]
"Where do your parking fees go?" [in Turkish]
"Park in Istanbul with istanbulkart" [in Turkish]
2 Mar 2021