Rio de Janeiro residential parking minimums replaced by maximums near mass transit

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Brief summary of this reform

For residential developments within 800m of mass transit, Rio de Janeiro abolished the previous minimum parking requirement of one parking space per unit and replaced it with a parking maximum of one space per four residential units.

Why should you care?

Momentum to reform parking minimums and to consider parking maximums may be gathering across Latin America. Rio de Janeiro has joined Mexico City and São Paulo in enacting such reforms.

Parking maximums are controversial among parking reformers but if they are appropriate anywhere it is close to mass transit.



Vehicle type



State of Rio de Janeiro

Key actor type

Local government


City of Rio de Janeiro

Primary motivation

enable housing or other infill

Agencies involved

The Municipal Transportation Secretariat (SMTR) and the Urbanization, Infrastructure and Housing Secretariat (SMUIH)

Is it a model or a warning?

useful model

Reform type

Main parking category

Main parking paradigm shift

maximums or caps (including minimums switched to maximums)

Off-street residential

Away from excessive parking supply

Adaptive Parking thrust

Implementation status

Year adopted

D: Discourage or limit parking supply in certain contexts



Goals of the reform

The main goal seems to be to promote more transit-oriented residential development near mass transit stations across the city.

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

ITDP Brazil had been campaigning for parking reform. This included a 2017 study by ITDP Brazil which highlighted the larger proportion of built space being devoted to parking. The campaign also included workshops and webinars with city officials and engagement with planners, public managers, and government representatives, including sharing Mexico City's parking reform success.

Detailed description of the reform

Rio de Janeiro's building code now specifies a maximum of one parking space for every four housing units with buildings located within a radius of 800 meters from metro, railway, Bus Rapid Transit or Light Rail. This is in support of a Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) policy.

Parking minimums had been in place since 1967.

The updated building code also added a bicycle parking requirement of one bicycle space per residential unit and and one space for a bicycle per 200 m² in non-residential or mixed buildings. In addition, bicycle parking is now allowed in car parking spaces when the space is not being used for a car.

Results or impacts

It is too soon to evaluate the results of this recent reform.

It will be interesting to learn later if significant TOD style residential development occurs and which socio-economic groups are served by any such development.

Sources and acknowledgements

ITDP (January 31, 2019) Rio de Janeiro Joins Other Latin American City Leaders in Parking Reform,

ITDP Brasil (1 February 2019) Prefeitura do Rio de Janeiro aprova novo código de obras que traz avanços para a mobilidade urbana da cidade,

ITDP Brasil (10 July 2017) ITDP Brasil apresenta estudo sobre estacionamento em edificações na cidade do Rio de Janeiro,

Image credit: ITDP Brasil,

Painted Greek Island

Last updated: 

16 Apr 2021