Clever! Polluting cars will be charged more by Madrid's smart parking meters

Madrid street sign
CC BY-SA 2.0 Geograph

Price will also vary depending on how busy the street is

Sometimes you can tell people that they should do something until you're blue in the face and little will happen, but as soon as you realigns incentives slightly, big things start to happen. Just think of how a small, almost symbolic tax on plastic bags has significantly cut down consumption where it was implemented. It's not as if people couldn't afford the few extra pennies, but it did make them think twice and consider alternatives.

Well, Madrid in Spain is trying to do something similar with smart parking meters. By having the meters vary the rates of how much it costs to park on the street based on factors like how busy the street is and how polluting the vehicle that is parking is, they hope to change behavior and better allocate street space.

Incentives will go both way. Not only will it cost more for the most polluting vehicles (ie. an older model diesel might pay 20% more), but hybrids will get a 20% rebate and electric cars will park for free.

This won't be a drastic change for most drivers, but like the small tax on plastic bags, it can hopefully influence how most people act and discourage the very worst behavior.

The Madrid experiment is scheduled to begin on July 1st. If successful, maybe it can be a model for other cities (not that Madrid is the first city to try to do dynamic pricing for street parking, but it's a high profile project).

This parking meter isn't from Madrid, it's actually from Ann Arbor, Michigan, but it shows what a modern smart parking meter might look like (even better if it's solar-powered!).

Via The Guardian

Clever! Polluting cars will be charged more by Madrid's smart parking meters
Incentives matter. They always have, and always will... So why not use them more to nudge people?

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