parking spot

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In many countries, parking areas are signposted with a white letter “P” on a blue background.
Top view of a gray concrete surface with some cars and shelters.  Several streets running horizontally are marked with white paint on the concrete surface, with smaller tramlines in between like the rungs of a ladder.  A row of parking areas, a narrow green strip and again parking spaces are arranged between the tramlines.  In some places there are white hatched areas for pedestrian traffic.
Aerial view of a large car park

A parking lot , also known as a parking area , is a publicly accessible area on which road vehicles can be parked . This makes it one of the systems for stationary traffic . In everyday language, the term is used synonymously for all forms of accommodation for parked vehicles. Individual parking spaces , parking stands or a parking space are also referred to as parking spaces .

There are several blue metal brackets on a gray paved path, next to them a sign with a large white P on a blue background and a bicycle symbol.  The parking lot is in a park with large lawns.
Bicycle parking in Tbilisi

Public parking spaces are part of the transport infrastructure . The design, capacity and use of parking spaces influence overall traffic and the character of a settlement area, which is why they are also of interest for urban planning . The creation of parking spaces is part of the area of ​​responsibility of traffic planning , and their use is regulated by road traffic regulations , provided it is not private property that is not public . The availability of parking spaces is the subject of public parking space management. These include parking guidance systems and parking management measures , e.g. B. the collection of parking fees or resident parking .


In road traffic law , a parking lot is an area in public space on which parking e.g. B. is allowed by signage or marking .

In road planning , a parking lot is a ground-level, uncovered, publicly accessible area set apart from the street, which is primarily used to park vehicles. A parking lot consists of the individual parking spaces , the access roads and possible additional facilities, e.g. B. Parking ticket machines. The connecting routes within a parking lot are called tramlines . In contrast to multi-storey car parks and garages , the vehicles are parked in a parking lot in the open air, otherwise the terms and parking spaces hardly differ.

Parking areas on private property outside the public traffic area are parking spaces and are subject to different regulations than public parking spaces. The exact legal term and the corresponding requirements are set out in the parking space regulations

All parking areas within an area are collectively referred to as parking space . The overriding consideration and influencing of parking space, its availability and management is the task of parking space management .

Differences between parking spaces

Parking areas can be designed very differently. The implementation is determined in individual cases by many things, such as the available space, the funds, the intended use or the legal regulations. The following list divides parking areas according to different perspectives. However, this assignment is not always clear, so several of the categories can match a parking space at the same time. For example, a parking lot near a train station could serve both as a P + R parking lot and as a customer parking lot for shops . There could also be separate areas for cars , motorcycles and bicycles .

Classification according to location in the road network

Parking areas are always connected to the road network. Depending on the type of connection, a distinction can be made between parking spaces in the narrower sense and parking spaces in the street.

Remote parking spaces

Parking spaces outside the public street are accessible via their own driveway. The available space and the usage requirements result in different divisions of the parking area, if any division is marked . The type of parked vehicles, the position of the vehicle and the width of the tramlines primarily determine the number of available parking spaces or spaces. Parking spaces can have different surfaces as long as the surface is sufficiently passable. Often green areas and trees are also integrated into the design of the parking spaces in order to shade the parked vehicles and to structure the areas.

Parking areas along streets

Designated parking areas on streets without their own access roads are called parking lanes . The areas are part of the cross-section of the street , they can be shown on the edges of the lane, on the median, and partially or completely on sidewalks . A distinction is also made between different types of vehicle installation for parking lanes. Short parking strips delimited by green spaces, trees or curbs are called parking bays , parking pockets or parking harbors (especially in the Berlin area). In order to make better use of the parking lanes, the individual parking spaces are often marked with lane markings.

If no parking lane is shown on a street, parking in Germany is permitted according to § 12 StVO on the right edge of the lane, provided the situation is observed. In traffic-calmed areas, on the other hand, you may only park within the designated areas.

Areas in public space that are used for loading and unloading delivery vehicles are referred to as loading zones . In addition to the parking spaces, loading zones can also include areas for depositing loads and maneuvering areas.

Parking areas for various vehicles

There can be parking stalls or parking spaces for different types of vehicles in a parking area. Markings and signs usually make it clear which vehicles should park where.

Car parking

Parking spaces for cars are certainly the most common type of parking. There are car parking spaces wherever people are driving. There are different dimensions for parking spaces around the world; a measurement vehicle can be used to determine the size . In Germany, the following sizes are common for newly created parking spaces:

Minimum dimensions for car parking spaces and parking spaces in Germany, as of 2005
Lineup width length source
Longitudinal parking stand 2.00 m regular

2.30 m at boundaries

5.70 m for reverse parking

6.70 m for forward parking

Parking stand in oblique and vertical arrangement 2.50 m regular

2.85 m with one-sided boundaries

2.90 m with boundaries on both sides

5.00 m EAR
Private parking spaces 2.30 m - 2.50 m 5.00 m *
* regulated in the garage and parking space regulations of the federal states

Some car parking stands are equipped differently or are signposted to meet special needs. So there is something like:

In front of a modern shopping center, four rectangular areas are marked with white paint on the asphalt.  In the middle of the parking stands there is a white pictogram of a car with a stylized power cable.
Four parking stands for electric cars in a customer car park in Inverness

Truck parking

Large free concrete area on which long rectangular fields are marked with white paint in the block.  In the background you can see industrial buildings and tall lamps.
A parking lot for trucks in the port of Ystad

Specially designated truck parking spaces are particularly common on motorways .

Bicycle parking

Bicycles are usually parked so that they can be leaned against and connected. That is why parking areas for bicycles are often equipped with leaning bars, front wheel holders or similar devices.

Bus parking

Bus are particularly in the area of railway stations , airports , major hotel resorts, sports stadiums , meeting - and conference centers , of cultural facilities, tourist attractions or landmarks required. In many tourist cities, special bus parking spaces are therefore designated.

Motorcycle parking

Motorbike parking spaces are often small parking areas close to the city center (usually only 2 to 15 parking spaces) which are released by a sign or a marking for motorcycles (also with sidecars) and mopeds or mopeds.

Classification according to use

Regardless of their layout or design, parking spaces can also be subdivided according to special uses. The terms are not always used consistently.

Customer, guest or visitor parking

These parking spaces are often operated by companies on private property. Nevertheless, they can be part of the public traffic area if they are freely accessible. The parking areas can be used for the duration of shopping or visiting, often free of charge. This means that people can park conveniently close to their destination and do not have to look for a parking space. In most cases, the permitted usage times are limited and the access roads are provided with barriers . Use outside of business hours is not explicitly allowed, but is often tolerated.

Parking spaces as part of rest areas and rest stops

View of a low, modern building complex that is slightly elevated and surrounded by trees.  In front of it a concrete surface with lots of parked cars, in the middle of the vehicles a free lane with white arrows and a wheelchair pictogram.
Parking lots at a rest stop on the Ise Highway near Tsu , Japan.

Motorway service stations and rest areas (also known colloquially as motorway parking spaces) are facilities on motorways and other trunk roads where travelers can rest. In order to be able to park the vehicles there, there must be a sufficient number of parking spaces. At rest areas, road users can meet their supply and disposal needs and take breaks. The equipment of rest areas often includes benches and garbage cans , sometimes there are also sanitary facilities or a children's playground . If additional facilities such as a gas station or a restaurant are connected to the rest area, it is called a motorway service station.

Park and ride parking

White sign with black symbols for a bus and a tram next to a large white P in a blue rectangle, with a black plus sign in between.  “Parkuj u jedź” is written in black below these symbols, and on the right there is a short black arrow pointing to the right.
Sign indicating a P + R car park in Wrocław

These parking spaces serve to link private and public transport . They are close to train stations, airports and local transport stops so that people can switch between private vehicles and public transport. The distance between the parking lot and the bus stop should be as short as possible. Parking spaces for bicycles with the same function are called bike-and-ride facilities. A further development of the park-and-ride facilities are the mobility stations , at which shared vehicles ( car sharing , bike sharing , etc.) can be parked. Kiss-and-ride facilities are usually not parking spaces as the vehicles only stop there for a short time .

Car park

At Mitfahrparkplätzen can carpools meet, waiting for each other or turn off vehicles.

Hikers 'parking lot or hikers' parking lot

Sign with a blue background, top left a white P. Below in the middle a white square with two people walking in simplified form.
Signs for a hiker's car park in Germany

In Germany, this is the name given to parking spaces that are primarily intended for hiking tourism . They are mostly located outside of settlements in local recreation areas or regions of interest to tourists. By creating such parking spaces at important points of the network of hiking trails, parking z. B. be prevented at roadsides. The parking lots are often the starting point for hiking trails, and motorist circular hiking trails also lead back to the same parking lot. Hiking parking lots often have garbage cans to avoid littering . Other typical equipment are benches or information boards. The Wanderparkplatz sign was first published under this name on April 7, 1967 in the traffic gazette of the Federal Ministry of Transport. With the amendment to the Road Traffic Regulations from 1992, the name was changed to Wandererparkplatz. This designation is still mandatory in official language today, in everyday language the facilities are also called hiking parking lots.

Temporary parking space

If there is insufficient parking space for events, temporary parking spaces are often used. B. set up on meadows or fields . As a rule, these areas are not or only to a minor extent, and there are no parking area markings. At major events, the cars are sometimes directed to available areas using specially installed guidance systems .

Parking zone

Green marked rectangle on a street, inside the white colored Cyrillic script ЗОНА.  You can see cobblestones in front, bollards and parked cars at the edge of the street.
Beginning of the green parking zone in Sofia

A parking zone is a designated area in which different parking rules apply. The cities want to influence the use of parking spaces ( parking space management ). The exact regulations differ depending on the city and country. Some cities, e.g. B. Prague , Sofia , Essen or Barcelona also have several parking zones with different rules and tariffs. Parking zones are often combined with residential parking .


According to § 13 StVO, the arrival time in a parking zone must be indicated with a parking disc ; the specified parking time must not be exceeded. Parking fees may also be charged.

The signs for a parking zone developed from the parking zone and the blue zone . Two signs are now possible, the parking management zone and the restricted no- parking zone. In combination with additional symbols, all parking regulations can be implemented.


In Austria there are short-term parking zones or blue zones in which parking is only permitted for a certain period of time. There parking can either be free (then only with a parking disc) or paid.


The parking zones in Switzerland are called the Blue Zone and are marked with a blue marking. Vehicles can park there for one hour on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. with a parking disc.

View of several white signs on a pole.  At the very top a large sign with a white P on a blue background, above it in black the words "ZONE" and below it "max 2h".  The sign below reads "ma t / m sa 9 am - 5 pm", at the bottom "Geldt voor vlakken met blauwe streep".  Except for the penultimate word in blue, all letters are black.  Next to the sign you can see an old Dutch windmill in the background.
Dutch parking zones are marked with a blue marker.


In parking areas with a blue marking, parking is only permitted with a parking disc.


View of an urban landscape from a great height.  The streets are mostly at right angles.  In the foreground some of the resulting rectangles are pure concrete surfaces with cars parked on them.  In the middle distance you can also see several commercial buildings of different heights and designs, with large free concrete areas in between.  In the background the city seems to run out into a forest.
Parking spaces occupy a significant portion of central Minneapolis , 1973 aerial photo.

Parking spaces were created as a by-product of an increasingly mobile and motorized society. In a car-friendly (urban) landscape , all facilities need car parking spaces nearby so that they can be reached by car. For many companies with public traffic, parking spaces were and are an important economic factor. With the turnaround in traffic, the effects of this development are being viewed increasingly critically. The traffic researcher and activist Hermann Knoflacher said:

"The solution to traffic problems occurs with people and those closest to them - the parking lot."

In Germany, private cars are parked on average around 95% of the day, i.e. over 23 hours a day, in parking spaces. Similar numbers can also be observed in other countries. This means that considerable parts of the traffic area are required for parking spaces. In Hanover, parking spaces occupy over 15% of the urban area, making it the largest proportion in Germany. Parking spaces have a visible impact on the cityscape and are often perceived as unattractive and annoying. With their large asphalt surfaces, parking spaces also act as heat islands . In large cities, the conflict of interest over parking spaces is particularly evident, as the public areas are limited in size but are used intensively. Interest groups such as the ADFC are promoting, for example, that cities do not offer their car parking spaces free of charge in order to create more space for cycling .

Availability of parking space

At least one parking space is required at the end of the journey for all journeys that are made with a private vehicle (i.e. individual transport). People prefer short distances from the starting point to the vehicle and from the vehicle to the destination. From this point of view, free, inexpensive and inexpensive parking spaces are ideal. The availability of parking spaces is also a decisive factor for the attractiveness and use of the means of transport.

Parking demand and availability

The availability of parking space is determined by supply and demand . If the parking spaces in an area are often full or overloaded, one speaks of (high) parking pressure , colloquially also of a parking space shortage or parking space shortage . One consequence can be an increasing number of incorrectly parked vehicles.

The demand for parking space depends on the various requirements of use, the parking behavior. This in turn is the nature of the surrounding buildings influenced, in a residential area such predominates. B. the demand of the people living there. The parking requests differ mainly in the parking duration and the frequency of parking processes. The following usage groups can be distinguished according to their parking behavior:

  • Residents park for a long time ( long-term parkers ), and vehicles often leave the residential area during the day.
  • In the professional and educational traffic , people often do not park for several hours, but usually at night.
  • Parking times are very short for shopping and errands, the demand depends on the opening times of the surrounding facilities.
  • The delivery and commercial traffic needs above all areas close to its destinations, the parking time is rather short.
  • Visitor traffic is highly dependent on the type of event or facility attended.

The parking space offer includes all parking spaces in an area with the conditions applicable there. It can be changed by either creating new parking spaces or dismantling existing parking spaces. In addition, the form of management means that parking spaces can be used more efficiently.

Finding a parking space

The search for a free parking space causes costs in the form of fuel costs, damage to health, damage to the environment and loss of time and frustration. In a small business district of Los Angeles, 180,000 liters of gasoline are used annually just to find a parking space, which is burned to 730 tons of CO 2 . The parking search traffic makes according to former Federal Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt of 40% of traffic in the cities. According to a study commissioned by the Research Association for Automotive Technology , a total of around 560 million hours of searching for a parking space are spent every year in Germany. In extreme cases like 2019 in Los Angeles , two people argued for an hour and a half over a free parking space.

Influencing by parking space management and parking space concepts

The generic term parking space management summarizes several measures with which municipal administrations can influence the availability of parking space. A plan to define such measures is also called a parking space concept . Car traffic in cities is to be shifted to other means of transport and made more tolerable by means of parking space concepts . The main ways to influence are

  • the parking space management
  • the long-term management of the parking space supply, both
    • directly by adjusting the number of parking spaces in the street
    • indirectly by adapting parking space requirements in building law and parking space regulations, or by promoting shared garages
  • influencing parking demand through control and information systems

Occasionally, parking space management only refers to the management and supply control.

View of three elongated white signs.  At the top with black writing “Parkleitsystem”, on both sides a blue rectangle with a white P under a white roof.  The sign underneath points with a black arrow to the left, next to it stands on a yellow background "Rheinufer".  A rectangular black display is arranged under this black lettering.  It shows “211 FREE” with a blocky, light yellow font.  The sign below has the same structure, but points to the right.  The writing reads "Rheinterrasse" at the top, "22 FREI" at the bottom.  Behind the signs you can see the sky, some trees and buildings.
Parking guidance system in Düsseldorf

Information systems and parking guidance systems

Information systems should guide car traffic to free parking spaces in order to shorten the search for a parking space and to use the parking space more efficiently. The information can be disseminated through signs, digital displays, or internet-based systems. Many cities in industrialized countries have such a parking guidance system for free parking spaces. American cities, first and foremost San Francisco, planned from autumn 2008 to record not only the parking spaces in multi-storey car parks, but also in chargeable parking bays (initially 6,000 of 24,000). The occupancy should be displayed on display boards and be accessible via mobile phone or navigation system . Similar systems also exist in Swiss cities. In the city of Zurich , for example, various parking garages and public parking spaces are recorded in the parking guidance system. This can be accessed on site (using display boards), online and by mobile phone.


A light yellow construction in the shape of a stylized car, about five feet high and five to six meters wide.  Behind it you can see several bicycle hangers set up in parallel.  The construction stands on the edge of a street, the bicycle parking spaces are accessible from the sidewalk with the yellow car.  Behind it you can see a small park and an urban street.
Former car park used as bicycle parking, Leeds .

Public parking spaces are part of the urban space that can be redesigned by the public sector. Today, car parking spaces are no longer viewed positively in terms of sustainable, gentle mobility . Therefore, parking spaces are repeatedly reduced or converted, e.g. B. as a green area , recreation area, for a bus lane or a bike path . Such measures are often controversial because traders or people living there see disadvantages for themselves.

In the course of campaigns such as Parking Day , parking spaces are being converted for a limited time. This is to draw attention to the space that car parking spaces take up in a city. Parklets , on the other hand, are mostly permanent small parks on former car parking stands.

Planning and construction

Situation in Germany

The recommendations for systems for stationary traffic (EAR) apply to the design of new public parking spaces in Germany .

Signage and marking

Internationally, through international treaties such as the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic Signs , the parking lot sign with the letter “P” (in Latin America often also “E”) in white on a blue background has become established. The round no- parking sign with a red border and a diagonal red bar on a blue background is also widespread . The exact designs, meanings and applications can nevertheless differ internationally. In some countries, such as For example, in the United States or Brazil , other signs are also used in principle.

Positive and negative signage

Parking areas can be defined both positively with parking lot signs and negatively with parking bans.

Parking signs and no parking signs with additional restrictions, additional signs

In almost all countries there are signs that regulate the use of the parking areas more precisely. In the simplest case, additional arrows show the direction for which the signs apply. In some countries there are additional symbols or additional signs that z. B. can be attached together with parking lot signs or no parking signs and thus specify the validity. The signs often convey information about

  • the direction of action (seen from the location of the sign)
  • the parking time
  • the period of use
  • the type of use
  • the type of vehicles
  • parking space management
  • the exemptions
  • Etc.
  • Belgian sign for a truck parking lot

  • No parking on odd days, here from Belarus

  • Japanese sign for parking in an inclined position

  • Handicapped parking space on the left with a 30 minute maximum parking time sign from New Zealand

  • No parking sign in Quebec , Canada with possible restrictions on individual times of the day and months

  • British shield with positive and negative effects and various restrictions

  • German additional symbol "chargeable"

Zone signage

Parking zones are either defined by a sign or a marking at the beginning and end of the zone or by different colored parking area markings.


Road markings are also used to mark parking areas or areas where parking is prohibited. Depending on the country and zone, the markings can only define a parking space or a parking ban in connection with traffic signs or on their own.

Signage in individual countries


Depending on the type and function of the parking space, the sign can be supplemented with additional signs (e.g. resident parking ) or used in a modified form.


A public parking lot under street lamps is also jokingly referred to as a "lantern garage" - it is considered to be "better" because it is more theft-proof.

See also

Web links

Commons : Parking  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Parking lot  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

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