January 13, 2014

ITDP Brazil to Conduct On-Street Parking Analysis for Downtown Rio

Rio Parking Study

Three years ago, Rio de Janeiro had more than 2.8 million privately owned cars, a number that is expected to reach over 3 million by 2015. The city’s road network can’t accommodate these increases, leading to more traffic congestion and increased travel times. According to a survey conducted in 2009, ‘Cariocas’ (Rio residents) spend an average of 1 ½ hours in daily commute from home to work. These issues are compounded by inefficient and lacking parking infrastructure. To help the city begin to address its parking problems, in January ITDP Brazil will begin to investigate all aspects of on-street parking in Rio and recommend steps the city can take to better regulate the issue.

Roughly 38% of Rio’s residents work in the Downtown area, making it the city’s largest employment district. With only 4% living there, street space during the work day is at a premium. Informal valet parking agents, known as ‘flanelinhas’, currently manage on-street parking. City officials do not know yet how many operate in the downtown area, or anywhere in the city for that matter. Since parking in Rio is currently unregulated, there is often a chaotic element to it that hinders normal traffic flow and predictability about what drivers can expect regarding the parking situation if they drive downtown.

Informal flanelinhas manage much Rio's parking (Credit: Felipe Skroski)
Informal flanelinhas manage much Rio’s parking (Credit: Felipe Skroski)

Starting this month, ITDP will helping the Mayor of Rio start to address these problems. Plans are forming to manage on-street parking, in part by installing on-street meters. To inform this plan, ITDP will conduct a baseline on-street parking utilization analysis in the Downtown district of Rio de Janeiro. The study will take a detailed look at the area’s parking inventory and create an estimation of parking usage during different times of the day. The core of the analysis will be to collect data on existing conditions, in order to properly calibrate the on-street parking plan being drafted by the city administration.

“This study is an opportunity to help the City of Rio de Janeiro create a more effective system for parking management. Using better technology and a full parking inventory, the new concession will be performance based, generate more revenue for the city, and result in better traffic management, ” says Clarisse Linke, Country Director for ITDP Brasil

The main goals of the parking utilization analysis are:

  • Estimate the existing private and public parking supply in the downtown
  •  Collect and analyze parking utilization data in the downtown
  • Identify whether parking is overutilized in the downtown
  • Identify subareas that may have particular issues or characteristics
  • Classify vehicles parking along surveyed roads as private cars, delivery vans, delivery trucks, motorbikes, coach buses and other types of vehicles.
  • Estimate the number of flanelinhas during the survey, how many spaces they oversee, and what they charge.
  • Determine the length of street each surveyor is expected to cover

ITDP Brazil is now developing the methodology for the analysis and enrolling 12 participants to help. ITDP Staffers Jacob Mason and Michael Kodransky will join the Rio local team and share their expertise during the study period.

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