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City of Gent



Country:  Belgium
City:  Ghent
Number of inhabitants:  248,242 (year 2012)
 Area:  156.18 km2
 Population density:  1,600/km2


The city of Gent, located in the province of East Flanders, has a population of more than 250,000 citizens and over 70,000  students. The popularity of the city has ensured a constant increase of the population over the past decades. However, with this increase of people, there came also an increase in car ownership. In addition to that, more than 100,000 employees commute daily to Gent for work. To cope with these developments, Gent is committed to promoting mobility management and sustainable modes of transport.



Gent introduced new parking ratios for new developments. There is a minimum number of bicycle parking spaces that developers have to provide, depending on where they build and what they build. Also, there is a minimum and maximum number of car parking spaces that developers have to provide depending on where they build and what they build. For example, in the city centre they are allowed to create a maximum of 0 parking spaces, but towards the edge of the city they have to provide a minimum of 1 parking space for every 100 square metre development (if it’s a company) or every bedroom (if it’s a house), and a maximum of 1,5 parking spaces for each 100 squaremetres development or a house bedroom. As such there‘s both a maximum AND minimum. Why? Because it is not a desirable situation when public parking spaces in the street are clogged with extra cars (hence the minimum), but it is also not good to encourage extra car ownership (hence the maximum).
Gent initiated the project to not provide citizen parking permits for inhabitants of certain new building developments. When parking spaces are provided within a building project, this encourages the new inhabitants to actually acquire one and park there, instead of parking on the streets.
Gent increased parking tariffs in most of the city areas and introduced parking management measures all over the inner city as part of the new ‘Parking Plan’. This included re-placing the old parking vending machines with more advanced ones.
Gent conducted an analysis of how it distributes citizen parking spaces throughout the city. The results of the analysis helped Gent to reorganise its parking spaces reserved for citizens, based on the actual need for these spaces throughout the city.
Gent improved the effi ciency of its parking enforcement through digitalisation.


  • Gent introduced bicycle parking guidelines in its inner city, ensuring the availability of bicycle parking space within 100 metres of every citizen’s doorstep in densely populated areas.
  • Gent initiated a plan to promote car sharing.
  • Gent enlarged the availability of public transport during evenings and nights.
  • Gent hired a mobility manager for companies, who helps companies to draft and implement company transport plans.
  • Gent initiated a bike sharing scheme where bikes have to be brought back by the user to the station where they rented it. The saves costs. Bicycle ownership in Gent is already very high.
  • Gent hired a parking mediator who encourages the double use of parking spots. 



Gent already had a core funding mechanism in place before the start of this project and therefore was an inspiration to the other partners. When the Mobility Company and its new financial structure were created in 2009, it became possible to directly use income from parking infrastructure for policy measures concerning mobility. This move placed the mobility policymakers from the city and the exploitation of the off-street & on-street parking in one company, with a great level of independence. This was made possible through regional (Flemish) law.
The Mobility Company of the city of Gent has the responsibility (and ability) to decide on how to use the funds it gets through parking
exploitation and enforcement. A set amount of the money earned each year is agreed on to flow back to the city treasury. The remaining funds are used for maintenance & development of the mobility infrastructure. Part of the income is directed toward solutions for more sustainable mobility.
It is worth noting that, although there is a great level of independence, the expenditure estimates in the budget still need to be  approved by the city council.



  • The Parking Plan raised the parking tariffs throughout the inner city, the highest tariffs being introduced in the city centre, lower tariffs in areas on the edge of the city, and by limiting parking duration in the city centre and near the stations. This enabled more parking space for residents, who can park one car for free using their residents parking permit and can get a second permit for 250 Euro per year.
  • Digitalisation of parking happened on several levels. New parking vending machines made sure that people no longer need a parking ticket. Their license plate and payments can be digitally checked by the parking guards. Residents parking permits were also digitalised.
  • New bicycle parking guidelines were developed and have already been implemented in 5 neighbourhoods (with the rest of the city to follow). Residents in those areas now have public bicycle parking space within 100 metres of their doorsteps.



  • The parking standard ratios have been evaluated and legally checked and are functioning as they should.
  • Full implementation of the Parking Plan with more than 1,000 new parking vending machines on the streets, new parking tariffs, extension of the paid parking zone, reduction of parking duration in city centre and station areas.
  • Bicycle parking plans have been developed and implemented for 5 neighborhoods in the city. In those areas the bicycle parking capacity is almost doubled.
  • Improvement of the efficiency of parking enforcement through digitalization


Get the report on implemented measures in Gent here

Get the Fact Sheet on Parking Space Management and the Implementation of the Core Funding Mechanism in Gent in English here

and in Dutch here