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European parking garages are in need of improvement

Published on: 21 November 2013

EuroTest has just launched the results of a survey of 60 parking garages in 15 major European cities. The facilities were rated on a series of criteria to be “very good”, “good”, “acceptable”, “poor” or “very poor”. However, not a single parking garage was rated very good. Only ten test candidates rated good, 39 achieved a meagre acceptable rating, nine were considered poor by the testers and two were categorised as very poor. Ten parking garages failed the test.


Results 60 Car Parks in 15 European Cities


A key area of concern that the testing teams noticed over and over again were narrow parking spaces. In many cases, regulations still allow parking bays 2.30m wide despite the increase in vehicle width over the past few years. Ideally, these spaces should be at least 2.50m wide and 5m long. Almost three in four parking garages tested were below this recommendation.

Parking space width


Dynamic parking guidance systems, ideally with vacant/occupied displays, make it easier to find vacant parking spaces. However, they were absent in about one fourth of the tested parking garages. Marked walkways increase pedestrian safety. Yet, around two thirds of the garages had no walkways.


Parking spaces for the disabled rarely served their purpose. None of the tested parking garages were wheelchair-friendly throughout, and about one fourth were not wheelchair-friendly at all. In 50 percent of the cases, lifts were too small for wheelchair users to move around in and the control panels were too high up for the wheelchair users to operate them without help. There were hardly any pay machines with sufficiently low control panels.


The narrow parking spaces, poor indications for pedestrian safety and lack of services for disabled users show large room for improvement. European parking garage operators should keep motorists in mind and optimise their premises accordingly. If motorists are paying for a service, they deserve to get what they pay for.

Recommendations to operators: focus more on user-friendliness

  • Paint floors, ceilings and walls in light colours to ensure more brightness and convey an improved sense of security

  • Ensure good illumination, employing state-of-the-art, energy-efficient systems

  • Keep signing to the necessary, useful minimum and use easy-to-remember signs, e.g. pictograms

  • Implement a consistent end-to-end guidance system for motorists and pedestrians

  • Ensure video surveillance of all sensitive areas

  • Provide clearly marked parking spaces with a minimum width of 3m for parents with children / buggies

  • Provide clearly marked parking spaces for the disabled with a minimum width of 3.5m near exits and with barrier-free access, i.e. automatic doors, paths without stairs, and sufficiently wide lifts with low-placed control panels. Also place the control panels of at least two pay machines at a wheelchair-friendly height

  • Provide easy-to-understand rates and user-friendly charging intervals (ideally on a per-minute basis)

  • Enable cashless payment

  • Ensure personal availability of staff, preferably by employing on-site staff and placing them in a clearly identifiable location

  • Implement facility maintenance management to proactively prevent structural deterioration 

  • Ensure that all parking bays are at least 2.50m wide so that motorists can exit/enter their vehicles easily

  • When building new car parks, ensure a minimum vertical clearance of 2m at the entrances to meet the requirements of modern vehicles

  • Also ensure a maximum ramp inclination of 15% so that cars which have stopped can comfortably pull away again without any risk


The methodology (69.4 KB)

A trip through European parking garages (81.9 KB)

Results and recommendations (110.6 KB)

Individual results of each parking garage (427.6 KB)


About EuroTest

Through EuroTest/TAP, 18 automobile clubs in 17 countries, members of the FIA, have been putting the quality and safety of mobility in Europe to the test since 2000 for the benefit of their members and all mobile consumers in Europe. The EuroTest partners have constantly called for a Europe where the mobile consumer can circulate freely using quality infrastructure and in safety.

We have examined Europe’s motorway service areas, passenger ferries, tunnels and railway stations. Test methodologies draw on the best available experience and regulation. All surveys use a common rating scheme and each test is repeated periodically to check for enhancements.

Improvements have been achieved for the consumer thanks to immediate widespread publication of the test results – good and bad – in national media Europe wide, supported by clubs’ demands addressed directly to responsible authorities and political and legislative forums about identified shortcomings.

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