Ethiopia Goes for Automated Parking to Decongest City


Ethiopia Goes for Automated Parking to Decongest City

Authorities in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, plan to expand the city’s car parking capacity as the country’s increasing middle-class population pushes up demand for vehicles. Population increases have been linked to rising GHG emissions, inadequate parking slots and saturated on-street parking.

“The number of vehicles in Addis Ababa is increasing and so is demand for parking,” says Solomon Kidane, head of Addis Ababa’s Transport Programmes Management Bureau.

The actual number of vehicles in Ethiopia is not confirmed because of a lack of reliable data. Some place the count as high as 831,000, while others indicate there are as few as 90,000 registered vehicles in a country of nearly 105 million people. Yet, other statistics indicate the country had 587,000 vehicles by 2014 with a growth rate of 6 percent per year. At least 84 percent of these vehicles were passenger vehicles and the remaining 16 percent were commercial ones.

The challenge, according to the Addis Ababa City Planning Project Office (AACPPO), is that in this city of 3.4 million people “on-street parking has contributed to inefficient utilization of road networks, safety problems and congestion, especially close to road junctions.”

AACPPO says Addis Ababa has “few off-street parking areas and parking space inside buildings.”

“There is no readily accessible parking area near public transport terminals, and thus parking remains one of the critical issues that needs to be addressed,” AACPPO says in its 2017-2027 ‘Addis Ababa City Structure Plan’.

Nevertheless, AACPPO is implementing a parking plan that would see up to 60 multi-story car parking buildings constructed by the end of 2027 to make it possible for Addis Ababa to “completely abolish on street parking in the city’s inner ring road” that has been linked to heavy traffic and congestion.

So far, Ethiopia has completed what has been dubbed as Africa’s first automated parking systems. The 15-storey Megenagna smart parking steel building that sits on 170 square meters of space within Addis Ababa, was constructed by Chinese firm, Dayang Auto-parking Equipment Co. Ltd., a manufacturer of parking systems. The government-funded $2.2 million project that was launched in 2017 gives an indication of the upcoming automated parking facilities in this city that was established way back in 1886.

It is anticipated at least 28 high rise structures/buildings dedicated for vehicle parking will be constructed inside the inner ring road. 

Initially, the space where the new parking building is located used to accommodate nine cars, but with the modern Chinese automated parking option, it now takes up to 90 cars with the number rising to 120 cars, including those on the ground floor. Cars are lifted on a platform from the drop-off point and park at an available slot on the floors up the steel structured building. 

“We have confidence in this modern car lifting and parking system, and although some may have expressed uncertainties about it, the system actually provides high level of certainty and safety features,” said Kadane.

“It is unimaginable that cars may fall off or flip even if there is an earthquake, because this is a steel structure that is far much safer than concrete,” he added.

The parking costs US$0.20 for each car in the first hour and US$0.30 for every subsequent hour it remains at the parking lot. To trigger the platform to lift the car to the parking lot up the building, the driver of the car can swipe a credit card at the parking payment point and press a provided button to set the process in motion.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia is preparing to launch some of its park and ride facilities within Addis Ababa so as to reduce traffic congestion and create additional car parking capacity in the peripherals of the city.

With limited properly planned terminals for medium and heavy freight vehicles in many areas of Addis Ababa, the city’s authorities also face the challenge of insufficient spaces for parking of these vehicles to enable convenient freight loading and unloading. 

“Loading and unloading spaces are also rarely found in the compounds of producers and distributors and as a result, such vehicles contribute to congestion particularly in the core and market areas of Addis Ababa,” says part of the AACPPO.

“Park and ride facilities will be provided on the outlets (of the city) to reduce the number of private vehicles entering in to the city center,” says AACPPO.

It is anticipated at least 28 high rise structures/buildings dedicated for vehicle parking will be constructed inside the inner ring road. 

These facilities will be located at the farthest extension of the city’s regional outlets at origin/destination points for mass transport services and parking facilities introduced for cycle and private car users, around mass transit stations, mainly outside the main center to reduce congestion and pollution in the city core,” the Office adds.

“Park and ride facilities will be used by commuters who will park their private vehicles to change to Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) for travelling into the center of the city,”

Some of the locations earmarked for park and ride facilities include Addisu Gebeya, At Asco, Lia, Jemo-Lebu Centre, Kality regional terminal, Bole Lemi and Ayat. “Park and ride facilities will be provided on the outlets (of the city) to reduce the number of private vehicles entering in to the city center,” says AACPPO.

 Parking charges for vehicles parking on Addis Ababa’s city roads can be as low as US$0.035 to US$0.07 an hour. The Addis Ababa City Authority has proposed to increase the charges to between US$0.35 and S$1.75 an hour to discourage more people from using personal vehicles to the city center and also make it expensive to park commercial vehicles along the capital’s roads.

Shem Oirere is Parking Today’s on the ground reporter in Africa. He can be reached at

Article contributed by:
Shem Oirere
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