Managing Parking for People with Reduced Mobility


Managing Parking for People with Reduced Mobility

This piece is written from the point of view of parking in Spain, Editor

Disabled parking spaces are allocated and reserved exclusively for people who have the parking card for people with reduced mobility (PRM). 

Finding a disabled-designated parking space in most cities is no easy task. These spaces are regularly and repeatedly taken by unauthorized users using different methods of fraud and enormously damaging this vulnerable group’s daily activity. It is of vital importance to require respect for the established regulations for these people, and it is something that cannot be left to citizens’ individual responsibility. The key is to apply technology to the system to make it a much more efficient tool of control and management.

It is common to find people who benefit illegally from the use
of the PRM card. 

Urbiotica offers a comprehensive smart solution for managing and controlling the use of the parking spaces reserved for PRM by guiding authorized users to spaces that are free and at the same time alerting the surveillance services when unauthorized users take spaces, contrary to the regulations. 

Spaces for people with reduced mobility

Parking spaces reserved for people with reduced mobility are granted to wheelchair users, people in need of two walking sticks, those with serious intellectual disabilities, or people who find it difficult to move around obstacles or use staircases. They are spaces that play a key role for this group because their size and accessibility allow them to be used easily and without help.

Cities’ main centers of activity must have parking spaces reserved and adapted for PRM. At least one out of every 40 spaces is a parking space reserved for the disabled. They must be located as near as possible to establishment doors or guarantee independent and safe access for PRM. They are arranged perpendicularly or diagonally to the pavement, are at least 5.00 m long × 2.20 m wide and must also have a side approach zone equal in length to the space and with a minimum width of 1.50 m. 


PRM Cards

People with reduced mobility can apply for the PRM card, which is personal and non-transferable and allows them to park without limitation in the areas reserved for the disabled in Spain and the European Union. It can be used in any vehicle in which the holder travels, who must always be present. 

Individually reserved PRM parking spaces on public roads

People with disabilities or mobility problems are entitled to apply for a parking reservation near their home, workplace, or place of study. These permits are reserved for the occupation of public roads only for individual vehicle parking. The demand for this type of space has increased in recent years. They are spaces that can only be used by the assigned registration. In the case of spaces granted close to the place of work or study, the space is not really needed for parking for 24 hours, and is left free, but unavailable, for the rest of the time. Therefore, what becomes a solution for some, becomes a nuisance for other drivers for whom free parking spaces are a treasure.

As Marc Torras, a PRM wheelchair user, tells us: “It can be frustrating to be looking for a place to park and to find all the PRM spaces occupied, but spaces reserved for registrations free, and not be able to use them”.

Taking of places

Although the improper use of these spaces leads to fines of 200 euros, plus the costs of the tow truck if the vehicle is removed, in recent years the penalties for parking without a card or for illegally using a card have increased. 

The reality of these disabled parking spaces results in serious difficulties for such users to park. They often find these spaces taken by vehicles improperly parked for different reasons: because they are closer, because they have not found another parking alternative, cars parked “just for a minute”, or simply people who recurrently use fraudulent methods. People parked in the next space often do not respect the necessary space granted for the disabled person to get in and out of their vehicle.

It is also common to find people who benefit illegally from the use of the PRM card, either by using it when the holder is not present, by forging it or even continuing to use it after the holder has passed away. 


Marc Torras: “There are times when I have had to get in the car through the passenger door, since someone had parked very close to mine and I could not get in through the driver’s door. If I had not been accompanied, it would have been impossible, since I could not possibly have got the wheelchair in. Other times I have simply had to wait for the owner of the vehicle to come and remove it”. 

Dagmara tells us that she has a space with registration reserved for her sister at the door to her house. When she gets home, she often finds it taken. This means that she has to wait for the driver of the badly parked vehicle to come, try to warn them with her horn or call the tow truck to take the car away. They are annoying and awkward situations for users who already have enough obstacles in their daily lives. 

The abusive use of these spaces causes considerable inconvenience in the lives of the most vulnerable users. Ensuring their good use has a great impact on PRM freedom of movement. Control of the space reserved for PRM must be efficiently ensured.

A solution for controlling and managing parking spaces for people with reduced mobility

The solution offered by Urbiotica provides an exhaustive control of the use of the PRM parking spaces, ensuring proper use and compliance with the established regulations. With this solution for the control of PRM parking spaces, users are guided directly to the available spaces and at the same time the services in charge of surveillance are remotely alerted when unauthorized parking violations occur. This is how it works:

The user parks in a space reserved for PRM. The U-Spot M2M sensor detects the presence of the new vehicle.

The user checks-in through the Parking APP to notify he parked in a specific or within a group of parking spaces. 

If the user doesn’t check-in or in case the maximum time defined is exceeded, an alert is sent to the parking guard.

When the vehicle leaves or if the parking infraction is dealt with by the guard, the alert is deactivated and saved.

By accessing U-Admin, the manager can set-up, monitor and consult all system activity: spaces, usage rules, PRM user and guards accounts.

Cities can control infractions easily and efficiently through the alerts generated when the fraudulent use of reserved spaces occurs. The alert immediately draws the guards’ attention to the infractions, and efficiency and results are enormously enhanced. The system improves the efficiency of the service and reduces the costs of the control by optimizing linked resources, which are now able to focus on the most conflictive areas. At the same time the fraudulent users, who feel controlled, stop using the prohibited spaces. 

In addition to ensuring compliance with regulations, the solution provides authorized users with real-time information on where to find free places. Knowing the location of nearby free spaces prevents means that they do not have to drive around unnecessarily, which saves time, fuel and polluting emissions. 

Eva Estarlich is with the Marketing Department of Urbiotica. She can be reached at

Article contributed by:
Eva Estarlich
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