Research Project on Parking in the City


The RWTH Institute of Urban Transport Planning (ISB), SONAH GmbH, and the City of Aachen are jointly conducting a research project on the subject of inner-city parking.


The ACUP project (Analysis of the Characteristics of Urban Parking) is financed by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) as part of their Modernity Fund (mFUND) initiative with a total of almost 100,000 euros. It is to run for twelve months. The goal is to better understand parking space supply downtown and parking behavior in different neighborhoods. For this purpose, the team will set up a digital parking information system for Aachen, which will also make the data available to the public via the city’s Geoportal. They will integrate data on parking space supply in public, semi-public, and private areas as well as real-time data on parking space occupancy in selected neighborhoods. The research results should also be transferable to other large cities and contribute to improved parking space planning in the future.

Available space for parking will be determined by first looking at the existing data on parking spaces in the city area. Building on this, various methods, such as manual recording on-site or evaluation of aerial photographs, will be used to get an exact idea of what is there. The area under consideration for this research will initially include all areas where resident parking regulations currently apply. The research teams will also collect data on real-time parking behavior in two neighborhoods. Any vehicles entering and leaving the area will be detected by video-based sensors, providing essential information on typical parking processes, utilization rates, and duration. The system is designed in such a way that no personal data is collected. Aachen based S O NAH GmbH will install and operate the sensors.

Besides supplying data for the publicly accessible parking information system, the project will also provide valuable information for further research. Scientists will be able to analyze the findings on parking space use in correlation with the respective local conditions. Based on these analyses, the ISB team is then planning to classify neighborhoods into different types based on usage structures and parking space supply and demand. This information is essential for targeted parking space management.

“Parking has increasingly come into focus as a research topic in recent years. At ISB, we are concerned with the city and mobility of the future, and to this end, we are developing concepts for efficient utilization and sharing of inner-city space. Reliable data on parking space supply and utilization is of central importance. The ACUP project will provide us with important insights and help us to better understand the processes surrounding stationary traffic within large cities,” says Professor Tobias Kuhnimhof, Head of the Institute of  Urban Transport Planning at RWTH Aachen University.

“We are delighted to be able to use the ACUP project to build a digital parking information system while also evaluating a neighborhood typology that is to function as an example.

The digitalization of parking areas is an essential building block for improving Aachen citizens’ quality of life by simplifying their search for parking spaces. At the same time, we can supplement the ongoing measures in traffic planning with real data”, adds Dr. Michael Pielen, Department of Digitalization of Traffic Systems and Automated Mobility of the City of Aachen.


As part of the mFUND research initiative, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure has been funding research and development projects relating to data-based digital applications for mobility 4.0 since 2016. Besides providing financial support, the mFUND promotes networking between actors from politics, business, and research with various event formats and supports access to the data portal mCLOUD. Please refer to for more information.

Project Execution

Institute for Urban Transport Planning
RWTH Aachen University
Mies-van-der-Rohe-Straße 1
52074 Aachen

c/o digitalHUB Aachen e.V.
Jülicher Straße 72a
52070 Aachen

Stadt Aachen
Digitalisierung Verkehrs-systeme (FB 61/303)
Lagerhausstraße 20
52064 Aachen

Source: Press and Communications