What's the Latest Development?
Later this summer, in an attempt to fix its pollution problem, the city of Madrid plans to install a smart parking meter system that will charge cars according to their engine and model year. The winners of this new system will be drivers of electric cars, since they'll be able to park for free. Everyone else will see either a slightly reduced rate or, in the case of the most egregious pollution offenders -- estimated at one in four drivers -- a notable rate increase. The system will also charge according to the busyness of the street: The emptier it is, the cheaper it will be to park there.
What's the Big Idea?
Along with bike sharing and energy-efficient buses, the new meters are one of several initiatives designed to improve air quality in a city that has consistently failed to meet the European Union's standards in this area. Sustainability Division head Elisa Barahona says, "Now with the economic situation improving a little, we have more opportunities to put all of our ideas in motion....Particularly for those who have cars that pollute, we hope that having to pay more will make people think twice before using them."
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