Report reveals that half of all new vehicles are too wide for on-street parking

Report reveals that half of all new vehicles are too wide for on-street parking

Research by motoring campaign group Transport & Environment (T&E) has found that new cars across Europe, on average, are getting 1 cm wider every two years.

The data states that the trend will continue due to the rising sales of SUVs – both in the UK and across the continent.

In fact, around half of new cars sold are already too wide for the minimum on-street parking space in many countries, including the UK.

T&E’s research into new vehicles found that the average width of new cars expanded to 180.3 cm in the first half of 2023, up from 177.8 cm in 2018.

Among the top 100 new cars sold in the EU in 2023, 52% of them were too wide for the minimum specified on-street parking space (180 cm) in major cities, including London, Paris and Rome.

Also, off-street parking is a growing problem for even the average new car (180 cm wide), while large luxury SUVs no longer fit in many circumstances. Measuring around 200 cm wide, large luxury SUVs leave space for drivers and passengers to get in and out of vehicles in typical off-street spaces – as they measure an average of around 240 cm.

When comparing to previous data from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), the results suggest the same trend has happened consistently over the two decades up to 2020.

As a result, T&E stated that unless width limit for cars are introduced soon, and cities impose higher parking charges for larger vehicles, then it could result in safety issues.

James Nix, Vehicles Policy Manager at T&E, said: “Cars have been getting wider for decades and that trend will continue until we set a stricter limit.

“Currently the law allows new cars to be as wide as trucks. The result has been big SUVs and American style pick-up trucks parking on our footpaths and endangering pedestrians, cyclists and everyone else on the road.”

The report particularly targets large luxury SUVs as the biggest culprits for being too big for on-street parking.

In fact, according to T&E, the wider designs have also enabled the height of vehicles to be further raised, despite crash data showing a 10 cm increase in the height of vehicle fronts carries a 30% higher risk of fatalities in collisions with pedestrians and cyclists.

Barbara Stoll, Director of the Clean Cities Campaign, said: “Monster SUVs are a threat to the urban fabric of our cities. Unless we act now, more and more of our precious public space will be taken away from people by ever larger cars – this is not the cleaner, brighter and greener future that citizens want. On 4 February, Parisians have a unique opportunity to lead the way and say no to these polluting and dangerous giants taking over our streets.”

What do you make of the report’s findings? Have you noticed on-street parking causing issues for other road users? Leave your comments below.

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