The parking situation in Madrid, Spain went through two big changes this week. In some areas, the meters have been updated to know what kind of vehicle is parked there and charge dirty vehicles more money while giving discounts to cleaner ones. In another area, all parking meters have been removed. We'll call it mixed messaging.

"Vehicles with lower emissions will be subsidized, and the most polluting will be punished." – Mayor of Madrid

In an effort to clean up Madrid's air, upgraded smart meters now require drivers to input their license plate number to validate the spot. The networked meters look up the vehicle information in a national database and then can charge more (up to 20 percent) for older vehicles and diesel models. It can also give discounts (again, up to 20 percent) for hybrids and other clean rides. Bloomberg reports that Mayor Ana Botella was pretty straightforward in a press release: "Vehicles with lower emissions will be subsidized, and the most polluting will be punished."
In another part of town, the suburb of Carabanchel, an eight-year battle against parking meters ended this week when the city simply removed the meters there. The suburb is around 5.6 miles from central Madrid and residents has been fighting the meters since 2006. On June 30, Mayor Botella simply got rid of them, which let to street celebrations (pictured).

But back to the connected meters. The first of the now 4,000 units were installed in 2006, but the database look-up feature wasn't turned before now. The meters can also raise prices when things get too congested. We can only imagine how popular a service like Monkey Parking would be when that happens.

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