Parking is the process by which drivers leave their vehicle, switched off and brake applied, for a determined period of time in a car park or on the public road. In most cases, drivers are required to pay to park, irrespective of their location (indoors or outdoors). The amount of space allocated to parking continues to grow across the globe, increasing traffic congestion in the world's cities. Parking is therefore one of the major challenges facing transport and urban planning policy-makers, as it has a major influence on the saturation or congestion of a city's road network.
The concept of parking is different from stopping. The 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals provides a clear distinction between these concepts of parking and stopping.
A vehicle is deemed to be parked when it is immobilised for a period of time greater than that required to load or unload items or for passengers to board or alight. Parking may be related to any reason other than stopping to avoid a conflict with another driver or an obstacle, or to obey road traffic regulations.
The term "stopped" is used to denote a vehicle that is immobile for a period of time necessary to load or unload objects or for passengers to board or alight.
The time limits governing the definitions of stopping and parking are set out in national legislation.