Twenty-five car parks in the centre of Birmingham are to benefit from a £6 million facelift.
The city council scheme, which involves installing CCTV, better lighting and pay-on-foot machines, is designed to make the central shopping area more appealing to visitors.
Cabinet members approved the four-year project and issued a promise that parking charges would not soar in order to pay for the work.
A previous modernisation scheme, which involved transferring the car parks to NCP, was dropped by the council three years ago after it emerged that the cost of parking would double.
Surveys have consistently shown that Birmingham car parks are regarded by the public as off-putting.
The Chamber of Commerce in 2003 said car parks were in a deplorable state and the worst were "horrible places where people can put their lives at risk by parking there".
The latest scheme, financed through council borrowing, will be largely paid for out of additional revenue generated by the greater appeal of modern car parks, according to Neil Dancer, the Chief Highway Engineer.
The council is aiming to win national safety awards for the car parks by installing CCTV systems and security patrols.