Different parking management approaches
Many European and American cities are using a range of different strategies to manage parking. Zurich, Hamburg, Oslo and New York have capped their total parking supply and London, Copenhagen and Paris are actively reducing the number of parking spaces. Tokyo has no on-street parking. These actions were mainly driven by air quality requirements, to reduce congestion, to encourage use of public transport and to stop cars driving into historic centres. Other approached to managing parking include:
Parking mainly benefits the person using it and fees could reflect that. This could mean parking prices reflected the real-time market demand for the space, the cost of providing the infrastructure and the opportunity cost of the loss of space for other uses.
Another option is dynamic or variable, market-based pricing where prices go up or down depending on demand at a particular time and in a particular area. People would pay for the time they use the space. Dynamic pricing generally means street space is used more efficiently, congestion reduces and there are opportunities to repurpose parking space for other uses.
For example, the Gold Coast varies the cost of parking at various times, depending on demand and puts 50 percent of the revenue from parking fees towards improving public transport. Perth uses the income from their parking fees to provide free city centre bus travel. Nottingham City Council is the first council to introduce a targeted rate on private business parking. The revenue has funded a new light rail system (see photo).
Space use is prioritised and targeted
The Council could prioritise its parking supply to ensure people who cannot easily use public transport or active transport (such as walking or cycling) can easily get to essential facilities and services and to maintain the economic viability of retail centres. This could mean any of the following:
· an increase of mobility parking and other designated-user parking spaces in certain areas,
· parking at Council sports, parks and recreation facilities is prioritised for people using the facility
· short-stay parking is provided in the central area and suburban centres
· long-stay/commuter parking is discouraged in certain areas and/or
· residents without off-street parking are prioritised with residents parking zones.
Making sure the current parking is properly used
In order to maximise the use of a limited resource the Council could make sure each space is used for the maximum amount of time, and that everyone has fair access to the spaces. This would mean continuing to enforce overstaying, permit parking and illegally parked vehicles. Where practical some parking spaces could be used for other things at different times, depending on demand. Applying an area-based approach when making decisions about changing parking management could help to manage overspill effects.
Improve information and use technology
New ways to pay, digital signage, real-time data and other technological innovations could help the Council to deliver its parking service more transparently and efficiently and could improve the user experience. Providing more information to the public about where, when and how long they can park will reduce congestion and should help people decide how to travel.