Free Parking at Any Cost (or Parking at Any Price?) How Parking Tariffs Are Set, and How This May Change
Andrew Potter, Parsons Brinckerhoff
Drawing on experience and a series of examples, this paper works through a range of models and approaches used to determine parking policies and in particular parking pricing.
Drawing on the writing of the latest thinking in parking pricing policy and using a series of examples, this paper works through a range of models and approaches used to determine parking policies and in particular parking pricing. It draws first on examples in the US where parking is often provided free at the point of use and is assumed to be provided at no direct cost to the user and moves into considering various models to enable recovery of the overall cost of supply. It looks then at some of the issues created by these approaches and in particular the creation of shadow markets and the economic costs of under-pricing the provision. Drawing on further references in Europe, United States and Australia it considers how pricing for parking has typically been determined in cities in the UK by the public sector to provide some economic and social optimum. With respect to private sector operators, while the expectation is that they aim to maximise profits, the maximum is not always set by what the market will bear, but the paper presents evidence that these operators are also governed to some extent by what the wider political situation will allow.
The presentation includes references to how new technologies and in particular the widespread availability and use of parking apps is shaping existing policies, creating legal issues and shaping pricing practice. Reference is made to how the low value transaction market enabled by the creation of accessible and secure internet trading at a personal level has opened up the potential for parking to be bought and sold in real time between individuals. The paper illustrates internet companies that have introduced apps allowing those in an on-street parking bay to sell that bay to others searching the street for somewhere to park and how this has been seen as a way of those with excess time (and a car) to convert that into something saleable to those short on time.
In a similar vein the paper concludes with a review of recent Central Government policy interventions and the rise of apps to facilitate the sale of driveway parking. Empirical research from a UK city is presented showing the potential for the sale of driveway parking and how this could undermine the assumed use of town centre parking pricing as a travel demand policy.
The first half of the paper draws on reference to others’ research and news with the author’s own structure and opinion. The latter section identifies a particular issue with a change in the status quo in parking pricing in the UK and this draws on specific research to quantify the extent to which this change is a realistic threat.
Association for European Transport