Income Generation from Car Parking in Central European Cities
WILTSHIRE P, Cullen Wiltshire, UK, POCS A, Mayor's Office of the City of Budapest, Hungary
Over the past 50 years, the shape and operational characteristics of Western European cities have been determined by national economic policies in which private car ownership and mobility have been tacitly encouraged. In contrast, until 1988/90 most Centr
Over the past 50 years, the shape and operational characteristics of Western European cities have been determined by national economic policies in which private car ownership and mobility have been tacitly encouraged. In contrast, until 1988/90 most Central European cities had been shaped by policies which supported high density housing and an associated high capacity public transport system.
The consequences of these past policies are that the Western cities are now struggling to restrict private transport whilst the Central cities are struggling to maintain large and well-worn public transport systems with declining passenger use. It is estimated that the public transport system of Budapest still carries 60% modal share whereas the equivalent figure in Vienna is only 30%.
The Central cities have the added problem with the design life of the large housing blocks constructed in the 1950s and 60s (for which little or no provision for car parking has been made) and the older tenement blocks. It is probable that the growing population of wealthy households will choose to move out of these blocks to live in low level and less concentrated suburban housing. The city authorities then face increasing maintenance costs and the social problems associated with a concentration of the unemployed, the old and the infirm in the inner city. This is associated with a falling use of a public transport system designed to meet the needs of the residents of the dense housing. The inner city difficulties are exacerbated by the suburban wealthy who can now obtain cars and then drive into the city each day and clutter the streets and footways with indiscriminate parking.
The main source of income for city authorities in Central Europe is usually as an apportionment of Central Government tax income either in the form of a general sum for which the city has discretion upon its use, or as a grant for purposes specified by the Central Government (e.g. for education, for major public health works). They may also raise a limited income through a direct tax system upon residents and businesses and they may obtain funding through the sale of services and through leasing lands and buildings. In some cases they may obtain funding through localised vehicle taxes. In general, however, it is reasonable to suppose that the majority have great difficulty in meeting their budgeted commitments as their problems are so overwhelming. The legal powers given to a city authority by a central government would be most unlikely to afford them a free hand in their ability to raise funds because such action would undermine the authority of the central government. Tense relationships are therefore likely to exist between most city authorities and central governments in respect of the legal powers that each possesses and in the distribution of funds.
Association for European Transport