Park-and-Ride: Not as helpful as you may think

A new study published in the Journal of Transport Geography, by Dutch researcher Giuliano Mingardo has revealed more unintended consequences of Park-and-Ride facilities in metro areas. The result of the study confirms earlier research that it can actually generate greater traffic as a result of its implementation.

Research from the early 1990s found that park-and-ride encouraged many commuters who once travelled their entire journey by public transport, to drive part of the way due to the added convenience. It also found that people made more trips in general because the overall cost of transportation was lower.

This was supported in the latest research, however two additional elements were revealed. Mingardo found that people who had once made some or all of their commute on bicycles, now drove to the station. Furthermore, parts of the community were exploiting the parking facilities for nearby destinations (including for activities such as shopping) potentially displacing transit riders and disrupting the area parking market.

However the news wasn’t entirely bad. There was evidence that stations further away from the commercial centre captured more city commuters, earlier into their trip.

Mingardo’s research also found that many travellers were willing to pay a bit more for parking, a sign that some of the unintended effects might be mitigated with proper pricing. The logical conclusion here is that cities should impose parking fees large enough to remove the incentives of free parking but not so large that people drive all the way into work.

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