The recent volume and variety of articles appearing on the media locally and internationally with regards to parking management, parking strategies and revenue generation has caused us to stop and think about these important issues.
On-street parking controls are often introduced by local councils to improve management of available spaces as a response to regular abuse by several types of parker (residents, commuters, local workers or a combination of them), a real or perceived lack of parking spaces, the need to generate additional revenues or a combination of all.
We have consequently put together a simple checklist of key issues that need to be considered by council authorities in setting up and managing a parking strategy:
- Consult with and involve the stakeholders. Ensure that the opinions and issues raised by those who will (or think they will) be affected, including businesses, employees and the public, are captured and considered in the process.
- Do your research. There are a myriad of technological solutions out there and they are in constant evolution. Understanding what you want to get from the system is paramount in making a value for money decision. Have a clear set of outcomes against which to evaluate the various options.
- Carry out surveys of current situation for subsequent comparison with “after” surveys. Get an understanding of where the supply and the demand are to ensure
- Consider how parking relates to alternative transport modes and whether appropriate allowance has been made for bicycles, car sharing, contribution schemes, etc.
- Make sure that the pricing model you implement is the best fit for the area and takes into account the feedback received from stakeholders, the experiences of other similar local councils as well as industry best-practice theory (eg Shoupian supply and demand theory).
- Remember that pricing is not static and needs to be constantly monitored and reviewed.
- Include off-street parking policy and pricing review in order to achieve a holistic and integrated parking strategy for your municipality.
- Consider the operational, management and enforcement issues and ensure you have carried out a complete feasibility study of the revenues and costs involved.
- Look with particular detail at your reporting, reconciliation and auditing requirements and ensure the system can and will deliver on these.
- Have a clear policy as to what will be done with any profits arising from the scheme. Allocating parking revenues to a general fund is not going to win you any fans.
- Manage the process throughout. Ensure the rollout and consultation process is monitored and managed carefully.
- Communicate with stakeholders throughout the process: manage the media and do not let the media manage or hijack the process.
- Ensure you never have to make backward steps so walk before you run.
Although each case and situation requires specific analysis and evaluation we hope the above list is a useful starting point Councils that are thinking of embarking on this complex process.