Car parking can be a controversial subject, whether in relation to the cost or availability of parking spaces, or the problems when uncontrolled, inconsiderate parking blocks roads and pavements. Parking as well as related signage can dominate public spaces but equally a lack of parking can put town centres at a disadvantage compared to out-of-town stores.
The main distinctions for the types of parking are:
- where - off-street or on-street
- what - free, paid (e.g. pay & display), permit or only for a restricted purpose (e.g. loading, disabled, electric vehicles and car sharing)
- who by - public (run by a local authority) or private
The purposes of parking can be broken down into the following categories:
- transport interchange - such as to access a rail station or a park & ride
- town centre
- other trip purpose - such as a visitor attraction or superstore
On average a car is parked at home for about 80% of the time, parked elsewhere for about 16.5% of the time, and only actually used for the remaining 3.5%. With a fifth of all car trips one mile or under, there is clearly great potential to change parking policy locally to influence travel patterns.
According to RAC figures from 2012, while the average driver spends £1,600 on fuel per year, they only spend £42 on parking (excluding residential parking permits). With each parking space requiring 12-20 m2 of space, current charges are generally much lower than the value of land and the cost of maintenance.
While there are a number of links with other sections of the toolkit, the focus here is on:
- managing on-street car parking - including controls on parking and where to locate parking spaces
- off-street car parking and use planning policy - parking spaces in existing and new developments
- integrating car parking with public transport - how and when to improve access by car to rail stations and bus services.