Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

The benefits of environmentally linked parking charges

- To develop and promote an environmentally based parking policy.
- To reward drivers of cleaner vehicles, whilst discouraging gross-polluting vehicles from entering Winchester city centre.

Winchester City Council (WCC) operates almost 3,000 city centre parking spaces, plus a 760-space Park and Ride (P+R) facility on the outskirts of the city. Winchester�s parking policy encourages commuter traffic to use the P+R sites, allowing tourists and shoppers access to city centre parking. Prior to the MIRACLES project, the majority of parking spaces were controlled via a pay and display system.

In partnership with MIRACLES, WCC carried out a parking review in 2004, which considered all parking policies, including charges. As part of the review it was agreed that the take-up of environmentally friendly vehicles should be supported and encouraged, and that other (high-emission) vehicles should be encouraged to use P+R.

Description of the implementation
MIRACLES developed a pricing strategy that is push-pull in concept. In order to encourage greater use of P+R it recommended that the number of city centre long-stay spaces are reduced and prices should increase. At the same time prices at the P+R facility should remain low. This will provide the push element of the strategy, while still allowing parkers who are price-sensitive access to the city centre via P+R.

The pull element of the strategy has been implemented through graduated price discounts, based on the Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions of a vehicle. Eligible vehicles have been placed into categories based on CO2 emissions, defined by the United Kingdom�s Vehicle Excise Duty bands. In addition, electric or hybrid vehicles are eligible for free parking.

Discounts on season tickets for long-stay car parks are currently available as follows:
Tax band A (up to 100g/km CO2) - 75% discount
Tax band B (101 to 120 g/km CO2) - 50% discount
Battery Electric or Hybrid vehicles - 100% discount

Discounts of 75% or 50% on an annual season ticket are worth as much as £893 or £595 respectively to a user. The free permit can be worth up to £1,190. The scheme was officially launched in September 2004 and has been incorporated within WCCs air quality action plan.

It had been intended to also implement the scheme at the Pay on Foot car parks by using automotive number plate recognition technology to allow discounted tariffs to be assigned on an ad-hoc basis for non-season ticket holders. However technical and operational problems meant that this function could not be added to the system within the timescale of MIRACLES.

An additional aspect of the project was to offer people renewing their city centre season tickets the option of trialling the P+R service for free, for two weeks.

Detailed surveys were undertaken to gauge public opinion of the environmentally-linked pricing strategies and parking data was collected.

Key findings
Of the 359 vehicles issued with a season permit at participating car parks, 41 (11%) took up a discount as of March 2006.

51 city centre season ticket holders took up the two week trial of P+R. Of these 47 (92%) did not renew their city centre season ticket, implying that they continued to use P+R.

During the project lifetime, ticket sales at the seven busiest city centre car parks decreased by 16%, whilst at P+R sales increased by 43%. Revenue at city centre car parks increased by 11%, due to general price increases and 6% at P+R due to the increased ticket sales.

Awareness of the scheme in the target group was good, at 75%, with 58% agreeing with the scheme and 31% stating the discounts would encourage them to purchase a more environmentally friendly car in the future.

Reported by

Highways and Transport Policy
SO23 8UD Winchester
United Kingdom
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