Today, urban sectors have become overcrowded and congested due to growing motorization and inadequate public transport infrastructure. A lack of integration between mobility-parking plans and urban planning has resulted in underutilized land resources, irregular pricing, rampant on-street parking, etc. Thus the need for parking reforms arises in the city.
Given the situation, retrofitting smart technologies with available parking spaces can be an enabler for the cities. We’re talking – intelligent metering, dynamic pricing, enhanced revenue base, intelligent parking facilities, smart management, and much more.
However, for executing parking reforms, coordination among the stakeholders – state transportation corporations, development authorities, private landowners, road transport authorities, police services, resident welfare associations (RWAs), and urban local bodies (ULBs) – is a requisite. If cities wish to develop a smart transit network for sustainable urban development, they must realize that policy-driven reformation is vital.
Current parking challenges
Rapid motorization, traffic congestion, unsatisfactory parking facilities, under-utilized lots, irregular tariffs, indefinite parking zones, inconsistent towing, and more are the pressing parking challenges that need systematic reforms. Furthermore, unregulated pricing and policies have crippled the management of parking infrastructures.
Weak enforcement has resulted in frequent parking rules violation and a subsequent loss of revenue from ticketing and non-compliance charges. Moreover, the revenue generated from poor pricing, low tariffs, and spillage during billing is often insufficient to commensurate the value of the land on which the parking facility is established. In consequence, public agencies receive inadequate funds to drive successful reforms.
So, how can parking reforms save a city? Let’s find out.
On- and off-street parking management
Since on-street parking is often unmanaged and underpriced, enforcing it with a demand-specific fee, mandatory clearance time, or time limits can optimize the resource usage and bring in extra revenue. If the streets are wide enough to validate parking, in commercial or residential zones, metered parking operation is viable as it encourages short-term parking and turnover. Besides, a regulatory body can be issued to manage the on-street operations and to oversee other street elements like pedestrian accessibility.
For off-street parking management, reforms in pricing are mandated. Since off-street parking facilities cater to commercial and entertainment zones at most, parking demands are generated for long-term use. Thus, the allocation of parking space and pricing must be done to cover the cost of operating and maintaining the facility. In addition, to avoid disruption of travel routes and pedestrian lanes, off-street parking facilities can limit the access points to a minimum of two entrances and reduce entry-exit time by employing smart parking technologies.
Control over parking demand
Parking reforms can play a major role in curbing the use of private vehicles by moderating demand. Since the provisions for parking impel private mobility and the general functioning of the transport network, parking reform policies can encourage the use of public transport, non-motorized modes, etc. by controlling parking demands. Besides, charging variable rates – different prices for peak hours, long-term occupancy, weekends, and weekdays – can also push the case for public transport and facilitate efficient city transit.
Coordination of parking supply
The two main parking supplies – on-street and off-street parking – can be efficiently managed through a collaborative approach among the municipal stakeholders such as traffic police, public transport corporations, etc; since the jurisdiction over parking supply is fragmented in cities, pricing is dictated by different authorities in different zones. Furthermore, to facilitate effective parking management and enforcement, coordination of parking supply (both on-street and off-street) must be done by restricting new parking provisions and intensifying the use of the existing facility.
Parking data intelligence
All the parking data – turnover rates, occupancy rates, demands, clearance time, and more – can be recorded and analyzed using compatible digital platforms to stipulate necessary parking rules, regulations, and prices for the citizens. Intelligence derived from parking data can be coordinated with municipal information (land values, accessibility to civic amenities, etc.) to oversee parking management and operation while also serving as insights for future reforms.
Parking Reforms: Conclusion
A poor parking management system has several ramifications: environmental degradation, traffic congestion, unregulated pricing, loss of revenue, footpath obstruction, inefficient use of land resources, and more. Instead of meeting the rising parking demands with more parking supply, cities should focus on increasing the efficiency of existing parking infrastructure by implementing strict rules and penalties. And with parking reforms, cities can make a start.