Re-Think! Parking on the High Street: Guidance on Parking Provision in Town and City Centres

Much discussion about the relations between car parking and town centre prosperity is anecdotal, rather than based on data. To provide this evidence, ATCM, the British Parking Association, Parking Data and Research International, and Springboard reviewed off-peak parking tariffs of 90 UK locations. This report presents study findings.

Date added 22 January 2020
Last updated 9 February 2020

There is much discussion about the links between car parking provision and town centre prosperity. However, much of this is based on speculation and anecdotal evidence, rather than being ground in research, which causes confusion for policy-makers and local place leaders. To provide this research evidence, The Association of Town and City Management (ATCM), the British Parking Association (BPA), Parking Data and Research International (PDRI), and Springboard joined forces to explore the relationship between car parking provision and town centre prosperity, as well as what effective car parking strategies involve. The research team reviewed the off-street parking tariffs of around 90 locations across the UK, cross referencing data provided by PDRI and Springboard’s National High Street Index (e.g. footfall data). This report discusses several key findings, alongside case study examples from towns across the UK. The study finds parking operators are providing parking provision which equates to the footfall levels achieved by their location. However, there is no clear relationship between car parking charges and the amenities offered by centres. Mid-range and smaller centres that charge more than the national average, in accordance with their offer, suffered a higher than average decline in footfall for 2011. The report recommends that car parking provision should be set within a holistic strategy considering a centre’s wider accessibility and transport strategies, rather than being thought about in isolation. It is also advised that the needs of all centre stakeholders should be taken into account when devising car parking plans and strategies, since a one-size-fits-all approach is ineffective. Local leaders and policy-makers should therefore question what and who is our parking for?