Major initiatives that will improve the way in which various aspects of public parking is managed and planned were unveiled at the Traffic + Parking conference, which was held at the Manchester Conference Centre on 15 November 2023.
The event saw the unveiling of a new repository of traffic and parking appeals, an introduction to the Park Active standard for accessible car parks, and a first look at the Transport Planning Society’s new parking policy strategy. There were also in-depth explorations of the Blue Badge scheme, updates on the National Parking Platform and a debate on the government’s Plan for Drivers.
Laura Padden, director, PATROL (Parking and Traffic Regulation Outside London) started the day with a keynote address in which she stressed the importance of local authorities engaging with communities and stakeholders in order to gain consent for parking enforcement, the regulation of moving traffic regulations and implementation of clean air schemes.
Caroline Hamilton, chief adjudicator of Traffic Penalty Tribunal, provided a first look at an innovative project called Traff-iCase. This is a database bringing together key case reports on appeals cases heard by the Traffic Penalty Tribunal, London Tribunals and the Transport Appeals Service for Scotland.
Speaking from the front line, Michael Wiktorko, service area manager, parking enforcement, London Borough of Hackney provided an insight into how the council has created a new parking enforcement team. The service had been outsourced for over 20 years, but has been taken back in-house. The council’s team has now taken responsibility for both front line and back office functions. The team covers kerbside and off-street parking, moving traffic and bus lane restrictions, and tackles abandoned and untaxed vehicles.
The Blue Badge scheme is a lifeline for people who depend on cars as a means of accessing town centres and essential services. Paul Slowey, founder of fraud investigation service BBFI, chaired a session exploring ways of improving accessible parking provision and tackling problems such as fraud and misuse of Blue Badges.
Park Access is a brand new accreditation that aims to become recognised throughout the whole of the UK for accessible and inclusive parking and electric vehicle charging facilities.
Graham Footer, chief executive, of Disabled Motoring UK, and Sara Fisher, head of operations and business development at the British Parking Association, explained how Park Access will enable everyone, regardless of their accessibility needs, to identify car parks and facilities, such as EV chargepoints, that they can use with ease.
On Friday 26 May 2023, over 80 local authorities came together to work collectively on a National Blue Badge Enforcement Day of Action. The day was organised, coordinated and led by Lambeth, with the support of London Councils. Tom Gallagher, Lambeth’s parking investigations and highway enforcement manager, set out how the day worked and plans for the future.
Joanne Lewis, parking process investigation manager at the London Borough of Haringey explained how the council developed a virtual Resident Blue Badge Holder Permit to allow holders to park in non-dedicated parking bays, residential, shared use and pay-by-phone parking bays. Meanwhile, its new Blue Badge Checker is used by compliance and process investigation officers and civil enforcement officers to undertake Blue Badge operations around the north London borough.
Andrew Potter, director of Parking Perspectives, set out a range of positive policies for planning and managing parking that has been developed for the Transport Planning Society (TPS). Just the Ticket! identifies that parking happens all over the country, and affects most people who drive. Rules and laws about parking, and charging, are already established and accepted, so the TPS argues that parking presents a ready-made policy tool by which people’s trip-making choices can be influenced.
While electric vehicles (EVs) mostly have less environmental impact than petrol and diesel vehicles, they nevertheless cause pollution through the release of tiny particulates from the brakes and tyres. EVs also contribute to congestion and take up road space. Rubena Hafizi, assistant director, parking services at Islington, and Christian Constantinides, managing director, Smart Transport Hub, discussed a scheme that ensures electric vehicle drivers pay their fair share. Islington Council has introduced UK’s first multi-band parking permit scheme for EVs with the aim of cutting private car ownership and encouraging active travel.
Consultations on changes to parking provision are notoriously challenging and sensitive, with consultation data often the subject of great debate among officers, members, and the public alike. Steph Bortoli, head of communications and engagement at Project Centre, looked at how to use and present consultation data to support evidence-based decision-making on parking projects and policies. Focussing specifically on Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ), she explained how Project Centre has been increasing CPZ consultation response rates and is using data dashboards to support better decision-making and to plan and accelerate the roll-out of CPZ programmes.
The UK government’s Plan for Drivers seeks to re-shape the way in which traffic and parking policies are implemented and managed at a local level. The plan sets out to improve the experience of driving and services by delivering: smoother journeys; stopping unfair enforcement; making parking easier; cracking down on inconsiderate driving; and helping the transition to zero-emission driving. Transport secretary Mark Harper hopes to achieve these aims by curbing the blanket imposition of measures such as 20mph zones and low traffic neighbourhoods. The Plan for Drivers also supports the provision of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and wants to make it easier for drivers to pay for parking by rolling out the National Parking Platform.
Ollie Miller, technical director, WSP, led a discussion with a panel comprising Dan Hubert, chief executive officer of AppyWay, consultant Nick Lester-Davis, Anjna Patel MBE, chair of British Parking Association, and Rob Shoebridge, traffic and transportation group manager at Derby City Council.
The panel felt the parking sector already has a strong track record of developing and delivering parking policies and technologies that meet challenges such as reducing emissions and improving road safety, while also supporting the needs of local communities and businesses. They did not endorse the waging of culture wars.
The National Parking Platform (NPP) is a scheme that will allow drivers paying for parking to use their choice of app, rather than whatever app the local council has signed an exclusive contract with.
Keith Williams of Parking Matters explained how the Department for Transport has funded a pilot since 2021. Starting in Manchester, and now encompassing several early adopters.
Parking payment platform RingGo has been an advocate of the NPP. Peter O’Driscoll, managing director of RingGo, said NPP provides the foundation for an open market which allows multiple phone parking providers to operate alongside each other. He said this will encourage competition and enable motorists to choose their preferred parking app.
O’Driscoll’s proposition prompted a lively discussion about harnessing NPP, with advocates including Ken Prior, head of parking at Liverpool City Council, and Dan Hubert of AppyWay, while a somewhat sceptical note was sounded by Paul Moorby OBE, chief executive officer of Chipside.
Having listened to the NPP debate, Alan Wood, chief executive of the National Persistent Evader Database (NPED), said he saw value in the idea of making it easier for law-abiding drivers to find and pay for parking easily. Meanwhile, Wood said he will identify the miscreants and scofflaws who flout the rules.
Programmed by Parking Review and organised by Landor LINKS, Traffic + Parking is an annual conference discussing topical policy developments, operational best practice and technological changes.
Traffic + Parking hosted a series of insightful presentations on harnessing technology
Digitising Traffic Regulation Orders
Kent County Council has worked in partnerships with its districts to create a system of standardised digital Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) which displays all traffic restrictions in a web and map-based format on the Parkmap platform that is accessible to both the public and borough civil enforcement teams.
Alexis Newport, head of traffic order consultancy services, Buchanan Order Management
Directing parking enforcement in real-time
The Dispatch system provides civil enforcement with real-time intelligence gathered by mobile ANPR units directly to their handheld device, identifying vehicles parked in contravention and displaying a mapped location for immediate follow-up.
Nigel Coltman, general manager, Egis
Creating efficiencies with parking software
Parking companies and local authorities can connect their payment, permit and camera systems to more efficiently manage their car parks and the kerbside.
Flo Ermeje, account manager, Unity5
Creating solutions that meet local needs
The Known Vehicle List is a way of ensuring compliant vehicles enter area-wide road management schemes, including 20mph Zones, School Streets, Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and Zero Emission Zones.
Dean Fennell-Connell, sales director, UK parking and public safety, Conduent Transportation
Using AI to answer PCN queries
Voice Master is a PCN helpline that harnesses artificial intelligence (AI) to handle calls from the public about penalty charge notices. The system advises callers like an expert human, ensuring that everyone – whatever their digital or literacy skills – can access the help they need.
Jason Barbour, managing director, Barbour Logic
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