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Half of councils have problem parking areas, survey suggests

Some council officers regard ride-share and dockless bike hire schemes as a challenge, Passport polling indicates

24 September 2018
UK motorists amass a total of £570m in parking fines every year
UK motorists amass a total of £570m in parking fines every year

 

Over half of UK local authorities have parking problem areas and a third are experiencing an increase in illegal parking, according to a survey conducted for mobile payments specialist Passport. The sector review, carried out by Passport in partnership with survey VIGA, was designed to get a better understanding of the pressures faced by local authorities. It also reveals concerns over the impact of reduced local authority budgets and that new mobility modes such as ride-sharing and dockless cycle hire schemes are posing a challenge. 

The parking professionals' view

Interviews with 50 council workers employed within the parking sector indicates that:

  • Over half of councils (55%) admit there are problem parking areas in their cities
  • Almost one third (31%) of cities have reported an increase in illegal parking
  • More than a quarter of city councils (27%) say the rise of new modes of transport (such as ride-shares and dockless cycles) are causing problems
  • 37% of councils say there is inadequate funding for parking and public transportation programmes  
  • 43% of councils and local authorities indicated that train ridership has increased in the past year, while 67% said bus ridership is down.

The public’s opinion

The research project also looked at the general public’s experience of parking. The survey of 1,000 people found UK motorists amass a total of £570m in parking fines every year and 83% of drivers report that parking machines do not work when needed. (The £570m figure for PCN costs was based on responses from a smaller subset of 185 UK motorists within the 1,000 motorists surveyed.)

Developing digital responses

“As populations grow, traffic management within urban environments is becoming increasingly important,” says Bob Youakim, co-founder and chief executive at Passport.

“While it starts with parking, mobile ticketing for transit, cashless tolling and the issuing of digital permits are critical to reducing congestion, regulating traffic flows and improving urban living in a way that meets the digital-first nature of today’s citizens. Public and private sector organisations have the opportunity to embrace a new approach to transport management, one that combines policy, infrastructure and technology.”

Parking right

The Passport survey was published to coincide with the opening of the US-based company’s new London office. Passport is active in the parking transportation sectors. Its product range includes mobile payments for parking, mobile ticketing for transit, mobile cashless tolling and digital permits, as well as parking enforcement systems.

“The pressure on Britain’s roads and transport systems has never been greater,” says Adam Warnes, vice president of UK operations at Passport. “Congestion is at an all time high and drivers are increasingly frustrated at the competition for kerbside space. At Passport, we want to equip those responsible for planning, managing and enforcing parking and public transportation with a scalable platform that meets the needs of commuters while improving back office efficiencies for councils.”

Warnes believes that Passport’s suite of technologies offers something new to UK local authorities. “By delivering tailored solutions to local governments and private organisations, Passport is providing the UK with an end-to-end mobility platform that has yet to be seen in the market,” he says.

Passport’s expansion into the UK follows it taking over delivery of the mobile cashless payment programme with Westminster City Council, where Warnes was previously head of parking. In 2017, Passport worked with the council to develop ParkRight, a parking app that includes a vehicle-based pricing structure targeting diesel operated vehicles. “Within the first two weeks from launch, ParkRight surpassed the council’s legacy app’s utilisation through its improved user experience, effortless on-boarding and easy payment flow,” says Warnes.

Vicky Nock, the new head of parking for Westminster City Council, says: “It’s our top priority to ensure a thriving, safe and clean environment for our citizens. For this to be realised, we must engage directly with them to meet their needs and address their questions. Effective transport and traffic management is an essential part to champion air quality, relieve congestion and ensure a frictionless driving and parking experience. 

“Passport has enabled us to do this through an intuitive application that supports vehicle-based pricing structure for parking. Passport has helped us support our clean air initiative and deliver quick and easy parking for all.” 

Passport’s global headquarters are in Charlotte, North Carolina, where it has around 200 employees. The company’s ‘mobile-first’ platform has been adopted by around 500 cities, universities and private operators around the world in cities including London, Chicago, Miami and Toronto. Passport is backed by a group of investors including Bain Capital Ventures, Grotech Ventures, MK Capital and Relevance Capital. 

 
 
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