A key challenge with parking in cities is the lack of adequate regulation of street parking that contributes to chaos and congestion. Traditionally, city governments have responded to this challenge by building additional parking supply through off-street enclosing parking spaces and Multi-level parking lots. However, these policies have been challenged in recent years. There is an increasing trend globally towards shifting from promoting unlimited supply of new parking lots to restraining parking demand and regulating personal vehicle usage.
In India, the National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP) in 2014 had taken on board the principle of demand management. As part of this policy, legal public parking spaces were to be earmarked and limited, along with pricing being designed to restrain unregulated usage of parking spaces. The NUTP even recommended a graded scale of parking fees to recover the economic cost of land use for parking.
What is Parking Area Management Plan (PAMP)?
Since the NUTP, cities in recent years have been encouraged to develop a Parking Area Management Plan (PAMP) to create area-wide parking strategies as opposed to the traditional model of fixing parking spaces in just a few congested locations. The PAMP is described by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in their study ‘Pampering Cities – How to Manage Urban India’s Parking Needs’ as taking an integrated approach to parking management. Some key elements of the PAMP could include:
– defining the area boundaries for such a plan
– demarcation of legal parking areas based on surveys
– demarcation of short term and long term parking spaces
– no parking zones in the area
– promoting shared parking facilities
– separating sale of parking from properties to reflect true costs
– elimination of free parking and introduction of parking charges
– dynamic pricing based on peak and non-peak demand period
– introduction of residential parking permits
– parking needs of public transport vehicles
PAMPs are to be designed by local city governments based on multi-stakeholder discussions comprising local communities as well as parking lot owners and operators and the government agencies themselves. Delhi is among the cities that have taken a lead in implementing a PAMP. Other cities taking a lead in devising policies include Chandigarh, Pune, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru.
Parking Charges for on-street parking
A key element of the new parking policies is the introduction of parking charges for public on-street parking. The CSE study conducted a study in the Jasola area of Delhi and found some interesting findings which corroborate well propagated views of parking policy professionals and academics in recent years – that on-street parking needs to be priced and priced above off-street and building parkings.
The study revealed that in the absence of any pricing regulation, there was a high tendency to park on the street side rather than in off-street parking and private buildings even though parking capacity was available there. This is something that we at ValetEZ also recognize from our own on-field experiences in all the major Indian cities. The study also noted that most users perceived off-street parking to be safe and secure and were willing to pay a price for the same. Hence, the best way to regulate on-street parking usage was to set a price that was above that of off-street parking so that users would consider off-street parking as a preferred option.
The study also noted that on-street parking charges could be linked to peak and off-peak demand periods and helped regulate on-street parking and reduce congestion. In addition, on-street parking charges should be prohibitive for longer durations to discourage parking encroachments on the street. Residential permits for local communities could be introduced as an alternative mechanism to facilitate longer term parking for local residents. Restrictions on longer duration parking through prohibitive charges is also a well proven model in the central Brigade Road area of Bengaluru as observed from ValetEZ’s own parking presence in the area. The restrictions are especially suitable for CBD (Central Business District) and busy commercial areas.
Need for Technology
PAMPs will require greater technology adoption in the form of parking management systems, digital payments and metered parking solutions. The advances in parking management solutions available today make it far more viable to implement flexible and cost effective solutions which can operationalize PAMPs unlike in earlier times.
Implementing PAMPs can transform the state of road use and congestion in Indian cities. Along with bringing in a holistic approach to street parking management, the regulation of on-street parking will transform the opportunity for private parking owners and operators to innovate and offer parking solutions for commuters and citizens, creating a much more vibrant market based approach to solving a major city sustainability challenge.