The analysis of workplace parking charges and their effects on business
decisions with respect to reducing traffic levels
The objective of this research was to assess whether charging for workplace
parking is a feasible policy for reducing traffic levels and encouraging
modal change. Specifically the proposed method for implementing this
policy was the use of a bidding system to determine the charge structure
required in order to reduce the number of parking places by quantifiable
amounts. In such a system, companies state the price that they would
be willing to pay to keep 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% of their parking places.
The intended effect of the charging system would be that parking places
would be decommissioned by firms who were unwilling to pay the associated
charge and/ or there would be an increased cost of driving to work through
companies passing on the charges of retained parking places.
The data was collected using a questionnaires sent to 267 businesses
in Leeds and achieved a 13.6% response rate.
This thesis has assessed a method for calculating a workplace parking charging
structure. This was achieved through assessing the price that the
companies would be willing to pay to keep 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% of their
companies parking places. It is important that the local government
can assess exactly, the amount of parking places that will be reduced in
aggregate. This was achieved by setting charge levels of £50,
£300, £500, £1000, £3000 and £5000 and calculating
for each level of charge the number of car parking places each company
are implicitly declaring that they would decommission. Having calculated
these values for each company it is then possible to sum the total number
of parking places decommissioned across the sample at each charge level.
This was found to be the most precise method of calculating the charge
levels, although the major problem is that it is necessary for company
data to complete the process.
The differences in calculating the charging structure for companies from
different postcode regions in Leeds (LS1 vs. LS11), and for companies of
differing size, have also been analysed. The results are shown in
table 1. There is evidence in from this sample that the charge level
in the LS1 area (centre of Leeds) would have to be at a higher level than
in the LS11 postcode area in order to reduce total parking places by 25%.
It was found that the charge per parking place that would cause 25% of
parking places to be decommissioned for the larger companies (£300
per parking place) was found to be lower than for the smaller companies.
With the possible reason being that they have more parking places associated
with the firm.
Table 1. The relationships between charge level and total parking
The results for the charging structure showed that a £1000 charge
would have the greatest effect at reducing total percentage of parking
places in the ‘small’ companies, as compared to the other areas analysed.
It is important to note that different cities may have different responses
to the charges and that it is therefore important that any bidding process
would be re-run to re-calculate the charging structure in each specific
As can be seen from table 1, the decommissioning levels vary from group
to group. It is also the case the percentage decommissioning levels
vary from firm to firm within the groups (LS1, LS11, small companies and
large companies). This provides evidence for a need for a bidding
system, because this would allow firms with differing needs to react differently.
The research has indicated that a policy of workplace parking charges could
have an impact on the traffic levels if set at the right level. However,
if as certain companies stated, their workers would transfer to parking
on the surrounding streets then this would reduce the effectiveness of
the policy. The policy, in such cases, would not appear to be encouraging
The results have shown that this policy would have limited success in affecting
driver behaviour, as only 20% of the sample stated that they would pass
the cost of the parking charge onto their employees. Only 11.5% of
larger companies stated that they would pass on parking charges imposed
on the company to their workforce. This provides an indication that
it would be necessary to change driver’s habits through other means.
Another key issue highlighted by the research was the problem of companies
potentially relocating if the policy were implemented. It is noted
that this could have a detrimental effect on the local economy.
If companies are being encouraged to decommission all of their parking
places then it becomes important to consider the needs of ‘priority’ users
of cars for workplace parking. Two solutions to retaining an appropriate
number of priority spaces are firstly, to demand that the companies pay
the charge for certain numbers of parking places to be used for ‘priority’
users. Alternatively, as part of the bidding system the local government
would allow companies a set percentage of their parking places to be used
for priority users (and not make them pay for them). This research
has highlighted the importance of defining a ‘priority’ user. In
the questionnaire responses definitions ranged from Company Director to
disabled person. If the second of the proposed solutions where to
be implemented then it would be important that a fixed definition of what
a priority user was, be developed.