The role of market research and consultation in developing parking policy
There is a demonstrable link between parking availability, price and mode choice, and parking policy has been shown to be a powerful demand management tool. Parking however is clearly an area of policy conflict since using it to manage demand may reduce revenue generation, or (be perceived to) damage the local economy. In terms of on-street and off-street parking there are a wide range of users who often have conflicting opinions, which have to be taken into account in its management, invariably leading to parking policies and measures that do not maximise the demand management potential of parking. This paper presents a range of public and business opinion data, from the case study of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, collected as part of the consultation for its parking strategy in 2005-2006. The strategy covers a wider geographical area than simply the city centre, and whilst this paper makes reference to this wider area it primarily deals with the city centre since that is where the majority of the parking strategy issues are to be found. After setting the policy and political context, the paper goes on to present these data. It then shows how the city's parking policies were changed in response to the consultation. These policy changes are compared with parking policies that would solely manage travel demand, to demonstrate how the political process leads to compromise in the formulation of parking policies and measures.
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