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Mobility Measure

Introducing an integrated parking tariff scheme

The MIRACLES pricing strategy was based on graduated price discounts depending on vehicle emissions, with electric and hybrid vehicles eligible for free parking.

Implementing sustainable mobility

At the time of measure implementation, Winchester City Council operated almost 3,000 city-centre parking spaces, plus a 760-space park & ride facility on the outskirts of the city. The council’s parking policy encouraged commuters to use the park & ride sites, allowing tourists and shoppers access to city-centre parking. Prior to the MIRACLES project, the majority of parking spaces were controlled via a pay and display system.

In partnership with MIRACLES, the City Council carried out a parking review in 2004, covering all parking policies, including charges. As part of the review it was agreed that the take-up of environmentally friendly vehicles should be supported and encouraged, and that other (high-emission) vehicles should be encouraged to use the park and ride facilities.

The specific objectives were therefore to:

  • develop and promote an environmentally based parking policy; and
  • reward drivers of cleaner vehicles, whilst discouraging gross polluters from entering Winchester city centre.

How did the measure progress?

MIRACLES developed a pricing strategy that was designed to encourage greater use of park and ride facilities by reducing the number of city-centre long-stay spaces and raising the price of city-centre parking, while charges at park and ride facilities remained low.

The strategy included graduated price discounts, based on a vehicle’s carbon dioxide emissions, as defined by the United Kingdom’s Vehicle Excise Duty bands. In addition, electric or hybrid vehicles were eligible for free parking. By the end of the project, the following discounts on season tickets for long-stay car parks were available:

  • tax band/category A, emissions up to 100 g/km ⎯ 75 percent discount;
  • tax band/category B, emissions between 101 and 120 g/km ⎯ 50 percent discount; and
  • battery electric or hybrid vehicles, emissions N/A ⎯  free of charge.

 

The scheme was officially launched in September 2004 and was incorporated within the City Council’s Air Quality Action Plan.

There were also plans to install automatic number plate recognition technology at “pay on foot” car parks, allowing discounted tariffs to be assigned on an ad hoc basis for drivers without season tickets. However, technical and operational problems meant that this function could not be added to the system within the timescale of MIRACLES.

An additional aspect of the project was to offer people renewing their city-centre season tickets the option of testing the park and ride service for free, for two weeks.

Detailed surveys were undertaken to gauge public opinion of the environmentally linked pricing strategies and parking data were collected.

What were the outcomes of the measure?

Of the 359 vehicles issued with a season ticket at participating car parks, 11 percent took up a discount as of March 2006.

Some 51 city-centre season ticket holders participated in the two-week trial of park and ride facilities. Of these, 92 percent did not renew their city-centre season ticket, implying that they continued to use the park and ride service.

During the project lifetime, ticket sales at the seven busiest city-centre car parks decreased by 16 percent, while sales of tickets at park and ride sites increased by 43 percent.

Revenue at city-centre car parks increased by 11 percent due to general price increases, and by 6 percent at park and ride sites due to the rise in ticket sales.

At 75 percent, the level of awareness of the scheme among the target group was good, with 58 percent agreeing with the scheme and 31 percent stating that the discounts would encourage them to purchase a more environmentally friendly car in the future.