Park & Ride

This measure was fully updated by THE URBAN PLANNING INSTITUTE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SLOVENIA (UIRS) in 2014 under the CH4LLENGE project, financed by the European Commission.


Park and ride is a form of integrated transport that allows private transport users to park their vehicles at a car park and travel into the city centre using a public transport mode. Park and ride sites are typically situated outside the urban areas of city centres, either remote from the city and close to the user’s home or (more typical in bus based schemes in the UK) on the edge of the urban area.  They are designed to relieve road congestion along the roads leading into and within the city centre itself. The public transport services at park and ride sites can be provided by rail, metro, light rail, tram or bus, and payment is made in one of the following ways:

  • Payment for parking alone
  • Payment for the public transport journey alone
  • Payment for both, either separately, or as a combined ticket
  • Payment for neither (unusual, but sometimes found for temporary park and sites for seasonal shopping or special events).

Sometime pricing is based per car rather than per passenger in order to make the service more attractive to travellers in groups.

The key objectives behind the development of park and ride services have been: 1) to cut congestion within city centres and along the approach roads to city centres; 2) to increase public transport usage and 3) to reduce the environmental externalities that have accompanied increasing traffic levels.

The cost recovery of park and ride services is very disappointing within the UK , with recent evidence revealing that only one scheme ( Brighton ) makes an operating surplus. Despite this the growth in park and ride sites has seen an upward trend, reflecting the success the schemes have had in reducing traffic levels within the urban areas.

There is some evidence that park and ride schemes may not always reduce total miles driven.  This is because some people who currently use public transport for their whole journey shift to park and ride and start to drive for some part of their trip (normally the longer part).  If park and ride schemes are poorly used, then buses serving them may add vehicle miles to already congested roads.  Even if park and ride schemes reduce traffic levels initially, without other measures to “lock-in” this traffic reduction, then in congested urban areas new traffic will be induced that quickly fills the roadspace available.  Finally, park and ride schemes offer relatively few parking spaces, in relation to the total trip making in a city or region, so that the proportion of total trips that they can physically intercept is limited.

This discussion and that in the previous paragraph shows that park and ride can best be introduced as part of a wider package of sustainable transport measures.

Park and Ride is a system that allows current private transport users to go to a car park, where they can park their vehicle and catch a form of public transport. In the majority of cases this occurs outside the city centre and is designed to relieve road congestion along the roads leading into the centre and at the same time reduce the amount of environmental externalities generated. In the UK local authority context the term park and ride tends to be synonymous with a car park served by buses but can also be used to describe car parks served by metro (e.g. Glasgow Underground), light rail (e.g. Tyne and Wear Metro), tram (e.g. Nottingham tram) and many suburban rail services, such as those serving all major UK cities.  Long distance park and ride is also seen at stations such as Bristol Parkway in the west of England, but this is not within the scope of this measure description within KonSULT.  Regional express bus based park and ride is seen at rural locations in the regions outside Malmö and Gothenburg in Sweden.

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Figure 1: Park and Ride Station

Terminology

The term "Park and Ride" refers to the ability of the driver to park their car on the Park and Ride car park and then ride the public transport into town. Another extension of the park and ride genre is "kiss and ride" by which a traveller is "dropped off" at the park and ride facility by a family member or friend. ‘Kiss and ride’ reduces the need for car parking but could create significant extra traffic if four car journeys are made for one return journey.  In the Netherlands and Sweden, park and ride is provided close to motorway junctions for semi-formal carpooling.

What makes Park and Ride work?

Park and ride aims to capture users from private car.  The park and ride journey should therefore be compared with that of private car and made as competitive as possible with it, in order to bring about as much mode shift as possible. A car journey “costs” the driver journey time, including parking search time and time to walk from the car park to the final destination; the costs of running their car; and any parking charges at the destination.  A park and ride journey “costs” the total journey time, running costs and fares by car and public transport, plus parking search time and any cost at the park and ride site, plus the time spent waiting for the public transport service and walking from the car to the public transport stop at the park and ride, and from the stop in town to the final destination.  In addition, there is a cost associated with the inconvenience of diverting from one’s route into the park and ride site and having to interchange there.  Finally there may be a cost for a new user of the uncertainty associated with using a new service, the park and ride, that they have not used before. 

If all these costs of using park and ride are much more than the costs of driving into town then few people will use it.  If park and ride is to be successful, then, the relative costs of using it must be kept as low as possible, which can be done by ensuring that:

  • The public transport route is fast (so with high priority over other traffic), reliable and frequent – at least every 10-12 minutes for urban park and ride.
  • The (perceived) cost of using park and ride is lower than that of fuel, time and parking costs for driving to centre, for single drivers, but also for groups.
  • Over time, parking – both PNR and public parking – in the centre is reduced in quantity and increased in price relative to park and ride.
  • Easy access from the main road network to park and ride and, preferably, priority exits to/from the park and ride for public transport vehicles.
  • Capacity is great enough to cater for demand; but not so great that walking distances from furthest parts of the car park are excessive (which ultimately demands parking structures, which can be very expensive). 
  • Security for passengers and cars is very high.
  • Waiting facilities at the site and the city end of the service are of high quality, as are vehicles.
  • High quality information is provided on and off the public transport service, including real time information about public transport and car journey times to the city centre on roads approaching the park and ride.
  • Clear “branding” of the vehicle and stops so that it is easy to find the service back from the city to the park and ride.

Why introduce park and ride?

The primary reasons for introducing Park and Ride are to:

  • reduce congestion along roads leading into the city centre;
  • reduce congestion within the city centre;
  • increase the market share for public transport;
  • reduce environmental externalities along roads leading to and within the city centre.

A number of secondary reasons can also be identified, these include:

  • raising revenues;
  • improving road safety; and
  • stimulating further growth in the business and tourist sectors without increasing transport externalities.

In certain cases a park and ride scheme will achieve all these objectives; more commonly a park and ride scheme will only achieve specific objectives.

Demand impacts

Park and ride is designed to give people a better alternative to their current form of travel by reducing the generalised cost of travel, e.g. reducing journey times or costs. In so doing there may be additional benefits such as a reduction in stress (not having to drive or find parking), increasing their productivity (can read on public transport) and aid the environment by reducing externalities.

A more contentious issue is what effect the services have had on traffic levels in the outer urban areas. Recent evidence suggests that some park and ride schemes have increased traffic levels through a combination of: 1) users changing route and driving further to reach the park and ride site; 2) existing bus users driving to the park and ride site; and 3) trip generation i.e. completely new trips being made because of the improved ease of travel. Whether this increase in traffic outside the urban areas is greater than the reduction within is still open to debate. Even if this were the case there may nonetheless be congestion relief and environmental benefits to be gained provided that the underlying congestion levels within the urban area are more acute than in the outer urban areas. On the other hand, if the roads in the urban area are highly congested then it is possible that any free road space in the urban area would soon be filled up so dramatically reducing any decongestion benefits of the scheme with the net effect simply being an increase in traffic outside the urban area to access the park-and-ride site. 

The traffic reducing impacts of park and ride should not be overestimated for a further reason: the relatively small number of trips in an urban area that park and ride can carry.  It we consider one urban area, Edinburgh, then – including park and ride capacity in Fife, to the north of the city – there are approximately 5,000 park and ride spaces in six park and ride sites outside the city’s outer ring road on all main radial routes into the city.  If we assume that these spaces are used by two cars per day (turnover will be low since by its nature park and ride is not for short term parking) and assume that the average occupancy of cars parking there is two people, and if we also make the somewhat heroic assumption that all spaces are occupied, then these sites deal with 40,000 trips per day.  In this region of a million people with a mode share of around 65% of trips by car, then there are about 2,000,000 car trips per day (3 trips by all modes per person per day), so the park and ride handles about 2% of these and transfers a part of them to public transport. 

The demand impacts are presented in the tables below.

Responses and situations
Response Reduction in road traffic Expected in situations
Set off earlier or later to catch bus, befitting timetable.
/ Rather than drive directly into city centre, drivers go to park and ride to catch the bus. This may involve a diversion but it is likely that car miles are reduced.
Add new flow of traffic to park and ride car park, rather than city centre, although ultimate destination is unchanged.
Possible element of trip generation (or substitution of short local walk trip with longer trip) as trip to city centre becomes easier.
/ Change from car to car and bus travel. May be able to leave car at home, and walk to park and ride. Also evidence of changing from bus to car and bus travel.
May actually encourage car ownership by making travel by car more attractive/easier.
Likely to make longer commutes more attractive and so encourage locating outside of town far from place of work.
= Weakest possible response = Strongest possible positive response
= Weakest possible negative response = Strongest possible negative response
= No response

A park and ride scheme will need high levels of patronage soon after opening unless significant subsidy is provided. A scheme will also need ongoing promotion especially if the turnover of users is high (changes in employment location etc).

Short and long run demand responses

Demand responses
Response -

1st year

2-4 years

5 years

10+ years

Change departure time either on basis of bus departure or overall journey length.
  Going to park and ride car park rather than directly to work.
  Possibility of changing shopping destination in the short-term and maybe even job location in the medium to longer term.
  Possible trip generation effect due to easier access to city centre.
  Car and cycle journeys transfer to public transport for more congested part of their journey. Also possibility of bus trips transferring to car for less congested part of journey. / / / /
  May encourage car ownership.
  May encourage locating further from place of work in less central location.
= Weakest possible response = Strongest possible positive response
= Weakest possible negative response = Strongest possible negative response
= No response

Supply impacts

Supply impacts are very different depending on where the park and ride is built:

  • At an existing stop or station on an existing public transport route (cheapest), as seen on suburban rail networks across Europe – for example, Garforth, to the east of Leeds in England.  Here, depending on land availability, park and ride provision can be gradually expanded to meet increasing demand.
  • As part of a new stop or station on an existing public transport route (moderate cost), also as seen on suburban rail networks, such as Steeton and Silsden, to the west of Leeds in England.
  • As an entirely new service and stop on a bus-based network public transport network, as in several historic cities in England.  Here, new bus services will run further out from the city than has previously been the case in order to serve the new park and ride site (high cost, because new vehicles and drivers are required).  This may mean that these new services compete with existing bus services on the radial route closer in to the city centre.  Bus-based park and ride services in many smaller and historic English cities are of this nature. 
  • A variant of the option above is an extension of an existing tram or bus route further out to the edge of the city in order to serve a new park and ride site, or the diversion of an existing bus service that already runs past the site into the site.  Examples include the tramline 4 in Graz, extended approximately 1.3 km from its previous terminus at Graz Liebenau to a new terminus at a park and ride at the Murpark shopping centre (cost in 2007 €14.7m including a 500 space park and ride site – see http://www.verbundlinie.at/service/502010/murpark.php); or the Sheriffhall and Straiton park and ride sites in Edinburgh, served by several existing 15 minute frequency bus services (see http://lothianbuses.com/plan-a-journey/park-and-ride). The diversion of existing bus services has the disadvantage that it slows journeys for passengers already on the bus; extension and diversion both mean that for those using the park and ride travel into the city will not be particularly speedy unless the existing service is an express bus or a tram. 
  • As part of an entirely new public transport scheme, such as the Nottingham tram in England, which has several park and ride stops but where these are intended to form part of a much broader public transport scheme (very high cost).

All options require access routes for at least cars, but in most cases these are also needed for public transport routes.  If possible priority (or even better entirely separate access) should be given to public transport services leaving and entering the site, as at Oxford’s Abingdon Rd and Headington sites, or Murpark in Graz, for example.  Land requirements are considerable: the British Parking Association (2005) estimates that for a brand new stand-alone site then 50-100 cars per hectare should be estimated.  The same guidance recommends a site of 500-700 spaces to ensure the viability of bus services (if these are entirely new and dedicated to the site), equating to up to 10 hectares of land.

Financing requirements

These will differ depending on the size of the park and ride scheme that is implemented and also whether or not it can be serviced by existing public transport services. The area of land and its distance from the city/town centre will affect the cost of its purchase as well as the cost of developing the land into a car park of sufficient size and quality. Operational costs (vehicle and drivers) will differ depending upon the type of public transport used to serve the facility and the extent to which existing services can be used to serve the park and ride.  It should be noted that park and ride sites can sometimes be funded in part from contributions from developers of new land (this approach has been used in York, England for example) and that locating some land uses at the park and ride site can help to increase passenger numbers and therefore fares income, since it balances flows of passengers on the public transport service – not just into town in the morning and back in the afternoon, but both ways all the time. 

Example of costs for investments in park and rides are as follows:

  • Ferrytoll Park and Ride, Fife, Scotland – this park and ride was doubled in size from 500 to 1040 spaces in 2003 at a cost of £8.75m (around €11m), including land costs.  This high cost was because the constrained nature of the site required a parking structure to be built. (City of Edinburgh Council, 2002.)  All bus services serving the site are operated commercially and it is a very interesting example because it has become a hub for regional bus services linking Fife and northeast Scotland to Edinburgh, and also to Edinburgh Airport and to areas to the west of Edinburgh (see http://www.ferrytoll.org/htmlpages/routes.html#routes).
  • Hermiston Park and Ride, Edinburgh, Scotland -  this originally 550 space surface park and ride cost around €3.5m to build in 2005, including land costs.  Bus services are provided commercially by the local operator Lothian Buses and no direct subsidy is required.  Since May 2014 the site has also been served by tram which is operationally linked to Lothian Buses through an umbrella company called Transport Edinburgh.

Nexus (2010) cite research by TAS (2007) on formal bus based park and ride schemes in Britain that suggest that these required, in that year, some £13m (around €17m) per year in subsidy.  The most heavily subsidised is Norwich, at £1.8m per year, and the least is York, which is so successful that the operator pays the city council £120,000 per year for the right to operate the scheme.  In the City of Durham, England, the park and ride service makes a loss but it is run by the council’s parking department and cross-subsidised from city centre parking income.  These directly subsidised bus services often compete with and provide a cheaper and faster service than the commercial bus services on the same route further into the city centre.  However, this is a product of Great Britain’s (outside London) deregulated bus system and is not of direct relevance to other EU countries with the possible exception of Sweden, given that it made deregulated services legally possible in 2012.

In many other parts of Europe, and for rail based park and ride everywhere, it is difficult to disaggregate the operating costs of park and ride since these are subsumed within the overall subsidy for public transport within a city or region. 

Expected impact on key policy objectives

Contribution to objectives

Objective

Scale of contribution

Comment

  / May reduce traffic congestion and delays in the urban area. Perhaps also park and ride represents a means of introducing car drivers to the possibility of using public transport. On the other hand the scheme may simply encourage non-car drivers to purchase a car.
  / If road traffic is reduced in urban areas this is likely to reduce community severance, local air pollution, noise pollution and perceptions of danger. In the longer term traffic may well be increased in the site’s catchment zone.
  / Reduces noise pollution, local air pollution and CO2 emissions in urban areas but may lead to an increase in the site's catchment zone.
  / If the park and ride service serves non park-and-ride sites then it may lead to improved accessibility for the socially excluded. On the other hand, if resources are diverted from socially necessary services to pay for the park-and-ride then social exclusion may well be increased.
  Unlikely to have any significant benefits or disbenefits
  Lower congestion may increase productivity and better accessibility improve city centre retail.
  Most schemes in the UK require operating subsidy; Edinburgh, Brighton, York and Oxford are current (2014) exceptions.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Expected impact on problems

For bus based park and ride, the scale of contribution is enormously dependent on the ridership of the park and ride.  A successful park and ride with well-used buses will contribute positively, but an empty park and ride service will increase pollution, congestion and other problems. The table below has been completed on the premise that the park and ride is successful in reducing car use.  To maximise the chances of park and ride being a success in this way, see “What makes park and ride work?”, above.

Contribution to alleviation of key problems

Problem

Scale of contribution

Comment

Congestion

Most schemes have been shown to cut vehicle km travelled by some extent, though this depends on the specific circumstances of the scheme.  In longer term congestion benefits may be eroded by induced traffic.

Community impacts No major advantages or disadvantages.
Environmental damage

Can realise significant pollution/air quality benefits especially in sensitive city centres if scheme is designed in such a way and a location that it reduces vehicle km travelled.  Location of site, sometimes in sensitive greenbelt areas, must be weighed against this.

Poor accessibility Introduction of newer high quality buses can improve micro accessibility for disabled people.  Well designed park and ride should improve macro accessibility by increasing the catchment population that can reach a city centre within a certain journey time.
Social and geographical disadvantage

No major negative or positive impacts, unless subsidy for park and ride public transport reduces available budget for public transport services for socially disadvantaged areas/people.

Accidents No major negative or positive impacts.
Economic growth If park and ride improves perceived or actual city centre accessibility this should lead to economic development benefits.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Expected winners and losers

Winners and losers

Group

Winners / losers

Comment

Large scale freight and commercial traffic

Reduced congestion on roads allows quicker travel.

Small businesses

Possible benefits from easier journey to work using the scheme and/or reduced congestion.

High income car-users

Possible benefits from easier journey to work using the scheme and/or reduced congestion.
Low income car-users with poor access to public transport Dedicated bus based park and ride may divert resources away from subsidizing other socially necessary bus services.  Other options will tend to have neutral effect, although in long term if park and ride improves viability of public transport, all users benefit from improved service.
All existing public transport users Beneficial in short term as service improves.  In long term if park and ride improves viability of public transport, all users benefit from improved service – virtuous circle.

People living adjacent to the area targeted

Direct benefit of improved service from dedicated bus based park and ride.

Cyclists including children

No direct impact; will benefit if scheme reduces traffic levels in more central areas.

People at higher risk of health problems exacerbated by poor air quality

Small benefit from reduced car km in sensitive areas.

People making high value, important journeys

Benefit from reduced congestion.

The average car user

Benefit from reduced congestion and increased option value.
= Weakest possible benefit = Strongest possible positive benefit
= Weakest possible negative benefit = Strongest possible negative benefit
= Neither wins nor loses

Barriers to implementation

Scale of barriers
Barrier Scale Comment
Legal Sufficient land and access rights are needed. For example, in the UK if the total scheme is projected to cost over £5 million then a public enquiry is required.
Finance Investment and operating costs are not insignificant especially for new dedicated park and ride, and for parking structures.  However, bulk of evidence suggests schemes generate new public transport patronage, so in long term there is a good chance to repay much of this investment. 
Governance Governance issues arise if park and ride site is located outside local authority area of city that it serves; if public transport operator is not controlled by city but city funds and builds infrastructure; or if subsidy for park and ride is required from city centre parking income.  Otherwise straightforward.
Political acceptability Usually popular politically.
Public and stakeholder acceptability May be concerns with creating a large car park on the outskirts of a town. Significant ongoing subsidy required for dedicated bus based park and ride funded by taxpayers may also fuel opposition.  However, park and ride is popular with public – opinion survey in UK found that 80% of people questioned thought more P&R was needed.
Technical feasibility No major technical feasibility issues.
= Minimal barrier = Most significant barrier

In this section case studies are presented to demonstrate the empirical evidence of the use of Park and Ride schemes as policy instruments.  It is very important to note that many of the data presented here are from English dedicated bus-based park and ride schemes where new high frequency bus services have been provided, often better and cheaper than existing services.  Park and ride that relies on existing public transport, as in many other EU countries, is likely to demonstrate fewer perverse impacts simply because no new public transport service is required and so little or no new public transport mileage is added.  Abstraction may still occur, however, as passengers drive to and park at metro or tram stops instead of taking feeder bus services.

CROW (2004) present a review of the planning, operation and performance of park and ride schemes in the UK, Germany and France.  Unfortunately, because the report relies on many different local reports and on interviews, very little comparable data is available about the performance of the schemes.  The report does highlight differing approaches to park and ride in the three countries: large (700-1500 space) bus based park and ride sites with dedicated services in the UK; many small (20-150 space) sites on existing tram and metro lines in Germany; and middle sized (250-500 space) sites on new tram lines in France, as part of a package of measures within a city’s sustainable urban mobility plan (PDU).  It also provides useful figures on the total numbers of park and ride spaces in different cities, as well as supporting the “What makes park and ride work?” section of this KonSULT measure description, above.

Much of the evaluation data in CROW (2004) is taken from the Atkins (1998) report presented here later, but it also has the following figure from Germany.  This shows higher levels of public transport abstraction and lower levels of mode shift from car than at the smaller number of larger park and ride sites in the UK.  (The brown bars are those who formerly drove, the green those who previously used public transport for the whole journey, and the yellow those who previously used a different park and ride.  The vertical axis shows the percentage of park and ride users falling into each category.  As this often does not sum to 100%, it suggests that as in the UK, German park and ride is generating new trips and/or that it has been in place for so long that users cannot remember what they did previously).

Figure 1 origins of German park and ride users, from CROW (2004:31).
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More detailed evidence on performance reviewed here is as follows.  A summary of an Atkins report containing analysis of several sites in the UK including is presented. A re-evaluation of the Atkins case studies by Parkhurst (2000) is then described.   Meek, Enoch and Ison (2008) reviewed both the previous studies as well as a number of other ones, and their work is also presented.  Finally, results from a Dutch study (Mingardo, 2013) are presented.

The Travel Effects of Park and Ride Atkins

A report by WS Atkins and the government department ()DETR published in September 1998 studied the effects of Park and Ride systems in Brighton, Cambridge Coventry, Norwich, Plymouth, Reading, Shrewsbury and York. Each site was visited and discussions were held with local authorities, car park and bus service operators and city centre managers as appropriate. Questionnaire surveys based upon the behaviour and views of Park and Ride users were carried out in each of the sites, with a second post back questionnaire used in six of the eight sites for non-users of the park and ride. This would help separate the views of these two groups. Overall 1,479 of the questionnaires were returned (25%).
Results found showed that:

  • Non-users and users were of a similar age and trip purpose;
  • Over two thirds of users were female, with non-users being an even split;
  • Half of users use the Park and Ride at least once a week;
  • 85% of people drive to the Park and Ride, 11% walk, 2% are dropped off and 1% cycle;
  • 92% of non-users know about the alternative possibility of Park and Ride; and
  • 21% of users drive less than 2km to the site, indicating the potential for access by cycling or walking;
  • 16% of those questioned said that they would not have made the journey had the Park and Ride been unavailable;
  • Trip generation is high, particularly in Brighton (18%), Coventry (21%) and Reading (18%).

The study found that private car mileage did experience a net decrease from the use of Park and Ride facilities and the value of the decrease varied from site to site. The reduction in traffic was more significant in cities that also employed transport strategies that aim to remove long stay car parking in the centre and move it to the Park and Ride site; this effect was noted in York and Cambridge. This policy in York and Cambridge is helping to make it viable to increase the number of park-and-ride sites so decreasing potential diversion distance over time.
Other conclusions were:

  • Consideration should be given for the provision of enhanced facilities for pedestrians and cyclists to encourage a modal shift in the case of short access trips,
  • Bus abstraction will be experienced in areas where Park and Ride competes against local bus services,
  • Park and Ride sites situated further from the centre allow for greater savings of mileage, although suitable sites to counteract the need for diversion on radial routes are ideal,
  • Diversionary trips can be reduced further by comprehensive policies which include the location of Park and Ride sites on all key routes.

Reasons for non-users to avoid Park and Ride were perceived speed, ease of driving directly into the centre, proposed length of stay and limited mobility. Conversely, cost, convenience, reliability, frequency, difficulty in parking and faster journey time were the reasons given by users for why they switched to Park and Ride. Of these factors, the non-users and users pointed to cost and journey time being the most likely to influence their decision on whether to switch to Park and Ride or not.

Contribution to objectives

Contribution to objectives
Objective Scale of contribution Comment
  The study found clear evidence that the park and rides reviewed were leading to reduced vehicle km in congested urban areas.
  A reduction in traffic in urban areas during the peak in particular is likely to reduce air and noise pollution and perceptions of danger. The benefits may be partially negated by the increase in traffic in the scheme's catchment area.
  The net reduction in overall vehicle kilometres (urban plus nonurban) that was found at the sites monitored will lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions as long as the freed road space is not simply filled with traffic transferring from other modes (induced) and newly generated trips.
  No comment possible.
  There were no data directly reported on the impact on accidents.
  / Not directly reported.
  Operating subsidy required in every case but one.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Parkhurst 1999 and 2000

A study by Parkhurst (2000) reviewed the work of Atkins for the DETR and offered an alternative appraisal of the same eight park and ride sites by separating the analysis into urban and outer-urban components. Parkhurst considered three types of traffic increase: 1) drivers who are intercepted detouring to reach park and ride sites; 2) passengers switching from existing public transport services; and 3) drivers making additional trips.

Some of Parkhurst's key findings supported the Atkins report, whilst others contradicted it. These are presented below along with supporting tables.

a) Impact On Urban Areas

The reduction in car vehicle kms is greater than the additional car-equivalent distance run by park and ride bus services in seven of the eight case studies. Bus kilometres are weighted by 2.5 compared to car to reflect the buses’ increased impact per kilometre on congestion, road wear and the environment. In Coventry the additional bus traffic was 2.6 car kms greater per intercepted car, whilst in the remaining seven case studies the reduction in car kms per intercepted car ranged from 1.1 (in Brighton) to 6 in Shrewsbury. Whether this actually results in such a reduction is dependent on the extent to which freed up road space is filled by additional urban traffic.

Changes in Traffic in urban area Per Intercepted Car (car kms)


Urban Area

Change in car-equivalent
km per car intercepted

Cost per car-km intercepted (£)

Brighton

-1.1

n/a

Cambridge

-5.0

0.53

Coventry

+2.6

traffic increase

Norwich

-4.3

0.36

Plymouth

-4.3

0.37

Reading

-3.0

0.42

Shrewsbury

-6.0

0.12

York

-5.8

0.02

b) Impact On Outer Urban Areas

Results presented in the table below (column 3) suggested an increase in traffic outside the urban area in all eight case studies as the result of intercepted drivers detouring to reach park and ride sites, passengers switching from existing public transport services and drivers making additional trips. The first impact (detouring) can add between 1.5 car kms (Reading) and 6 car kms onto the outer urban journeys of intercepted car drivers. The second impact (modal switch) adds between 3.4 car kms (Coventry) to 20.5 car kms (Norwich) per intercepted car. The third impact (generated trips) increases car kms per intercepted car by between 4.1 (Shrewsbury) and 25.7 (Norwich).

c) Net Impact on Traffic Growth

The net impact on traffic growth is to increase traffic on the road network overall for each case study by between 0.9 (Shrewsbury) and 20.7 (Norwich) car kms per intercepted car.

Changes in Traffic Per Intercepted Car (car kms)


Urban area

Change in traffic within urban area

Change in traffic outside urban area

Net change

Brighton
Cambridge
Coventry
Norwich
Plymouth
Reading
Shrewsbury
York

-1.1
-5.0
+2.6
-4.3
-4.3
-3.0
-6.0
-5.8

+7.9
+13.8
+6.7
+25.0
+9.1
+7.5
+6.9
+8.5

+6.7
+8.8
+9.3
+20.7
+4.8
+4.4
+0.9
+2.7

Parkhurst concludes, “Urban-fringe bus-based park and ride provided with dedicated bus services is better described as a policy of car traffic redistribution than a policy of car traffic reduction”.

d) Benefits of Traffic Transfer From Urban to Outer Urban Areas

This will be beneficial where urban congestion and/or environmental externalities in the urban areas are more acute than in the outer urban areas. There might however be greater urbanisation around the park and ride catchment area.

e) Costs and Revenues      

After comparing the annualised operating costs & capital costs with revenue from user charges only one scheme (Brighton) was estimated to cover its costs, whilst the others required a subsidy per car intercepted that ranged from £0.11 (York) to £5.87 (Coventry). In terms of subsidy cost per intercepted car km these ranged from £0.02 (York) to £0.53 (Cambridge).

Capital and Operating Costs of Park and Ride Sites


Urban Area

Annualised

Annual

 

Capital Costs (£)

Operational Costs (£)

Bus-km Operated

Brighton
Cambridge
Coventry
Norwich
Plymouth
Reading
Shrewsbury
York

32,000
272,000
72,000
244,800
179,200
100,000
280,000
320,000

46,000
256,000
66,000
212,400
149,600
80,000
230,000
250,000

131,864
598,986
97,965
612,048
283,321
289,230
513,150
529,944

Urban Area

Annual

 

Cost per Operating Day (£)

 

Operational Costs of
Bus Services (£)

Total
Costs (£)

Brighton
Cambridge
Coventry
Norwich
Plymouth
Reading
Shrewsbury
York

171,423
778,682
127,355
795,662
368,317
375,999
667,095
688,927

249,423
1,306,682
265,355
1,252,862
697,117
555,999
1,177,095
1,098,927

802
4,202
853
4,028
2,242
1,788
3,785
3,534

Cost of Urban Traffic Interception Due to Park and Ride Per Weekday


Urban area

User-charge revenue (£)

Net Cost (surplus) (£)

Subsidy requirement per intercepted car (£)

Brighton
Cambridge
Coventry
Norwich
Plymouth
Reading
Shrewsbury
York

1282
2190
242
3105
1405
2174
2455
3405

(480)
2012
611
924
836
429
1330
129

none
2.65
5.87
1.56
1.59
1.28
0.70
0.11

Contribution to objectives

Contribution to objectives
Objective Scale of contribution Comment
  Overall vehicle kilometres increased in every case but were redistributed onto less congested roads that in the short term at least is probably more efficient. However, any efficiency gains will be negated if freed road space fills up in the urban area. It is notable that there was a net increase even in the towns that have a long-term policy to reduce parking in the town centre. With projected increases in traffic levels, the long-term effect may be simply to spread the congestion problem beyond the city boundary.
  Traffic reductions in all but one of the case studies in the urban area are likely to reduce noise, local air pollution and perceptions of danger. Problem has been moved to possibly less sensitive nonurban roads which may represent a net improvement.
  No direct evidence presented but it is possible that whilst overall vehicle kilometres have increased, because they are driven on less congested roads, in the short-term, emissions of CO2 and local pollutants may see a net decrease for some of the schemes studied.
  No evidence presented, impact difficult to judge.
  No direct evidence presented but likely reduction in accidents in urban area but an increase in nonurban area.
  Provides an attractive alternative for accessing shops and employment in the urban area and newly generated trips may boost the city centre. On the other hand the taxes required to support all but one of the schemes may restrict economic growth.
  All but one of the schemes run at a significant loss and are therefore a financial drain on the body that is responsible. There is also significant abstraction from existing public transport which may increase the subsidy requirement for those services.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Meek, Enoch and Ison (2008)

These researchers reviewed 15 studies from Britain and the USA, including the Atkins study considered previously.  Some 84 sites were reviewed in these studies, located in 25 areas – in the English cases these were all individual cities, but some North American studies looked at multiple sites in a county or region.  Evidence was available on the performance of some 14 English sites (so six more than in the Atkins study), and data were available from several studies for some cities, such as Oxford – Meek et al found four separate empirical studies of the effects of sites in this city.  All the sites reviewed had survey data from users to establish factors such as mode they had used previously, and what they would do if there were no park and ride.  On average 19% of users at the English sites had previously made their entire trip by public transport, and 62% had done so by car.  The equivalent figures for the North American studies were 27% and 41% (a more detailed breakdown of the results from these studies can be found in Pratt et al, 2004).

The authors did not report in detail the impact of each site on changes in vehicle km by bus and by car.  However, the simple average percentage who reported previously travelling by car was 60% in the Atkins (1998) study, compared to 62% for all the studies overall, so this suggests that the level of km reduction should also be similar.  They do however present a useful comparison of the vehicle km impacts of the same schemes reviewed by Atkins (1998) and Parkhurst (1999), which is reproduced here.  The rest of their paper is a discussion of the evidence that dedicated bus-based park and ride fulfils its policy objectives; they suggest that its beneficial impacts on congestion and the environment have probably been overstated, but that it brings beneficial economic development impacts to shopping centres by effectively providing more parking (albeit at a distance).  However, they point out that this gain may be at the expense of competing centres. 

Figure 2 – comparison of changes in distance travelled from two studies, reproduced from Meek et al (2008 – Table 2).
Fig 2  

Contribution to objectives

Contribution to objectives
Objective Scale of contribution Comment
  Overall vehicle kilometres were found to increase in several cases, suggesting that whilst there are congestion reduction benefits from park and ride in some cases, these have been overstated in the past.
  Given the increase in vehicle km from some schemes, there may be a negative impact on liveable streets.
  No direct evidence presented but it is possible that whilst overall vehicle kilometres have increased, because they are driven on less congested roads, in the short-term, emissions of CO2 and local pollutants may see a net decrease for some of the schemes studied.
  No evidence presented, impact difficult to judge.
  No direct evidence presented but likely reduction in accidents in urban area but an increase in nonurban area.
  Provides an attractive alternative for accessing shops and employment in the urban area and newly generated trips may boost the city centre. Cities with P&R schemes experience an improvement in accessibility giving them a competitive advantage over cities without.
  All but one of the schemes run at a significant loss and are therefore a financial drain on the body that is responsible. There is also significant abstraction from existing public transport which may increase the subsidy requirement for those services.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Mingardo, 2013 – Rotterdam and the Hague

Mingardo tried to repeat Parkhurst’s work but with reference to nine rail based park and rides ranging from 15 to 750 spaces in the Rotterdam and The Hague regions.  Some six of these were remote from the city centres out in the wider region; two were close to the edge of the city; and one was somewhere in between.  Some 738 users were surveyed to find out how they would have made their trip, had the park and ride not been in existence.  Postcode and average emissions data were used to calculate the effects of the park and ride passengers’ behaviour on CO2 and local emissions.

The majority of users (75-80% depending on the site) were travelling to get to work.  For the Rotterdam sites, over 80% were travelling to Rotterdam city centre.  For The Hague sites, trips were much more distributed across the Randstad region, with only about 30% to The Hague itself.  The levels of mode shift from car to park and ride were rather lower than the levels of mode shift from public transport for the whole trip, to park and ride.  Levels of abstraction from cycling to the public transport stop were also high.  Results varied from site to site, but for Rotterdam 23% moved from car, 30% from public transport, and 39% from bike.  There was more shift from another park and ride site in The Hague cases, which reduced the percentage who previously cycled to public transport, compared to Rotterdam.

The impacts on vehicle km travelled, air quality and CO2 emissions were as can be imagined from the foregoing survey results not positive in Rotterdam; but positive in the case of the sites in the Hague.  This is essentially because The Hague sites are remote from the final destination and close to users’ homes, so the additional car km caused by their use is relatively low and the bulk of the trip length is still made by public transport.  For the Rotterdam sites, the situation is the opposite, so the impacts of the park and rides on distance travelled and therefore pollution are negative.

Contribution to objectives

Contribution to objectives
Objective Scale of contribution Comment
  Overall vehicle kilometres were found to increase in one case and reduce in the other, suggesting that whilst there are congestion reduction benefits from park and ride in some cases, these have been overstated in the past.  Park and ride sites intercepting users close to their home rather than close to the final destination have better impacts on vehicle km and congestion.
  Given the increase in vehicle km from some schemes, there may be a negative impact on liveable streets, but again this is dependent on the exact performance of each scheme.
  Depends on balance between overall reduction in vehicle km, and changes in vehicle speeds.
  No evidence presented, impact difficult to judge.
  No direct evidence presented but likely reduction in accidents in urban area but an increase in nonurban area.
  Provides an attractive alternative for accessing shops and employment in the urban area and newly generated trips may boost the city centre.
  No evidence presented, impact difficult to judge.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Contribution to objectives

Contribution to objectives
Objective

Atkins report on eight UK schemes

Parkhurst report on eight UK schemes

Meek et al (2010)

Mingardo (2013)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Contribution to problems

Contribution to alleviation of key problems
Problem

Atkins report on eight UK schemes

Parkhurst report on eight UK schemes

Meek et al (2010)

Mingardo (2013)

Congestion
Community impacts
Environmental damage
Poor accessibility
Social and geographical disadvantage
Accidents
Economic growth
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Appropriate contexts

Appropriate area-types
Area type Suitability
City centre -
Dense inner suburb
Medium density outer suburb
Less dense outer suburb
District centre
Corridor
Small town
Tourist town
= Least suitable area type = Most suitable area type

http://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/ (Accessed 1st April 2003)

http://www.ferrytoll.org/ (Accessed 10th April 2003)

CPRE (1998) "Park and Ride: Its Role in Local Transport Policy". Council for the Protection of Rural England, London.

CROW (2004) Park and ride in other countries. CROW Brochure 570, Ede, Netherlands.

English Historic Towns Forum (2000) "Bus-Based Park & Ride, A Good Practice Guide 2000".

Grayling A (2001) "Any More Fares? Delivering better bus services". London IPPR

Meek, Stuart, Stephen Ison, and Marcus Enoch. "Role of Bus‐Based Park and Ride in the UK: A Temporal and Evaluative Review." Transport reviews 28.6 (2008): 781-803.

Mingardo G (2013) Transport and environmental effects of rail-based Park and Ride: evidence from the Netherlands, Journal of Transport Geography, Vol. 30, pp 7-16.

Parkhurst, G. (1999). Environmental cost-benefits of bus-based park and ride systems-including a review of'the travel effects of park and ride'. ESRC TSU RESEARCH REPORT 1999/4.

Parkhurst, G. (2000) "Influence of Bus -Based Park and Ride Facilities on Users' Car Traffic".

Mackay et al (1997) "Transport in the Urban Environment" Institution of Highways & Transportation.

Nexus (2010) Park and Ride Strategy.  Tyne and Wear PTE, Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Pratt R H et al (2004) Traveler Response to Transportation System Changes Chapter 3—Park-and-Ride/Pool.  TRB, Washington DC.

TAS Partnership  (2007).  Park and Ride in Britain. TAS, Preston.

TRL (2004) The Demand for Public Transport: a Practical Guide.

TRRL (1980) "The Demand for Public Transport" Transport and Road research Laboratory".

WS Atkins (1998) "The Travel Effects of Park & Ride". Report for the DETR.