The politics of paid parking

Paid parking makes cities more liveable

Car parking and traffic flow have been the subject of research for many years. Research has shown that a large proportion of inner-city traffic consists of motorists looking for a place to park. Having concluded that the chaos these cars create is due to a shortage of parking spaces, many municipalities set about providing more. Meaning that more space is given to cars than to people.

EUR 5 per hour versus EUR 0.50 per day

Visitors of dense city centres may pay EUR 5 or more per hour whereas residents may pay just EUR 150 a year to park in the same streets. It’s not rocket science to realise that a scarce public resource is being allocated highly inefficiently. The fact that it has been this way for a long time, does not mean that it makes sense – it’s neither fair nor economically sound.

The money and land wasted on on-street parking make life costlier for everyone, even those who do not own a car.

  • Should municipalities stop trying to increase the supply of parking spaces and rigging the market in favour of homeowners?
  • Would it make more economic sense to raise the price of parking until the streets and the car parks are nearly, but not quite, full – and charge all users equally?

Municipalities can expect residents to complain about the loss of their privileges. But if they live in a highly sought-after area, the revenues from on-street parking will be enormous. The money could be spent on what really matters: walkability, bike lanes, beautiful gardens, play grounds…

Providing space for parking cars is a service

Charging the right price for parking, on-street and off-street, helps to manage demand and reduce search traffic and congestion. It’s not unreasonable to ask motorists to pay these costs. After all, parking facilities are for their benefit.

At Q-Park we believe in fair and properly segmented prices for parking. We have studied how parking policies can help make cities more liveable. Do get in touch to find out more about how we can help create order from the car chaos in your municipality.