Woman paying for parking on her phone

Report outlines lack of awareness over local authority parking changes

A new report has been released by the Local Government Information Unit, outlining how the majority of decision-makers at local council level don’t understand the potential changes to local authority parking.

The report, titled Parking strategies and innovation, surveyed more than 100 councillors and council officers and found that 64% of councils have a strategy in place that outlines their development plans, however there are gaps in people’s understanding of the new model.

Parking graphic

A full-scale national rollout of the National Parking Platform (NPP) is expected in 2024, with Department for Transport moving the platform from its current trial phase. Should this platform be adopted by local authorities, parking services are to be transformed thanks to a new publicly owned technology hub that will standardise the management and delivery of parking.

The survey found that more than a third of the respondents had never even heard of the NPP, whilst 44% said that they had not heard of the open market model to introduce competition. On top of this, almost 80% of the local leaders who responded to the survey said that they would welcome efforts by the government to explain how the NPP will work in practice, in more detail.

Local Government Information Unit Chief Executive, Jonathan Carr-West, said:

“We understand that parking is a complex issue that cuts across social, economic, environmental and development policies. As driving has become a divisive topic, councils tread a fine line in prioritising the needs of residents, businesses, visitors and different user groups, while meeting other strategic goals, such as net zero targets.

“New developments and innovations like the National Parking Platform have the potential to transform procurement of parking by opening up the market and giving choice to the individual motorist for the first time. In doing so, it could bring significant benefits to local authorities, including cost savings from lowered procurement costs.

“Our latest report found that a significant number of local authorities in the UK have a strategy gap, which could prevent them from realising the benefits of some of these innovations. We encourage the government to spearhead an awareness-raising initiative around the platform to ensure that local councils understand the NPP and can make an informed decision on shifting to a parking hub.”

Enabling approved phone parking providers to integrate services, the NPP will allow for access to all the available parking inventory within a specified geographical area, removing the need to go trough the current tender process. Alongside this, the platform is public owned which is preferable to 44% of local authorities (according to the survey) and opens the door for an open market in parking. The competition that would be encouraged by having an open market would help motorists to choose their preferred parking app, rather than being stuck with one.

The current way of working sees 86% of councils contracting the parking providers that they work with through a tender process. With only 30% of councils saying that the current process is cost effective or time efficient, the open market model would remove those challenges.

 

Image Credit: iStock

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