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Control of car-parks at public-intensive institutions – impact analysis (SVI 2000/383)

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Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport mode
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Transport sectors
Passenger transport


Background & Policy context

This study was prompted by the discussion platform on 'Facilities used Intensively by the Public' (PIFs) in which representatives from environmental, town planning, business and transportation sectors examine questions relating to location and traffic. It took place against the background of the surprisingly meager state of knowledge about the effects of introducing parking-space management to these facilities. As a result, the views on the usefulness or irrelevance of such action are correspondingly controversial.


The principal aim of these activities is to improve our state of knowledge about the relationship between parking-space management applied to facilities used intensively by the public (visitors/customers) and its impact on local traffic conditions and on polluting emissions. In addition, the framework conditions within which a parking-space management system would make economic sense from the standpoint of investors and PIF managers must be examined in depth.


The procedure is based on the awareness that empirical surveys are needed to improve the present scanty state of knowledge. A literature search will initially be performed in order to analyze the current status of research and to estimate the proportion of PIF traffic in the total road traffic. The surveys consisted of 450 interviews with customers/visitors in 15 selected PIFs (shopping/leisure centers) as well as of extensive discussions with the managers of these 15 PIFs.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Private foundation
Institution Name
Association of Transportation Engineers
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


Assuming that the real reactions agree with the stated/assumed ones, the surveys of the customers/visitors yield the following principal results:

- Reactions: The survey asked about the likely reaction to introducing a parking charge of CHF 4 per hour. Various effects on traffic volume can be derived from the reaction patterns designated as 'Rationalizing shopping trips', 'Using local facilities' and 'Transfers’ (mean values).

Main Reactions in numbers: The distance travelled (vehicle-km) decreased by 11-16%, the total traffic generation potential per PIF (vehicle trips) decreased by 20-25% and the parking-space demand in PIF decreased by 15-20%.

Additionally, some 10% of the surveyed motorists would look for a free parking space locally.

 - Willingness to pay and cost-effectiveness: The average price that motorists are willing to pay for a parking space in a PIF is CHF 1.90 per hour. However, this drops to only CHF 1.60 per hour for leisure facilities, probably because of the longer parking times which these involve. Whereas charges of CHF 2 per hour and more are no longer acceptable to the great majority, as shown by their responses, the cost-effectiveness declines rapidly at charges of less than CHF 2 per hour.

 - Talks with the PIF managers have shown that:

• An obligation to manage parking spaces must be introduced in a coordinated way, i.e. it must cover all parking spaces at least in a specific region.

• The income from this source must be used both to amortize the management installations and to improve access by traffic to the locality and the region in a meaningful way via a pool concept. A charge with no clearly defined purpose was rejected.

• The choice of location is hardly affected at all by introducing parking-space management. The study has shown that PIFs at integrated locations (located in or close to city centers, with good accessibility by foot, bicycle and usually also by public transport) show significantly higher proportions (by a factor of four on average) of customers/visitors arriving in this way than PIFs at non-integrated locations, depending on their use.

In addition, the potential for reducing vehicle use (vehicle-km) by introducing parking-space management is greater for integrated than for non-integrated locations. The proportion of PIF traffic (customers/visitors) in the total volume of individual motorized traffic (IMT) is around 10%.

The potential for reducing air pol

Policy implications

The following further procedure should be adopted:

  • Principle: Efforts to manage parking spaces attached to facilities used intensively by the public should be continued in order to improve traffic conditions, air quality and town planning and the implementation techniques should be optimized. At the same time, this tool should be integrated with other measures in conceptual terms and should be continuously evaluated in order to reduce traffic congestion and environmental pollution due to PIFs.
  • Across-the-board introduction: Parking-space management should be introduced throughout designated regions in order to inhibit avoidance strategies and market distortions within the scope of existing intercantonal solutions or individual larger cantons.
  • Pricing arrangements: The price for a parking space should be at least CHF2 per hour and should be charged from the first minute of use. The resulting cost efficiency is only slightly reduced compared with CHF. 4 per hour and high acceptance is simultaneously assured.
  • Flanking measures: Flanking measures for parking-space management such as the upgrading of local public transport services or the prevention of incorrect parking on free parking spaces in the local area are needed to assure optimal implementation.
  • Open questions / Need for research: The structural data on facilities used intensively by the public remains incomplete. There is also a need for corresponding surveys in the French and Italian-speaking cantons. This study is based on probable reactions by the public with a view to future measures. The implementation of these measures on the basis of specific directives would permit the required before/after analyses to be performed.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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