Car Parking Research for PDFC
Client: Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), Oct 2009 - Mar 2010
There is a widespread belief within the rail industry that demand for rail services may be suppressed by lack of convenient access to stations, particularly in relation to car parking. The Passenger Demand Forecasting Council, a rail industry body administered by ATOC, wished to explore the relationships between railway car park pricing and provision and rail demand in detail and, during the Autumn of 2009, The Railway Consultancy was contracted to carry out this research. As well as reviewing existing relevant research, the study used both desktop and site based research to build up a picture of car park usage across three defined rail sectors (London and the South-East, Inter-City and Regional / Passenger Transport Executive).
During the site-based case studies, we achieved a high response rate from surveyed passengers, demonstrating the importance of the issue to rail users. However, we did not find statistical evidence that passengers drove to stations with emptier car-parks, nor that trip rates at stations with full car parks were lower than those where car park spaces were available. Hence, we concluded that passengers will find alternative ways to get to their desired local station. Options include Kiss and Ride (which proved to be a very important), cycle, taxi and walking, although observations of bus / rail interchange demonstrated some of the challenges of integrating these modes. We also found higher-than-expected car-park price elasticities, supporting the anecdotal feedback from passengers that price was a key issue for them, although this can be due to station-specific factors such as the presence of nearby non-rail cheaper car-parking facilities. Overall, the study provided useful context for the industry in ensuring that full consideration is given to pricing and provision of parking as part of effective provision of all access modes to stations.
Last updated: Sunday, 18th December 2016
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