Will a post-Covid world need more parking spaces?

Before the pandemic, local authorities and developers were paying a lot of attention to parking. With councils trying to reduce road traffic into city centres and encourage cycling, walking and public transport as an alternative, drivers were seeing pressure on parking spaces – together with increased parking charges. Businesses with their own car parks were encouraging car sharing or only allowing drivers to park on site on three or four days a week.

During the pandemic lockdowns, of course, many people weren’t travelling to work at all, so car parks largely stood empty. In the USA, authorities even commandeered parking lots to provide temporary camp areas for the homeless.

But today, we are being encouraged to go back to the office if we can – and one of the ways we feel we can ensure a safer journey to work is by taking the car – and they are far less likely to car share than they would have been pre-2020. So parking may become an issue again.

And it’s not just city centres where parking is a problem. Developers of any kind of residential, retail, commercial or mixed sites also have to consider access and parking.

Parking as part of planning decisions

When we undertake parking surveys, the data we collect are used to inform decisions about new developments or changes to existing building use. Parking is part of a much wider planning and development debate – it needs to be talked about within the context of traffic management strategies, low-emission zone plans, local economic development and individual local plans.

Some of these, of course, are long term plans. The move to encourage people to use other methods of transport requires investment in those other methods as well as significant input into behaviour change, so that people feel that public or self transport is safe, affordable and easy to use. In the meantime, people are likely to continue using their cars and will require good quality, secure parking whether they are in the city centre or in newer out-of-town developments.

If you need to revisit the parking options in your area, or you need clear and reliable data for planning and development decisions, talk to us today about our parking survey services. We can help you make the decisions that further your long-term plans as well as providing shorter-term solutions.

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