Negotiable parking rights

August 2, 2002

Synthesis of the results of the research carried out by Sareco for the DRAST within the framework of PREDIT .

The purpose of the research carried out is to study the interest and the admissibility of an application to the field of parking of tools inspired by the "negotiable permits" set up in the fight against atmospheric pollution.

Public space can effectively be considered as a scarce resource and parking as its pollution. The use of economic instruments can therefore be justified in order to obtain greater efficiency in the distribution of the effort to reduce this "pollution".

A system of negotiable permits can be considered in areas with a high density of commuters such as employees, students, if alternative transport solutions to the car exist and are underused. Negotiable permits contribute to promoting the use of public transport to the detriment of that of the car by means of a transfer – possibly monetary – between motorists and users of public transport or soft modes. Limiting the number of parking issued makes it possible to reduce car use. The possibilities of exchanging, reselling and buying permits introduce a certain flexibility into the application of the policy to reduce parking and automobile traffic.

The functioning of the system of these negotiable parking permits must however take into account several strong constraints:

  • On the system itself: difficulty of creating a real money market on financial issues of low importance, difficulty of involving users in a forecast and daily management of their trips, need to come up with a very easy to use solution since concerning the practice, currently almost daily, that is parking, need to place oneself in a closed or at least controlled universe, therefore expensive to manage.
  • On the implementation of the system: difficulty of adapting to the parking management methods already in place and of cohabiting with those in place in the vicinity, difficulty of questioning the operation of parking, the management of which is a rather controversial subject and socially sensitive.

The reception of the system also depends on what everyone can find in it as an interest:

  • The two objectives of regulating peaks in traffic and reducing car use are difficult to hold together. The objective of the community is to reduce the use of car parks, that of the managers of the car parks is rather the smoothing of the occupation of these. The negotiated variable can then be either in the first case an "entrance fee" to the car park, valid on any day, or else in the second case "the entrance price" to the car park for a given day. Ideally, systems imposing or offering pre-reservations allow finer, more "negotiated" management.
  • Users, who want simplicity in managing the system, are not necessarily resistant to any new system. It seems generally, whether in the case of employees or students, that users are more attached to free parking than to its unlimited nature. Negotiable permits are therefore a tool that could make it possible to maintain relative freedom for motorists agreeing to restrict their arrival by car. In sites well served by public transport where surveys have been carried out, the alternation between modes of transport for commuting is already practiced by some – For example, in Nantes, the survey of users of a free downtown parking space revealed that 53% of them had used public transport in the past two months. Tradable permits could encourage these people who are not really captive to increase the share of public transport in their mobility.

In order to obtain an operational and acceptable system, the idea of ​​a "market of negotiable rights for parking" must for the moment, in view of the possible functioning and the reactions gathered, be discarded at the level of individuals, employees or students: it is not applicable because the negotiation of the "good", which constitutes parking, is not welcome. On the other hand, the idea of ​​counting the days of arrival by car for commuters using "permits" can be encouraged, on the grounds of limiting traffic. It makes it possible, without adopting too strict a policy at the beginning, to raise awareness that parking is a consumable "good".

In the context of Employee Travel Plans or Mobility Plans, the problem that is often encountered is to control parking outside an establishment, which manifests itself en masse in open spaces, especially when the site is not not in the controlled hypercentre.

A system introducing this concept of "count" of parking days can be implemented and tested easily at low cost. Commuter employees would be granted free parking rights in a restricted area, but only within the limit of a quota of days in the month. Badges ensure compliance with this limitation of days of arrival by car and avoid fraud in the system. New technologies, particularly those related to mobile phones, make it possible to ergonomically ensure the activation of rights and control by the public authorities; they are developed by many operators, particularly in the context of remote payment. The economic costs are on the scale of the expected results. Used in this context, these technologies (NTIC) could later lead to the management of negotiable rights between end users.

Going from the scale of the Company to the District where several companies are juxtaposed, the problem of "negotiable rights" shifts: one can envisage that these rights are negotiated in quantities between the Companies, the Organizing Authority of Transport then being in the role of market maker.

The concept of “negotiable rights” needs to be reformulated, with regard to allocating permits to Companies, on condition that they distribute them among their employees.

The organizational framework for this approach would then be Local Mobility Plans or Agreements at the scale of the Neighborhood in question, no longer the Company Mobility Plan.

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