I attended a seminar at Parkex and found that in the UK, University Parking is fairly backward. In Birmingham, for instance, they have 3,000 parking spaces for 40,000 students and staff but readily admit that their parking systems simply don’t work. Their biggest problem is poachers that visit the local hospital and for some reason park for free on campus rather than pay to park at the hospital. They also admit that their parking controls are being driven by a sustainability program, and not by any real desire to set up a system to control parking per se. After all, they receive grants from the government based on their carbon reduction programs. Sound familiar?
Although I’m certain they will catch up quickly, I would guess that Higher Ed parking in the UK is a good 15 to 20 years behind the same in the US. There are a couple of issues they must overcome including the fact that they don’t what to charge for parking on campus, and are loath to build any parking structures. They do have some charging programs on a few campuses. In one case, the cost is predicated on the salary of the vehicle owner with those making more, paying more. I know, that this is a system to “equate” incomes, but frankly it makes no sense to me. After all, if people make more money, they can afford a higher fee and will simply pay it. The idea of restricting parking because it costs something simply goes away.
They do readily admit that parking is subsidized when there is no fee charged (Don Shoup call your office) and have computed that subsidy as something between $6 and $12 a space per day. However they are considering a fee of from $3 to $8 a day. They are attempting to get people to take the train but the round trip cost on the train is considerably more than the proposed parking fee. The solution, of course, is to subsidize the rapid transit fare. Of course then the government will tax the subsidy.
At about this point, I lost interest.
They opened the event with a quote that could fit any seminar on University Parking anywhere:
A university is a diverse community held together by common complaints about parking.