Southend-on-Sea Borough Council maintain and operate 65 public car parks covering 7,387 spaces. The authority sought to consolidate their tariffs across these car parks for residents and visitors to the Borough.They commissioned City Science to benefit from our innovative data analysis approach by developing new parking tariffs that were not only clear and understandable but also reflected sustainability and economic prosperity.
City Science developed new tariffs which reflected the wider Southend 2050 vision of sustainability and economic prosperity to:
- Promote a vibrant town centre and seafront economy (Opportunity & Prosperity)
- Reduce congestion (Connected & Smart)
- Encourage and support active lifestyles (Active & Involved)
- Maximise asset utilisation and reinvestment potential
City Science Response
Through an initial Client engagement process, we initially undertook a comprehensive baseline analysis of parking data held by the Council including existing tariffs, occupancy rates and customer specific behaviour. We enriched this data with use of our award-winning Cadence platform to gain a detailed understanding of the surrounding key demographic and socio-economic context such as car ownership and the 2019 Index of Multiple Deprivation. To inform subsequent tariff optioneering, we also completed a geo-spatial isochrone accessibility assessment of key destinations in Southend, such as the High Street and the Seafront, for those walking, cycling and travelling by public transport.
We benchmarked the authority’s individual car park tariff structures and permits to compare Southend’s parking charges with ten other similar local authorities, converting each to a weighted average hourly charge. This data was then used to calculate a parking revenue to price index to understand the relative cost efficiency of Southend’s car parks. We also benchmarked Southend’s parking tariffs against more sustainable modes of accessing the Borough, such as rail from key origins such as London Liverpool Street, Leigh-on-Sea and Rochford. This allowed an understanding of opportunities for the adjustment of parking tariffs to facilitate a more sustainable and lower carbon modal share.
Using the outcomes of the baseline and benchmarking process, we were able to provide recommendations to consolidate and rationalise the parking zone structures in Southend. Our approach was evidence led and utilised the outcomes from the accessibility assessment to promote sustainable modal shift alongside the need to ensure resilient parking arrangements around free car parks and key locations such as railway stations and the Seafront.
Four scenario options were developed to assess the impact of different tariff structures within the recommended seven zones. Modelling of the scenario options was undertaken using a two-stage approach considering initially the price elasticity relationship before undertaking a disaggregation of demand back to individual car parks. The performance of each of the options was assessed against applicable principles of the Southend 2050 Vision alongside other outcome-based indices such as social equity and revenue generation. Options to adjust enforcement were also considered alongside this.
We produced a high-quality report which provided a clear set of recommendations for non-technical dissemination by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and its stakeholders. Our holistic approach to the study meant that we were able to highlight the role of parking tariffs as one lever in encouraging modal shift to lower carbon modes to access the town centre.