City Science has completed a Car Parking Usage & Forecasting Study to determine the current and future usage of Winchester’s car parks, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and a potential new northern strategic Park & Ride site.
Hampshire County Council commissioned City Science to develop a Car Parking Usage & Forecasting Study for the City of Winchester, with the aim to assess the combined impact of post-Covid-19 reduced commuting patterns and proposed future changes to parking provision and tariffs. This includes the closure of central car parks for the delivery of the Station Approach regeneration project and delivery of a new strategic Park & Ride site, north of Winchester, evidenced by both the existing and forecasted demand and nature of car park users.
The study aimed to:
- Inform how people's behaviour in using the car parks has changed as a legacy of COVID-19.
- Help understand the future profile of users for a new strategic northern Park & Ride site.
- Inform a broader pricing strategy on consistency of parking tariffs associated with both short stay and long stay around the station.
- Inform how car park supply and pricing can influence a reduction in overall car demand access the town centre.
- Inform potential alternative use options of city centre car parks.
This study supports the goals set out in the Winchester Movement Strategy, to reduce city centre traffic and increase the use of sustainable travel modes.
City Science Response
Our methodology applied best practice and was supported by data collection and stakeholder engagement to ensure that we delivered a study that allows Winchester to move forward with their plans for regeneration, decarbonising travel and reducing car dependency. We:
- Performed a thorough literature review and collaborated with the client to develop study objectives.
- Assessed Winchester’s current parking situation and how this can support the council’s wider objectives.
- Aligned our work throughout (including through extensive engagement) with the aspirations for regeneration of the existing car park sites and previous points of opposition to development.
- Prescribed and undertook a series of car park user intercept surveys, to understand their origins, trip purposes, final destinations, likely use of a Northern Park & Ride and changes in travel patterns as a result of increased home working. We supplemented insights from these surveys with parking occupancy data, to provide the Council with a thorough understanding of parking usage and the potential for closure of key parking for regeneration.
- Developed a bespoke model to evaluate forecast demand scenarios, including the introduction of changes to car park provision, to understand their associated impacts in traffic movements. This has included undertaking price sensitivity testing and forecasting reallocation of demand.
- Incorporated extensive engagement with key stakeholders, including campaign groups, universities and large local employers.
City Science brought together the results of the modelled future scenarios, supported by an extensive evidence base, to conclude:
- The future potential usage of a proposed new northern Park & Ride site, based on the provision and price of city centre parking.
- The demand impact of low and high working from home future scenarios.
- The redistribution of parking demand within the city centre due to car park closures, based on the expected destinations of users.
- The expected revenue based on varying parking demand and tariff structures.
“In 2022, Hampshire County Council commissioned City Science to carry out a Parking Demand Study for an area on the edge of Winchester city centre that is proposed for regeneration including a number of car parks. City Science listened to us and were quick to understand what was needed. They were easy to work with and we were impressed with the flexibility they were able to offer us for arranging car park user surveys and extra engagement activities with stakeholders. They were able to develop a bespoke parking model to help forecast the number of car park users that would switch to new proposed Park & Ride sites and other car parks. The study was well managed throughout and was completed on time to a good standard. The conclusions were helpful inputs to the next stages of decision making about the regeneration project."
Geoff Hobbs, Team Leader - Passenger Transport, Hampshire County Council
The results of this study provided Hampshire County Council and Winchester City Council with clear recommendations for next steps to inform the Station Approach Project, whilst aligning with the developing Parking & Access Strategy and the Winchester Movement Strategy.
The negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the usage of Park & Rides surrounding Winchester continues and City Science has subsequently been commissioned to understand how to increase and diversify the Park & Ride customer base.