SARECO is currently working on a new concept for parking in developing countries metropolises.
Its experience on the subject is growing. Our vision of the subject is summarized hereafter.
In 2009, for the first time more cars were sold in China than in the United States but equipment rate remains very low, around a tenth of the rates observed in western countries. However, Beijing area is already suffering congestion.
Thus in developing countries, metropolises with emerging car markets will soon be facing important congestion and huge road investments. To avoid such things without going against car ownership legitimate desire, proactive parking policy is one solution.
The idea is to make on-street car parking expensive in the inner and dynamic city centre. Indeed, we know from mature markets that over a certain level of constraint (including parking rates) drivers search for alternative such as public transportation, carpooling…
At first sight, this idea seems strange. Why should developing countries face the risk of destabilizing their car market with deterrent measures and invest massively in public transport rather than in roads?
The truth is quite different for several reasons:
- Investments in public transport are far more efficient than they are in road infrastructure. It is cheaper to transport 10 000 people each hour from point A to point B, using public transport than it is using roads and cars. The economy could reach more than 5 billion dollars each million inhabitants.
- Parking fees would only affect current car owners and users i.e. the few, so that there is little danger for protests. Actually, in developing countries today, only a few people have car related “habits”.
- People could still use their car on purpose: on week-ends or in lower density areas or suburbs. This measure aims to protect business centre from car commuting and congestion routine, not to prevent people from car related liberty.
Besides, there are many advantages to the solution:
- Lower investments in transport infrastructures means more investments in health care or education systems that are the basis of long term economic growth.
- Public transportation development and parking fees collection will create numerous jobs. Around 5 000 each million inhabitants to run public transport and 1 000 each 30 000 parking spaces to collect fees.
- Parking fees collection will also allow various investments (e.g. public transport or country roads)
- Lower pollution level regarding both noise and greenhouse effect gases
Finally, it is a very progressive solution since the paying parking area can be extended step by step and parking rates increases can be stopped and resumed.
In short, setting up a proactive policy towards parking rates in city centres urges to prevent developing metropolises from huge investment wastes and environmental side effects. It is an obvious and sustainable way to optimize transport systems and face car ownership boom.
Now, let’s experiment!