Evaluating the impacts on traffic congestion and business investment following the introduction of a Workplace Parking Levy and associated transport improvements
2017-08-15T08:31:15Z (GMT) by
For over a decade UK legislation has existed which grants powers to English Local Authorities to implement a Workplace Parking Levy (WPL). Despite positive experiences in Australia of utilising area wide parking space levies to pay for public transport improvements, only one UK local authority to date (2017), Nottingham City Council, has chosen to implement a WPL. The Nottingham WPL scheme is intended to act as a transport demand management measure as well as a core funding mechanism for transport improvements including two new tram lines. Acceptance by the public and the business community is a key barrier to implementing a WPL. The two major criticisms of the Nottingham scheme prior to its implementation were that a WPL would discourage business investment and thus damage the economy while its intended impact on traffic congestion would be minimal. Therefore, a comprehensive evaluation of the Nottingham WPL scheme s performance is essential in order to facilitate transferability of this approach to other UK and European Cities. This thesis contributes to the wider WPL evaluation project by evaluating to what extent the Nottingham WPL has met three key objectives identified for the scheme which address the impact on congestion, transport mode share and inward investment. This research utilises a theoretical evaluation approach, a Theory of Change approach strengthened by elements of Realistic Evaluation . This approach provides an appropriate framework for evaluating progress towards the three key objectives by identifying a plausible model for change and expected impacts for the Nottingham WPL and the transport improvements which it part funds. This model or Theory of Change , is then tested to understand if the scheme is achieving the desired impacts by analysing appropriate indicators to measure and attribute change to causal factors. Methods used to facilitate this research include, benchmarking indicators against similar UK Cities, questionnaire surveys to assess the reasons for mode switch, time series modelling of the impact on congestion and a consideration of the reasoning behind investment and de-investment decisions made by businesses in Nottingham. It is concluded that while the WPL and its associated transport improvements are resulting in congestion constraint and mode shift away from commuting by car, these impacts are being reduced by the presence of exogenous change notably, economic and population growth, short term disruption to the road network resulting from roadworks associated with the construction of transport improvements and suppressed demand for commuting by car. Additionally, this research shows that there is a body of evidence which demonstrates that the WPL has not negatively impacted on levels of inward investment and that there is some evidence to date that suggests the improved transport system facilitated by the WPL is attractive to potential business investors.