Implementation of the workplace parking levy as a transport policy instrument

Car parking spaces occupy significant areas land within cities and, in many areas, is often provided to motorists free of charge or at low cost. This can encourage car use which leads to traffic congestion and environmental degradation. In response, local authorities have increasingly used parking policies to address these issues. However, the effectiveness of these interventions have been limited by a lack of control over private non-residential parking spaces, including those provided by workplaces. In 2000 the UK Government enacted legislation which enabled local authorities in England to charge employers for the parking they provided for staff via a Workplace Parking Levy (WPL). Whilst this was expected to act as a catalyst for the introduction of other similar schemes throughout the UK, only one authority has introduced a WPL to date. This paper draws on the results of a national survey of local politicians and transport officers to ascertain the views of policy makers in the UK regarding transport-related issues, and the effectiveness and acceptability of various measures to reduce congestion, specifically the WPL. It explores the reasons why local authorities may consider introducing a WPL, examines issues with respect to the principle of the scheme, and discusses pre- and post-implementation concerns. The final section considers the likelihood of future schemes being introduced. It concludes that whilst there are a number of issues associated with WPL implementation, not least its perceived effectiveness and acceptability, further schemes can be expected in the UK in future.