Investigating the transferability of the Workplace Parking Levy

2015-04-08T14:35:05Z (GMT) by Jonathan Burchell
Traffic congestion is a significant cost to society, amounting to somewhere between 1 and 2% of GDP according to an EU-wide survey (CE Delft, 2011). To address this cost, road pricing has long been viewed as the first best solution although issues with public and political acceptance have meant the uptake of such schemes has been low. In the meantime parking policies, a second best alternative to road pricing, have become extensively used by local authorities as a means of managing congestion due to the influence the price and availability of parking can have on a motorist s decision to drive. The effectiveness of such strategies however is limited due to local authorities being unable to control privately owned parking. More specifically, free parking at the workplace is seen as contributing to congestion at peak times by incentivising drivers to commute to work by car. To address this, in the UK the Transport Act 2000 granted powers to local authorities to introduce a Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) whereby employers are required to pay a sum based on the number of parking spaces they provide for their staff with the revenue hypothecated for local transport improvements. The introduction of such powers meant the Government estimated there would be 12 schemes by 2010. To-date however, only Nottingham has introduced a WPL. The aim of this thesis therefore is to investigate the transferability of the WPL to other local authorities which is analysed through the application of the Policy Transfer Framework to the WPL in the UK context. It focuses on the views of key stakeholders with respect to the WPL at both the national and local authority level so as to understand the reasons for the low uptake as well as the design, implementation and operational considerations required to introduce such a scheme. The conclusions of this thesis are that lessons can and have been learnt with respect to introducing a WPL as the findings reveal that Nottingham City Council (NCC) drew on aspects of Policy Transfer to facilitate the introduction of the scheme. Specifically, NCC Councillors developed a vision of what a WPL could deliver and were reassured by experts from abroad whilst a staff transfer exercise allowed officers to learn lessons in terms of how the scheme should be designed, implemented and operated. What s more, lessons from a formal DfT evaluation of the pilot scheme in Nottingham following the delivery of the full WPL package will have a significant influence (either positive or negative) on the number of future schemes. More broadly, the results suggest that the WPL is transferable and the adoption of additional WPL schemes in the future is likely. This is due in no small part to the fact that the Nottingham scheme has so far enjoyed a relatively painless introduction even though it is still too early to evaluate how successful it has been in meeting its objectives. This research has made a significant contribution to knowledge in that it has explored the WPL with key stakeholders to generate a standard for introducing and operating a WPL. It has also provided an application of the Policy Transfer framework to understand the process and development of a new policy as well as the type and where lessons are learnt.