Planning and Design
Historically marred by too little consideration when it came to design, countryside car parks have to take into account the visual impact on the landscape as well as issues regarding transport and traffic. Location and design of rural car parks can heavily influence peoples’ appreciation of the countryside, enhancing the overall experience when done right.
Poor car park design can put a strain on environmental resources, while a well-planned site optimises conservation and increases visitor enjoyment.
Most common problems and solutions
Roadside parking is a common problem in the countryside. A lack of proper parking may result in people parking in gateways, farm entrances or verges which can cause delays and dangers for other road users, including pedestrians. Here is where the need for correctly-designed country parking is essential.
In areas where walking is popular, car parks may fill up earlier in the day with hill walkers’ and climbers’ cars. This leaves little or no space for other visitors arriving later. It’s important to know where the demand for your car park is coming from; who are the users and what are their requirements? The design of your site should take into account the needs of different user groups.
Your proposed site may be situated in an area that’s susceptible to flooding. In which case, there are some essential considerations to take into account. Are you next to adjacent streams or ditches which could overflow in extreme conditions? Roadside ditches with significant water flow can cause the same problem, too. It’s possible that you’ll need a full flood assessment if so.
By having access to your site slope upwards, it’s possible to force flood water to continue along the road edge, where it will then find its natural escape route. Where water can enter the site, ditches or a piped drainage system can be installed to redirect water back into a natural drainage system.
Despite their rustic setting, countryside car parks can still benefit from an intelligent approach, utilising technology that can be used to transmit information when car parks are full, which serves to reduce carbon emissions by limiting trips to multiple car parks.
Do you have an issue with unauthorised parking?
If so having an appropriate deterrent on site can really help. We have a wide range of customisable solutions to manage car parks from 15 spaces into the thousands. From bespoke solutions and strategies to enforcement, monitoring and reporting, we do it all.
Inductive loops are the most reliable means of counting vehicles. They comprise a loop of electrical wire embedded in the road’s surface, creating an electromagnetic field which detects vehicles passing over it, recording the information in a logging device from which data can be downloaded. This can provide comprehensive information about traffic patterns which helps you manage demand. This would allow you to see the space occupied by long-term parkers and how much is available for short-term visits; at which point you may want to introduce time limits on certain durations.
For more information on car parking in the country, be sure to read our case study on the Wye Valley Visitor Centre, here.