According to research by InsuretheGap.com, Newcastle is officially the UK’s best city for parking. Based on several factors, the North East city ranked number one across the board for its car parking credentials, with London placing bottom out of the UK’s 20 most populous cities. Among other reasons, the nation’s capital was criticised for the lack of car parks near to central locations, as well as the steep cost of parking – with the average price costing almost four times the amount paid by residents of Newcastle.

We all know how stressful it can be to try and track down parking spaces in a city centre. Location, availability and price can all vary, so finding something that balances all three can be difficult. With the news of Newcastle’s parking beating every other city in the UK, surely businesses and landowners can learn a thing or two from the city’s parking infrastructure?

Here, we’ll take a look at Newcastle’s results from the study sourced by Parkopedia, based on population data from the Geographist, and consider how those responsible for managing car parks can use the findings to improve their facilities.

High angle view of parked cars

 

What did Newcastle’s results from the research look like?

InsuretheGap’s criteria for ranking considered three factors, including:

  • The number of parking spaces available in the city per resident
  • The average walking distance from parking spaces to the town/city centre
  • The average price for two hours’ parking

Newcastle’s results looked like the following:

  • The number of parking spaces per resident: 0.027
  • Walking distance between parking and city centre: 17 minutes
  • The average price for two hours’ parking: £3.20

Although other cities had cheaper average prices for the same duration of time (Sunderland with £1.73, for example) or had parking spaces closer to their city centres, Newcastle’s results, when taken together, represented the best balance of the three criteria. So, if you find yourself visiting family and friends or taking advantage of the city’s shopping opportunities, you should have no trouble finding somewhere cheap and convenient to park.

Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK, England - September 10, 2015: Grey Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne. Academy of Urbanism's 2010 Great Street Award winner. Part of Grainger Town, the historic heart of Newcastle. Cars are parked up and down the street of limestone buildings.

London, on the other hand, ranked bottom of the list due to the poor proximity of parking to major central locations, as well as its steep overall parking cost. Two hours in the area will set you back about £11.23, which is both four times the amount paid in Newcastle and the most expensive in the UK. Surprisingly, the city of Liverpool ranked just above London for parking, with low scores across all factors.

It’s worth noting that certain factors which mean the implementation of sufficient parking are out of town planners’ hands. Firstly, cost of living and wages in certain cities is much higher than others, so parking costs must accommodate different financial aspects. The age of the city and its infrastructure is also a factor, with some older cities retaining too many site development regulations to effectively implement all the parking options the local councils would like.

 

What do the experts say?

Ben Wooltorton, chief operating officer of InsuretheGap.com, said: “Trying to find a parking space, especially one in a good location and at a reasonable rate, seems to be getting more difficult.

“This data highlights areas that are doing well in providing adequate parking for residents and visitors. The other end of the scale indicates where drivers might need to put in a little more research and planning to find the space they want.”

 

What can we learn from the results?

The results from the research underline just how variable the factors that affect car parking can be. Parking managers must consider how the location and design of their facilities can be improved to best serve those living in, or visiting, cities across the UK.

Concept sheet label write text.Cars parked in the parking lot.Open space area indoors.

If those responsible for managing car parks neglect to consider these variables, they risk minimising the footfall to businesses in their city. A negative customer experience, whether it’s an issue of expense, or a less-than-ideal location, affects both the visitor numbers to the car park and the businesses that are in the area. This is where problems with the local economy start to become an issue.

And if the volume of visitors isn’t necessarily a problem, then perhaps the appropriate capacity is. Though regularly being at capacity looks good on paper, it’s worth thinking about whether sites are missing out on added custom because they’re simply too small or possibly being abused by non-genuine customers using their site but shopping elsewhere. If motorists have to be turned away from these at-capacity car parks, then that becomes a deterrent for those looking to use them, and a missed opportunity for businesses looking to increase their custom.

Nevertheless, there are some takeaways we can glean from the results of the research:

  • Insufficient parking is driving visitors away from town centres
  • Many visitors consider a 20-minute walk to the town centre from a parking space to be tolerable
  • Expensive parking could be subsidised by incentives to use local businesses
  • The problem is getting worse, so the time to act is now

Looking to improve your car park management with quality solutions and innovations? Head over to the ParkingEye homepage for plenty more information on optimal car park performance and be sure to get in touch with us today.