Placing the public at the heart of parking


From data-driven devices that put information into the hands of the user or operator, to products and services that increase fuel efficiency or radically reduce emissions – all are moving at pace.

The conversation around parking is changing and there is a real desire to deliver a better and more consistent parking experience for motorists.

As the recognised authority for the parking sector, the British Parking Association (BPA) represents the best interests of our members and the wider parking community, and provides an extensive range of membership services to support parking professionals and organisations in their day-to-day work.

The parking and wider transport sectors are facing a whole range of new challenges requiring joined up solutions. Organisations and service providers must work in collaboration to address and then deliver effective solutions with new technologies that are increasingly becoming the norm.


Parking has a major influence on people’s travel decisions and proper and effective parking & traffic management is vital in our towns and cities.

Across the UK, there are a huge range of examples where car park operators and parking initiatives are delivering a service that is meeting and exceeding customer needs and changing the face of parking as we know it.

As society evolves and the likelihood of congestion increases, it is important to encourage public acceptance and adoption of advances and innovations in new technology to enable delivery of parking solutions and services which contribute to a mobile society. Consumers are driving much of the change and it’s time for the parking profession to step up to this challenge with an open mind. It is imperative that parking providers place the public at the heart of everything they do and ensure that they are designing services that are useful, and beneficial.

Strategically, we need to alter the perception of our sector by the public and the media. As a membership association, it is our role to present the sector in a positive way and open people's eyes to the necessity for and the benefits of effective parking management. To be successful in this endeavour we need to present a positive parking agenda with a focus on parking management rather than parking enforcement. We are progressing several initiatives to help support this approach. Communication is key, by delivering the right messages to the right audience.

We recently published a Blueprint for Parking, calling on government to remove the uncertainties surrounding new technology, and encourage innovation in parking policies and standards, to improve the delivery of parking services.

We will keep road users at the heart of our work to ensure that this is delivered fairly and responsibly, improving people’s mobility and discouraging the use of technology for the sake of it.

Through our Parking 20:20 group we will continue to maximise the benefits of the many developments aimed at improving the management of parking services.


Regarding collection and sharing of data, we will also campaign for the development of new parking policy and standards for the sector, so that parking and traffic management can deliver a better customer experience and ensure that the profession is well prepared for an increasingly technological future.

We make it a priority to ensure the parking profession maximises the benefits of emerging technologies and applications to help make parking better as part of everyone’s integrated journey.

More broadly, we recognise that parking needs to play a much bigger part in discussions and thinking around intelligent mobility. It’s also vital that we continue to effectively connect with government, local authorities, and key stakeholders to build a policy consensus. Research is key if we want to develop and influence policy which will drive advances in technology including autonomous vehicles, payment systems or in-vehicle guidance systems.

New technology and innovation are changing the way parking services are managed and delivered. The BPA is committed to ensuring that the parking profession understands these demands, reacts to them to provide the infrastructure and services to facilitate these changes, and meets the expectations of government, regulators and customers.

Dave Smith is head of public affairs and research at the British Parking Association


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