Your Councillors

STRATEGIC PLANNING,

SUSTAINABILITY AND TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE

6 February 2018

 

Parking Innovation

 

Final Decision-Maker

Strategic Planning, Sustainability and

Transportation Committee

Lead Director

William Cornall                                       Director of Regeneration & Place

Lead Officer and Report Author

Jeff Kitson                                              Parking Services Manager

Classification

Public

Wards affected

All

 

Executive Summary

This report provides the Committee with an overview of current and developing technologies in the parking industry and outlines the planned innovation within Parking Services over the next two years.

In recent years Parking Services have seen a surge in parking technology aimed at improving the customer experience; however, until now these systems have not been integrated and often provided as standalone solutions.

With advances in smart phone Apps and digital transformation, Parking Services customers expect our services to provide good integration with current technology and nationally this expectation has influenced the market where we have identified significant improvements in technology convergence driven by the needs of our customers.

Systems can now be integrated to provide seamless and reliable services whilst contributing to improved business efficiency.

 

The report also provides a summary of the town centre car parking charges proposal which was a deferred decision from the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee meeting on 22 January 2018.

 

 

 

 

This report makes the following recommendations to this Committee:

1.   That the proposals to develop parking services and embrace innovation be noted.

2.   That the pay and display tariff proposals as set out in Appendix 1 to promote migration from high demand car parks in the town centre to outer zone car parks and Park and Ride be agreed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Timetable

Meeting

Date

Strategic Planning, Sustainability and

Transportation Committee

6 February 2018



Parking Innovation

 

1.      INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

 

1.1     The United Kingdom is considered to be a Smartphone society with Ofcom reporting that 76% of adults own a Smartphone. Smartphones have overtaken laptops as the most popular device for getting online with fast 4G connections helping change the way our customers make transactions and communicate. In-car technology and connectivity have also seen unparalleled growth in recent times with industry experts predicting that over the next 5 to 10 years vehicle transport will change more than it has in the last 100 years.

 

1.2     This surge in technology has extended to the parking industry which has resulted in convergence, development and innovation.

 

1.3     Parking should not be a barrier to attracting businesses and visitors to Maidstone. Our customers expect to be able to access flexible and convenient services on-line and be able to make quick and easy parking transactions when using our parking facilities. This has been recognised at the Policy and Resources Committee, November, 2016 - Review of the Council’s Commercialisation Strategy 2014/15 – 2018/19 where the recommendation was to: ‘Utilise IT innovations to boost the cost effectiveness and user experience of the parking service’

 

1.4     In Maidstone, cashless payment systems such as pay-by-phone, on-line appeals and digital applications have all been available for some time; however a number of other services have quickly become outdated as technology has improved. These include cash payments for parking, the necessity to display car park tickets, paper visitor and resident permits.

 

1.5     On-street and off-street vehicle management is an integral part of regeneration and place and so our approach to service delivery and Civil Parking Enforcement will require new thinking and a shift in parking technology and innovation to meet growing demand. Improved parking technology and investment in infrastructure will also provide an opportunity to increase efficiency, improve resilience and improve public perception of parking services.

 

1.6     With increased levels of vehicle ownership and use, greater demand will be placed on our highway network, perhaps requiring wider use of restrictions to manage driver behaviour. Parking Services have already identified an increased demand at rural locations which has directly impacted on current levels of Civil Enforcement Officer deployed hours. Therefore greater efficiency is necessary to meet this demand without proportionally increasing operational costs.

 

1.7     Innovation will improve the customer experience whilst protecting income levels particularly within our off-street parking facilities.

 

1.8     Mobile applications on Smartphones are a significant area of growth for the parking industry, with an increasing number of customers relying on apps to receive information on a car park’s precise location, opening hours, tariff and facilities. Parking payment options in Maidstone must therefore be simplified whilst embracing alternative payment solutions including Smartphone App technology.

 

1.9       Parking Services has reviewed the current market and is committed to transforming services by embracing new and emerging technologies within the parking industry, to meet the changing demands of our customers, to maintain service efficiency and to maximise car park income levels. This will be achieved through a phased innovation plan over the next two years.

 

1.10     Phased development timeline:

 

Phase one development

 

1.11 There are a number of areas within Parking Services which have already undergone significant change as part of Phase one and are still in development:

 

Barbour Logic / Self-Serve

 

1.12 This software has been integrated with our Civil Parking Enforcement database to allow consistency in the review of penalty charge notice challenges, whilst providing plain English Crystal Marked template replies to often complex legal challenges. Barbour Logic also provides a Self-Serve platform to enable online appellants to refine their appeal submission in order to reduce second stage requests for further information as part of any appeal. This innovation supports back office efficiency, improved communication and reduces delay for our customers.

 

Near Field Communication (NFC) trial

 

1.13 Innovations in Near Field Communication (NFC) payments are under trial in the Sandling Road car park shifting the trend away from cash payments and towards cashless parking using credit cards and debit cards. Since the introduction of this technology Parking Services has identified that 44.19% of all payments in this car park are made by card payment with 26.96% paying by mobile phone. Only 28.85% of our customers pay by cash, demonstrating the appetite of our customers to move away from traditional pay and display parking payment methods and adopt a simplified approach.

 

Check in Check out (CiCo) trial

 

1.14 Often drivers are unsure of how long they need to park for within our car parks and feel pressure at having to estimate their length of stay upon arrival. Drivers may also struggle to find change or become disillusioned with the possibility of overpaying for their actual time of stay.

 

1.15 Check in Check out is a new innovation in parking also being trialled within the Sandling Road car park where customers are able to quickly check into the car park on arrival using their credit/debit card or Apple/Android Pay using near field communication and payment is withheld until their return to the car park when they check out, again using near field communication on the pay unit. These systems support the likelihood of increased town centre dwell time as the driver is not dependant on an expiry time once they have started an open parking session.

 

Ticketless car park systems

 

1.16 Traditional methods of parking require the purchase of a pay and display ticket from a pay unit placed at various locations within a car park. Once purchased, the ticket needs to then be returned to the car and displayed to enable the Civil Parking Enforcement team to identify that payment has been made in relation to that specific vehicle and at what point the period of stay will expire.

 

1.17 The pay units under trial in the Sandling Road car park provide a ticketless solution where the pay unit recognises the vehicle registration number and sends the detail of the transaction in real time direct to the Civil Parking Enforcement Officer patrolling the car park.

 

1.18 The enforcement officer then uses a Smartphone device to identify the vehicle as having an open check in session or a paid period of parking detailing the expiry period. This operation can be further improved through the use of Automatic Number Plate recognition (ANPR) in association with their Smartphone device which is also being trialled to gain a full understanding of efficiency and accuracy of ANPR in Civil Parking Enforcement Operations.  

 

1.19 As a result of having no requirement for displaying a pay and display ticket, the customer need not return to the vehicle, which allows a reduced number of pay units to be placed at the pedestrian entry/exit point which is far more efficient and cost effective than placing a number of pay units throughout the car park.

 

1.20 Check in Check out, Near Field Communication in association with ticketless systems being trailed in Phase one, provide a flexible pre and post parking payment solution for our customers and therefore the success of this trial is being closely monitored and feeds into the pay unit proposals within Phase two.

 

Cashless parking payments

 

1.21 Cashless parking payments are making life more convenient for our customers by increasing the potential for town centre dwell time as the duration of stay can be extended without a need for the motorist to return to the vehicle.

 

1.22 As part of the Phase one preparations, Parking Services has completed a tender for new cashless parking payments and have entered into a three year contract with RingGo. This service has been introduced in all off-street car parks and on-street pay bay locations. RingGo is a phone-based payment service based in the UK who process over 2 million phone parking transactions each month and over 6 million individual UK motorists have used the service. Offered in public car parks and on-street locations across the United Kingdom it is deployed in over 100 local authorities. With the introduction of RingGo at both Maidstone and Swale, RingGo are the primary supplier of cashless parking throughout Kent.

 

1.23 Drivers are able to complete a parking transaction using their Smartphone via App, text or voice which provides a flexible, convenient and secure service. The parking transaction is relayed real time direct to the Civil Parking Enforcement Officer patrolling the car park. The enforcement officer then uses a Smartphone device to identify the vehicle as having a paid period of parking detailing the expiry period. Drivers will normally expect to pay a convenience change for the cashless service (typically around 20p per transaction). However Parking Services have been able to secure a contract with RingGo where no convenience charge is applied to either the customer or the Council making the service a viable alternative to cash payments.

 

1.24 Drivers are also able to extend their parking period without returning to the car park or order a reminder text 10 minutes before expiry of paid time. These optional additional services are charged at 20p per transaction and have been well received by our customers.

 

1.25 Cashless parking transactions via mobile phone currently represent 17.24% of all pay to park parking transactions. This is a growing customer base with 51% of customers using the App to make their transactions (Android 19% / iPhone 32%) with 38% electing to use the Interactive Voice Response (IVR). 11% use alternatives such as text, web, Windows phone or Blackberry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.26 Customers who currently prefer to use cash for parking transactions will continue to be able to do so. However as trends change and demand for cashless payments increase, Parking Service will keep pace with the payment options offered within the Councils parking facilities. 

 

 

Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) contract

 

1.27 Phase one has also included the re-tender of Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) contract. Significant emphasis was placed on innovation and technology within the contract specification and this has allowed Parking Services to introduce new technology as a foundation in Phase one in preparation for innovation in both Phase two and Phase three.

 

1.28 This has included revised hand held devices which enable both automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) and real time connectivity to the Parking Services Civil Parking Enforcement database. During Phase two this will allow full integration with the database and enable penalty charge notice cases to be uploaded as they are issued to allow customers to immediately review the evidence, pay or appeal online. During Phase three this will also allow direct look up from the Parking Services database to facilitate developments such as virtual resident parking permits.

 

1.29 Following a successful tender process, preparations are now underway to enter into contract with APCOA Ltd in June 2018 for a seven year term. In addition to increased efficiency from the introduction of Geo-mapping Civil to allow real-time monitoring and deployment of Civil Parking Enforcement Officers and the continuation of body worn cameras, Civil Enforcement Officers will be utilising body worn air quality monitoring devices which will feed into mapping software to identify poor air quality hot spot areas in support of the Councils Air Quality Objectives. These developments have been secured whilst making a saving of £25,217 per annum on current contract costs.

 

Cashless only car parks

 

1.30 During Phase one, Parking Services propose to introduce a cashless only car park trial in the centre of Maidstone in association with our partner RingGo.

In the UK 76% of adults own a Smartphone (Ofcom), 96% of the population use a debit card and 60% of the population use a credit card (The UK cards Association) and it is anticipated that this offer will attract a wide customer base looking for uncomplicated and reliable parking transactions.

 

1.31 The proposal is to remove cash payment options and to promote the RingGo App as the primary payment method. This will be supported by a pay unit with a near field communication card reader for those customers who elect to use a card payment.

 

1.32 This provides customers with all the benefits of the cashless service such as text reminders and parking period extensions and reduces operational costs and risk as there will be no requirement for a pay unit or cash collections.

 

1.33 Due to the central location and alternative payment arrangements nearby in Lockmeadow, it is proposed to introduce this trial in the Barker Road car park in June 2018 for a period of one year to establish cashless parking within the town centre and provide significant levels of data in which to consider extending cashless only car parks in Phase three.

 

1.34 It is anticipated that the introduction of cashless only car parks will significantly increase take up levels of the cashless parking App and raise the profile of council car parks within a competitive local market.   

 

Real time occupancy trial / active parking availability

 

1.35 The cashless only car park trial will also allow development and testing of an important service that may transform the way in which drivers plan their journey and pay for parking in the future. As each transaction will be recorded on a single database, our partner will be able to accurately record the number of live transactions against the known level at full occupancy. This algorithm can then present the number of available spaces via the RingGo App to our customers negating the need to drive from location to location trying to find a parking space particularly at peak times.

 

1.36 Following further development and testing of the algorithm Parking Services propose to introduce this innovation in tandem with the opening of the cashless only car park in June 2018 to underpin the growth of an established cashless customer base at the Barker Road.

 

1.37 Such systems form the basis of smart vehicle technology where end to end route planning, parking and payment are presented to the driver. Therefore the introduction of cashless only facilities will enable Maidstone to keep pace with demand whilst allowing a full review of driver behaviour to enable this parking model to be rolled out to a wider market during phase three.

 

1.38 Transport analysts have estimated that ‘hunting’ for town centre spaces can contribute up to 30% to town centre congestion during peak times. With an end-to-end solution, motorists would not have to search for parking bays and would be directed to a car park with available parking, which will ultimately support reductions in town centre congestion.

 

Phase two development

 

1.39 Innovations implemented during phase one form a foundation to which further areas of development can be accomplished to improve integration, efficiency and customer service.

 

New pay units

 

1.40 Parking Services manages over 1,600 off-street parking spaces within the Councils 18 car parks, in addition to 10 on-street pay and display locations.

 

1.41 A majority of car parks have Metric Accent pay units which were installed in 2005. As these units have a life expectancy of 10 years our unit supplier Metric have confirmed that the Accent pay units used in Maidstone are no longer manufactured and therefore support for these units is being phased out as replacement parts become increasingly difficult to source from the market.

 

1.42 Close management of pay unit downtime is critical in maximising car park income and so any extended loss of operation significantly increases the risk to income levels. Of the 61 pay units in operation only 3 have the latest payment technology in terms of Near Field Communication, card payments and ticketless systems. 13 units are less than 3 years old, however a significant majority of pay units (45) in both on-street and off-street locations are over 13 years old. The pay unit pedestals on these units housing the cashbox are approximately 30 years old. Therefore these units are considered to be out of date in terms of connectivity and ease of use.

 

 Pay unit supplier              Units

Cale

3

Up to date technology

Parkeon

13

Cash only / No card payment facility

Metric

45

Cash only / No card payment facility

Total

61

 

 

1.43 Although the market is constantly developing, Parking Services will identify the technical specification for the replacement of outdated units over a 24 month replacement programme. The results of our monitoring of Check in Check out, ticketless systems and Near Field Communication card payments being trialled in Sandling Road will feed directly into these considerations in addition to the latest technological developments. 

   

1.44 These developments include compatibility with our cashless supplier enabling the expansion of real time occupancy and active parking availability across a much wider area of Maidstone town centre. This algorithm integrates with the pay unit data and feeds directly into the RingGo App to provide real time car park occupancy to improve customer services and aid town centre traffic management.

 

1.45 During 2018/19 it is proposed to invest in 22 new pay units located in central short stay car park locations using the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) framework agreement 509. This framework agreement is the most efficient method of procurement and provides a compliant route to purchasing parking solutions. The aim is to embrace technology and provide a quick and simple solution to parking payments for our customers whilst not placing our market share or income levels at risk

 

1.46 Through new pay units we will be able to use of a mixture of card and cashless payments whist recognising that at many locations cash payment provision may no longer be required. Development in the pay unit market will continue to be monitored with the remaining 23 pay units replaced during 2019/20 however the number will be dependent on the success of cashless only car park trial which may reduce reliance on pay units going forward.

 

1.47 This investment will be necessary within a competitive local market to protect income levels and to meet customer expectations.

The pay unit replacement programme is estimated to cost £180,000 over two years and is fully funded through the Civil Parking Enforcement Fund as identified under sections 1.67 to 1.71.

 

Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) Database

 

1.48 The improved functionality of hand held devices achieved through the new Civil Parking Enforcement contract will allow Parking Services to enhance other services areas delivered through the Civil Parking Enforcement database. The current database provides a platform to record penalty charge notice evidence, progress cases within the legal process and detail challenges, representations and appeals. This is in addition to providing a platform to administer residents parking permits.

 

1.49 The Imperial database has been in operation for over 8 years and although the system has received regular updates, the database has significant limitations in terms of compatibility with real time data transfer and the ability to move to more efficient processes such as virtual permit solutions. As the current database is no longer being developed by Imperial Civil Enforcement Solutions there may also be implications in delivering the requirements of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), however we are working closely with our supplier to consider interim arrangements.

 

1.50 It is therefore recommended to replace the CPE database to coincide with the start of the new Civil Parking Enforcement contract to enable innovations such as real time data transfer, automatic number plate recognition to be simultaneously introduced in June 2018. This will allow continued development an innovation in Phase three enabling the introduction of virtual resident and visitor parking permits.

 

Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points

 

1.51 At present there are no EV charging facilities in any of the council’s off-street car parks. Some analysts predict 10% of all cars on road will be EVs by 2020. Manufacturers including, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Nissan have now shifted their focus to EV and autonomous vehicle technology development and production. Combustion engines will no longer be manufactured from 2040 in the UK.

 

1.52 Due to the extremely fast-paced growth of this sector over the last 12 months and the huge wealth of resources committed to it by all industry leaders, it is anticipated that a significant increase in demand will be experienced across the parking industry in the next few years.

 

1.53 It is therefore essential that we meet the needs of this developing market to support green transport and improved air quality within the town centre

Whilst maintaining a quality parking infrastructure.

 

1.54 It is proposed to introduce 8 EV points within off-street car parks at prime locations such as King Street, Medway Street, Barker Road and Lockmeadow whilst also introducing a further 6 EV points at Union Street East, Mote Road, Wheeler Street to provide a source of EV charging for residents during the off peak period to improve the levels of ownership of electric vehicles by Maidstone Residents.

 

1.55 EV charging point purchase options will be reviewed, though a lease option or partnership for a period of 3-5 years as this seems favourable due to the continually evolving technology. This allows us to monitor user activity and take-up as well as update technologies to meet the needs of the public.

 

1.56 There are a number of different charging models designed to facilitate EV market growth. The introduction of Smartphone applications to access EV charging points has allowed flexible intelligent tariffs to be adopted. These systems can identify the location automatically and vehicle type by vehicle registration number and have the ability to apply a discounted payment for EV vehicles.

 

1.57 Levels of usage and charging structures will be closely monitored to enable expansion as necessary as EV charging demand increases over time.

 

1.58 The background document accompanying this report explores the development of the electric vehicle market and provides an update on EV growth, trends, changing legislation and technology within the EV market.

 

Phase three development

 

ParkNow

 

1.59 Our cashless systems supplier RingGo have recently been bought by BMW who have developed ParkNow, an integrated in-car system which provides information on local parking facilities and real time occupancy. ParkNow also enables on-board parking transactions via an on-board wallet directly linked to the owner’s bank account. This end-to-end journey planning is live and has already been released in Germany.

 

1.60 RingGo have confirmed that the ParkNow system will be incorporated into all new BMWs in 2018 in the UK incorporating all council car parks. This innovation links directly into Phase one proposals and is a typical example of the direction of the immediate market in terms of integrated innovation.

 

Virtual Permits / self-serve

 

1.61 During Phase three Parking Services will consider a number of delivery models for virtual resident parking permits and virtual visitor permits. This will move away from the current paper based systems and will allow greater flexibility in the use of self-serve web based processes. Virtual permits will be more efficient by making the transaction and approval in real-time being fed directly to the Civil Parking Enforcement officers hand held device. This system negates the need for paper permits, posting and delay and although will require some refinement to match current permit allocation rules a virtual permit process will meet the requirements of the councils digital transformation aspirations and improve customer experience.

 

Extend cashless only car parks

 

1.62 Following the evaluation of the Phase two trial in Barker Road car park, it is anticipated that we will build a solid customer base on which to offer cashless only facilities at other strategic car park locations. This will likely include pay units to incorporate Near Field Communication devices and card readers in addition to the cashless App provided by our partner RingGo.

 

 

 

Considerations beyond Phase three

 

Intelligent tariffs / Carbon metered parking

 

1.63 The parking infrastructure available following the developments proposed in each phase will allow options to be considered to promote the use of environmentally friendly vehicles and to discourage the use of vehicles that contribute to poor air quality in the town centre.

 

1.64 Intelligent tariffs provided through our cashless systems can identify vehicle type by vehicle registration number and apply the appropriate tariff calculated on chosen location and air-quality pollutant emissions. The use of EV vehicles for example may attract a discount whereas less environmentally friendly vehicles using high polluting petrol and diesel engines may be levied a carbon surcharge.

 

1.65 Intelligent tariffs can also be extended to include processes applied to resident parking permit applications in areas of poor air quality. Parking Services will be working closely with database suppliers during Phase three virtual permit proposals to establish the viability of this proposal within current permit allocation rules. 

 

Financial estimates / Funding

 

1.66 The developments outlined in Phase one have already been funded from within the Parking Services budget:

o   Barbour Logic / Self-Serve

o   Near Filed Communication trial

o   Check in Check out trial

o   Ticketless systems trial

o   Cashless parking App

o   Civil Parking Enforcement contract

o   Cashless only car park trial

o   Real-time occupancy trial

 

1.67 Financial estimates in relation to developments during Phase two for one off costs for purchase and installation are:

Updated pay units (22 units)

£88,000

Updated CPE database

£17,040

Total

£105,040

 

1.68 Financial estimates in relation to developments during Phase three for purchase and installation are:

Updated pay units (23 units)

£92,000

ParkNow system

Cost neutral

Virtual permit application

£10,000

Total

£102,000

 

1.69 Financial estimates in relation to ongoing costs per annum for these developments are:

EV charging points (14 units)

£6,720 (leased)

CPE database licence fees

£11,340

Total

£18,060

 

The CPE database licence fees are comparable with those of the current Imperial database and so therefore funded from the existing budget.

 

1.70 Financial provisions in relation to Civil Parking Enforcement are defined within Section 55 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. This Act strictly controls how any surplus Fund through Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) can be used once any deficit in the Fund over the last four years has been balanced and that all financial commitments are considered in the provision of CPE services. Section 55 (4) b allows the council to use any surplus to meet all or any part of the cost of the provision and maintenance of off street parking accommodation. The proposals within this report therefore meet the legal requirements in terms of appropriate use of surplus Funds associated to Civil Parking Enforcement services. The CPE Fund may appropriately be used for other purposes, including supporting Park and Ride.

 

1.71 The CPE Fund is currently maintained at £478,000 and so full funding for the Phase two and three developments can be achieved to enable Parking Services to continue to drive innovation and improved services.

 

        Town Centre Car Parking Charges Proposal

(Deferred decision from the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee meeting on 22 January 2018).

 

1.72   Currently, the Pay and Display tariff structure is broadly consistent across all car parks and does not consider a variable tariff structure based on location and demand, other than a few exceptions such as King Street and Palace Avenue. As a result, availability within central car parks close to town centre amenities is limited which leads to drivers hunting between car parks for spaces particularly at peak times. Although future technology will help reduce this, the current tariff banding places stress on the parking spaces available at central locations when there is parking capacity within in outer car parks.

 

1.73   Town centre Pay and Display parking is also considered to be low-priced particularly for longer stays, as the current tariff structure reduces the hourly rate for a longer the period of stay.

 

1.74   The Integrated Transport Strategy recognised this difficulty and identified under 8.23 of the report that we should look to review the pricing structure for car-parks in Maidstone town centre through the introduction of dynamic car-park charging. This was in addition to the recommendation to optimise long stay parking charges to extract maximum value, whilst controlling demand through a 50% increase in long-stay charges by 2031.

 

1.75   The strategy also identified under 8.27 that a review should establish what measures might be introduced to encourage parking into the larger edge of centre car parks.

 

1.76 This review formed part of the Tri-Study investigations carried out by WSP who confirmed that significant demand was placed on town centre car parks and those to the north east when compared to car parks situated further from town centre locations.

 

1.77 Our consultants WSP also highlighted the need to replace car park infrastructure with more modern systems to allow card payments, pay on exit (currently being trialled in Sandling Road car park) and active monitoring of capacity /dynamic management of parking supply which are covered within this report.

 

1.78 In order to meet the existing commitments in the Integrated Transport Strategy, the Local Plan and the Low Emissions Strategy, it is recommended that tariffs are revised to moderate demand through pricing, based on location and are set at a level to achieve occupancy levels of approximately 85%, which is the industry standard to provide good levels of bay turnover and parking availability.

 

1.79 Parking Services have considered the survey data and identified four zones facilities (Appendix 1) based on parking demand and location to town centre.

 

1.80 The current Pay and Display tariff has also been reviewed and proposals within Appendix 1 this report provide a consistent hourly rate within the existing time bands specific to each zone.

 

1.81 The hourly tariff has been applied consistently throughout each time band providing a reasonable level of parking charges whilst promoting migration from high demand car parks to outer zone car parks and Park and Ride where reduced demand has been identified.

 

1.82 The proposed tariff changes should also promote the use of alternative transport methods. This will lower strain on the worst affected car parks and reduce congestion caused by vehicles unable to find spaces, especially during peak hours.

 

1.83 Customer migration to outer zone car parks and to Park and Ride for longer stays is likely.  The following table gives an indication of the range of likely outcomes.  The projections below show the impact on income ranging from  0% migration to 20% to alternative methods of travel into the town centre:

 

 

1.84 The tariff proposals support budgeted income expectations 2018/19 and identify that a -10% variation in pay and display customers will still result in additional income of £198,340 due to variation in hourly tariff bands for each zone. 

 

1.85 The number of pay and display season tickets is low with only 252 currently active despite being relatively low priced when compared to daily long stay parking charges. Parking Services will make contact with all season ticket holders to promote and encourage the use of Park and Ride as a cost effective alternative for long stay visits to the town centre.

 

1.86 Following the Park and Ride trial performance reporting in October 2018, members may wish consider the current pay and display season ticket arrangements and pricing, particularly if Park and Ride performance is encouraging, supporting a modal shift away from private car use for long stay town centre visits to more sustainable modes of transport reinforcing the objectives of the Integrated Transport Strategy.

 

Resident Parking Zone Limited Waiting Times

 

1.87 In order to ensure that these proposals have no detrimental effect on resident parking close to the town centre, Parking Services will undertake a review of the limited waiting times for non-permit holders within each resident zone during 2018 to ensure that priority parking is retained for residents. Any identified variation to the Kent County Council, Waiting Restrictions and Street Parking Places Order will be carried out under the legal process which will include public consultation on any proposals before being implemented. Any variations will also be considered as part of the development of virtual permits as detailed under 1.61.

 

2.        AVAILABLE OPTIONS

 

Innovation and Development

 

2.1     The parking industry has embraced a significant change in technology in recent years and this has been recognised and anticipated by our customers. Parking Services development through innovation as recognised within this report over three phases is therefore vital in the provision of quality services and to protect the Council’s car park income within a competitive market.

 

2.2     To maintain current levels of technology without investing in development may not be viable in the longer term as pay units, replacement parts and systems are becoming obsolete. Over time, services may become unstable and place vital income streams at risk. This may also place our off-street services at risk as they will quickly become outdated in comparison to competitor facilities and our customers’ expectations.

 

Town Centre Car Parking Charges

 

2.3     To maintain the current level of pay and display tariffs will not recognise the Integrated Transport Strategy recommendations or the recent findings from our consultant WSP. Town centre car parks within high demand locations will continue to operate at full capacity increasing the likelihood of increased congestion from drivers hunting for parking spaces particularly at peak times.

 

2.4     The proposed tariff has been considered carefully to moderate demand through pricing and to maintain a consistent approach to hourly rates. If tariffs were varied but continue to offer discounted parking for longer stays, the likelihood of modal shift to alternative modes of town centre transport is reduced.

 

 

3.        PREFERRED OPTION AND REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Innovation and Development

 

3.1     This report provides the committee with an overview of current and developing technologies in the parking industry and outlines the planned innovation within Parking Services over the next two years.

 

3.2     Systems can now be integrated to provide seamless and reliable services whilst contributing to improved business efficiency.

 

3.3     Innovation timeline:

 

Phase one:

February 2018 to July 2018

 

 

Barbour Logic / Self-Serve

 

 

Near Field Communication (NFC) trial

 

 

Check in Check (CiCo) out trial

 

 

Ticketless car park trial

 

 

Cashless parking payments

Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) Contract

 

 

Cashless only car park trial

 

 

Real-time occupancy / Active parking availability trial

 

 

 

 

Phase two:

June 2018 to March 2019

 

 

New pay units

 

 

Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) database

 

 

Electric Vehicle charging (EV) points

 

 

 

 

Phase three:

April 2019 to December 2019

 

 

ParkNow (real-time occupancy all council car parks)

 

 

Virtual permits / Self-Serve

Extend cashless-only car parks

 

 

3.4     It is therefore recommended that the proposals to develop parking services and embrace innovation are noted.

 

Town Centre Car Parking Charges

 

3.5     The preferred option is to revise the pay and display tariff as set out in Appendix 1 of this report to promote migration from high demand car parks in the town centre to outer zone car parks and Park and Ride.

 

3.6     The proposal meets the existing commitments in the Integrated Transport Strategy and the Low Emissions Strategy by minimising unnecessary car journeys into the centre of Maidstone.

 

 

4.       RISK

4.1    We present this report for information only so it has no direct risk management implications.

 

4.2    However, while this report is not seeking a decision, it is important to note that innovation will bring with it a degree of uncertainty and risk. We will therefore seek to ensure that when decisions are being made, that we have a full awareness of the risks and associated consequences, and that we manage them in accordance with the Council’s agreed risk management framework.

 

 

5.       NEXT STEPS: COMMUNICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECISION

 

5.1     Following a review of Near Field Communication (NFC), Check in Check out (CiCO) and ticketless car park systems during phase one, Parking Services will identify the most efficient pay units whilst incorporating the latest technology using the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) framework agreement 509.

 

5.2     Parking Services will work with the communications team and suppliers to trial a cashless only car park during Phase one, and test real-time occupancy and parking availability algorithm systems.

 

5.3     During Phase two Parking Services will replace the current Civil Parking Enforcement database to coincide with the start of the new Civil Parking Enforcement contract to enable innovations such as real time data transfer and automatic number plate recognition to be simultaneously introduced in June 2018.

 

5.4     During Phase two, 8 EV points will be installed within off-street car parks at prime locations whilst also introducing a further 6 EV points at strategic off-street locations to provide a source of EV charging for residents during the off peak period.

 

5.5     Parking Services will work closely with suppliers to introduce ParkNow across all council car parks before December 2019 and develop virtual parking permit solutions incorporating self-serve functionality for Maidstone residents within the resident parking scheme in 2020.

 

5.6     Parking Services will also work closely with internal departments to fulfil Council-wide strategic goals, pool internal knowledge and generate efficiencies.

 

5.7     Changes in pay and display tariffs will be advertised and formal public consultation carried out in March 2018 in accordance with legislation including the recent introduction of the Parking Places (Variation of Charges) Act 2017. Objections will be reported back to the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee meeting on 10 April 2018.

 

5.8     Performance will be closely monitored with the number of pay and display ticket transactions under the revised arrangements being compared to the current tariff. This will provide an indication of the level of vehicle migration to the outer zone car parks and financial projections.

 

6.       CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES AND IMPLICATIONS

 

Issue

Implications

Sign-off

Impact on Corporate Priorities

Keeping Maidstone Borough an attractive place for all – by seeking to improve the quality of parking services though innovation and development.

Jeff Kitson Parking Services Manager

Risk Management

This report is presented for information only so it has no direct risk management implications.

Jeff Kitson Parking Services Manager

Financial

The Civil Parking Enforcement Fund is currently maintained at £478,000 providing full funding for the innovations identified in this report to enable Parking Services to continue to improve services.

The proposed changes to Pay and Display Tariffs have the potential to generate additional income for re-investment in the service and/or to support Park and Ride.

S 151 Officer and Finance Team

 

Staffing

It is anticipated that the services will be delivered within existing staffing levels.

Jeff Kitson Parking Services Manager

Legal

Financial provisions in relation to Civil Parking Enforcement are defined within Section 55 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

Interim Deputy Head of Legal Partnership

Privacy and Data Protection

The developments identified within this report will increase levels of data held by third party suppliers. The Council will ensure that partners fully comply with the requirements of GDPR

Interim Deputy Head of Legal Partnership

Equalities

An equalities impact assessment will be undertaken as there may be an impact to consider on groups with protected characteristics.

Equalities & Corporate Policy Officer

Crime and Disorder

The developments identified within this report will have no negative impact on Crime and Disorder.

Jeff Kitson Parking Services Manager

Procurement

The Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) agreement 509 provides a framework for some services identified within this report. Where required the Council will follow procurement exercises in line with financial procedure rules.

Jeff Kitson Parking Services Manager

 

7.        REPORT APPENDICES

 

7.1  Appendix 1: Town Centre Car Parking Charges Proposal

 

 

8.        BACKGROUND PAPERS

 

8.1   3 Years of Electricity – Understanding Development of the EV Market (2014-2017).

 

8.2   Integrated Transport Strategy:

 

http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0012/10353/Integrated-Transport-Strategy-2011-31-September-2016.pdf