The Parking Consultancy

Case Study

A Review of Parking Provision, Policy and Operations

Client:  Solent University

Solent University, based in Southampton, has 18,000 students and 1,500 staff.  It operates across several sites in the city (the main one being East Park Terrace) as well as the Warsash Campus which is located 10km away on the banks of the River Hamble.

Parking is scarce, particularly at the East Park Terrace Campus (EPT) with its city centre location.

Given the restriction in the number of spaces, students are not allowed to park at EPT (except in exceptional circumstances); however, they are permitted to park at the nearby Halls of Residence.

Client Issues
The Parking Policy at Solent University had been adopted over 10 years ago when The Parking Consultancy was contacted to help.

Solent expressed concerns as to whether their Policy and infrastructure were still up to date and aligned with national best practice and their campus redevelopment plans.

To that end, they tasked TPC with:

  • Reviewing the current car parking provision, policy and operational management procedures to assess whether they remain appropriate and fit for purpose in light of redevelopment proposals;
  • Benchmarking ‘good practice’ policies and procedures both within and outside the sector, then considered their suitability for adopting or adapting at Solent;
  • Presenting a series of options and recommendations.

Solent was particularly keen that any recommendations fit with the Travel Plan, Sustainability aims and other wider University policies.

  • Other factors that required consideration were:
  • Patterns of staff travel and car park usage;
  • Future anticipated demand for the car park;
  • Staff travel between sites during the working day;
  • Flexible working patterns and the needs of particular groups of staff, visitors and contractors;
  • Charging methodology and pricing;
  • Legislative compliance in relation to access;
  • Restrictions on the ability to add to existing parking provision.

Our Solution
The Parking Consultancy (TPC) was appointed through a tender process via the North East Procurement Framework, where we proved to be most cost-effective and best experienced to deliver the project.
The information gathering stage consisted of two main tasks: conducting an audit of car parking facilities and benchmarking of facilities both locally and nationally.
The audit took into consideration:

  • Car parking facilities, designations and capacity;
  • Existing car parking infrastructure and payment hardware;
  • Signage (both enforcement and wayfinding);
  • Surface condition and bay markings;
  • Suitability for the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR);
  • Any other general observations;

In addition to this, TPC also benchmarked charges at car parking facilities (both private and Council-run) in the local area, as well as comparing Solent charges with those of other Universities nationally.

Services Provided
To summarise, TPC undertook the following tasks:

  • Conducted an audit of parking facilities at city centre, satellite and Halls of Residence sites;
  • Conducted a benchmarking exercise of local car park charges;
  • Conducted a review of national car park charging data for the sector;
  • Advised on compliance with current legislation in relation to access (particularly enforcement signage and blue badge bays);
  • Benchmarked permit-to-space ratios at other institutions and suggested a set of needs-based criteria for Solent;
  • Commented upon future developments and how they might impact upon parking capacity / demand;
  • Benchmarked sector payment methods for parking permits;
  • Provided an options appraisal of the latest parking technology and payment systems;
  • Aligned parking policy with the Travel Plan, Sustainability targets and other University policies;
  • Provided a high-level review of the Travel Plan.

The Results
This data was collated and then used to produce a report containing detailed recommendations on:

  • Parking policy at each campus;
  • Hardware (for example access control);
  • Ancillary revenue generation;
  • Improvements to surfaces, line markings, signage, blue bays, layouts;
  • Permit-to-space ratios, parking charges and needs-based criteria;
  • Measures to ensure the success of the Travel Plan;
  • Measures to assist flexible working;
  • The contents of a future parking strategy.

These recommendations are currently forming the basis of the Travel Plan and Future Parking Strategy at Solent University.

Contract Data
Duration: 3 months    
Contact: Ian Goodwin and Ade Collins
Tel: 01430650343 or 07410117113