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Car park management in Birmingham and Manchester

This is an analysis of car park management in Birmingham and Manchester, England. Before we move to the two cities themselves a word about our general observations about car park management all over the world.

We conclude that for the majority of car park management services the present way of doing things is not efficient and some doubt that it is effective. The results can be seen in the great cities all over: Too much parking supply catering to too much vehicular traffic; over widespread locations of car parks; all manner of socioeconomic and environmental travails. We think that parking supply that targets several destinations and are highly regulated and that primarily serve "high value" users is superior to free off-street parking for one destination only.

Parking management implementation requires changing the way we think about parking problems and expanding the range of options and impacts considered during planning.

As our research progressed we took on board over 20 different kinds of parking management systems that were efficient and effective. Some were appropriate to certain situations only and others had general applications. What they all had in common was: Problems arising from external infrastructural management such as the ways of local government and major property owners who have other matters to hand besides parking.

With the public good in mind we find that the best management methods have the effect of reducing parking needs by a modest 10% or so and that the effects were long term and cumulative. Over a generation parking needs can reduce by 30% or so.

We have noted with regret that in many places the management approach is to aim for abundant free parking to, presumably, ease the convenience of business and leisure parking. This leaves out the social preference for wide-focus town planning with more in mind than parking on its own. There is a range of parking strategies outside the scope of this article on management methods with the abovementioned wide-focus vision.

For persons interested in car park management in Birmingham and Manchester we recommend a perusal of the printed work Parking Management Best Practices, by Todd Litman, 2006.

Now to consider, first of all, Birmingham. This city is the second city of England and is a business hub for the West Midlands region. This is the former Black Country that poets of the past such as William Blake demonised as "satanic mills."

The country surrounding Birmingham has lost a great deal of the manufacturing activity when England was "the workshop of the world" and service industries for home and foreign use have taken over massively. The Bullring of Birmingham and Spaghetti Junction show graphically the love affair between the people of the Midlands and the motor car.

Now for Manchester. This great city is the capital of the north. It serves all manner of agribusiness and to a certain extent service industries. Information technology has a strong presence in Manchester as well as the brewing industries.

Car park management in Birmingham and Manchester comes second in importance only to London to the South. The wide-focus management approach of previous mention above is the way to progress in both cities, and in London too.

We look to the professional transport sector to deliver to the public the answers to the acute need for best solution car park management. The Institute of Logistics and Transport has a great task to fulfil for the industry, the country and the world.