Already since 2013 GIZ, the Shenzhen Urban Transport Planning Center (SZUTPC) and Shenzhen Municipal Commission of Transport (SZMCT) jointly worked on reforming parking pricing in Shenzhen. International parking expert Paul Barter supported local transport planners to evaluate the effects of the parking price policy and assisted the project team in improving the actual policy design.
On-street parking management has been implemented in four pilot zones in the city center of Shenzhen since July 2014. After an operation period of several months, Shenzhen Urban Transport Planning Center (SUTPC) conducted an evaluation on impacts of the on-street parking management policy in Futian CBD, Nanshan CBD, Tianbei and Zhuzilin and published key findings of the evaluation report on the social media platform Wechat and local newspaper Shenzhen online.
Right before the evaluation started, four areas adjacent to the pilot zones with similar land use and parking problems have been identified as referential areas (control zone, see Fig. 1). Those areas are Futian CBD North, Science and Technology Park South, Agricultural Center South and Hongling. Ex-ante and ex-post parking surveys have been conducted both in pilot and control zones.
The evaluation results reveal that the overall street order and traffic movement benefit tremendously from the on-street parking pricing. In order to quantify the effects of on-street parking policy, the following criteria have been identified as evaluation indicators:
• Turnover rate of short-time on-street parking,
• Occupancy rate of off-street parking facilities,
• Proportion of illegal on-street parking,
• Travel speed during peak hours,
• Proportion of GHG reduction and
• Numbers of customers attracted by local retails.
The direct impact of regulating and pricing on-street parking is an increasing turnover rate. Long time parking can be shifted to off-street parking facilities with lower prices, which leads to more available on-street parking spaces for short time parking. The ex-post survey shows the turnover rate of short-time on-street parking dramatically increased by 48.6% on average. The specific number of Futian CBD, Nanshan CBD, Tianbei in Luohu and Zhuzilin are listed in table 1. The turnover rates of Tianbei and Zhuzilin significantly increased by more than 80% compared with the survey results in May 2014.
At the same time, the control zone (non-pilot zone) has no obvious changes of turnover rate because the pricing adjustment has not been implemented there.
Occupancy Rate of Off-street Parking Facilities
The occupancy rate of off-street parking facilities generally increased by 22.3% on average. Especially the occupancy rate of weekday day time off-street parking greatly increased (see Table 2). The increasing occupancy rate of off-street parking facilities is an indirect effect caused by a shift of long time on-street parking to off-street parking. The lower price of off-street parking compared to on-street parking incentivises the price-sensitive user-groups (usually commuters) to use off-street parking spaces, which are usually ignored because of free and convenient on-street parking.
Figure 2 shows the weekday day time occupancy of an underground parking garage in a shopping mall in Futian CBD before and after the implementation of on-street parking management. As the comparison shows, the utilization of off-street parking tremendously increased due to the on-street parking management policy.
The occupancy of weekday day time off-street parking in the control areas adjacent to the pilot zones slightly increased by 4-5%. This is caused by the natural growth of car ownership.
As the newly established local parking management authority, the Shenzhen Road Management Center takes full responsibility of on-street parking management and enforcement. More than 600 wardens were hired to enhance the enforcement in the pilot zones.
The results reveal that illegal on-street parking radically reduced. Especially illegal on-street parking during the weekday evening peak reduced by 92.36% (see Fig.3).
Figure 3 shows the same road section of Huaqiangbei area on a weekday evening peak. Almost a whole side of on-street parking has been removed by the efficient pricing policy and strong enforcement.
At the same time, illegal on-street parking in the non-pilot zones Futian CBD North, Science and Technology Park South and Agricultural Center South decreased by 57.2%, 49.9% and 45% respectively. This decrease was caused as on-street parking management was planned to expand to the whole city center and on-street parking spaces outside the pilot zones were marked with signage step by step even without pricing. The marked spaces remind the car drivers to be cautious regarding their parking behavior.
The dramatic decrease in illegal parking cleared the streets and quickly eased the congestion caused by illegal parking. The road capacity greatly increased and the traffic movement speed up. The road traffic travel speed during the weekday evening peak increased by 13.3% (see Fig. 4).
On-street parking pricing lead to a better street order (see Fig. 5).
The travel speed of the weekday evening peak in control areas slightly goes up and down because of other improvements on the road network and public transit system.
As a consequence of the improved traffic operation and increase in travel speed, the GHG emissions during the weekday evening peak reduced by 4.6% (see Fig. 6). At the same time, the GHG emissions slightly increased by 2.2% in control zones.
No Side-effects on Local Retails
The results of the customer flow survey reveal that the customer flows in primary commercial spots are not affected by the price adjustment. For example, a customer flow survey was conducted on a typical weekday between 6:30pm to7:30pm in Yijing Center (a shopping mall in Futian CBD). The results show that the amount of customers increased by 10% compared to the same time before the policy implementation.
In the light of the positive impact, the city decided to extend the charging zone to the whole city center since Jan 1st, 2015.