Do 'Park and Ride' Schemes Encourage More PT Use?

In short - not really.  According to a study in Adelaide (published in Road and Transport Research),  park and ride schemes have been found to actually increase the number of cars on the road.

Park and ride schemes provide parking (often cheap or free) at junctions with public transport enabling commuters to drive from home for part of their journey, and take public transport for the rest.  This idea was meant to encourage public transport use for people who would normally drive, and ease traffic pressure on roads.

However, the study showed that "over 82% of respondents who previously used mass transit for their entire journey now travel part of the way by car".  At the same time, there was little evidence of additional trip generation for the connecting public transport services.  This shows that the scheme actually puts more cars on the road than it takes off - at least in areas that are in the catchment of the parking bays.

This issue aside, there are some other beefs one may have with schemes like this. Land use is one - is parking really the most efficient use of land in locations like this - particularly when the cost of the parking for the user is usually cheap if not free?  Surely there are better ways to encourage PT use (greater coverage, more services, better services, more incentives for PT and disincentives for cars)? Or is park and ride simply a short term option whilst these initiatives are in the works? What do you think?

Thanks to Scott Martin for sending through the link and interesting info on this topic.

Read the study here, and a brief newspaper article based on it at InDaily here.


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