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Parking and town centre vitality

Parking and town centre vitality

The greater the proportion of access by car, the less successful a town centre is likely to be.

Here are research findings that support this statement, from a study of German cities by former colleagues Dieter Apel and Michael Lehmbrock at the Deutches Institut für Urbanistik (DIFU) in Berlin.

The economic performance (retail turnover) of the town centres of 37 cities was rated in relation to the average performance for West German cities for their respective city size range. Likewise the proportion of travel to the town centre (for shopping purposes) by car was related to the average figure for cities of that size.

They found that:
    1.    All of the well-performing (above average) town centres had a car share of access below the average for their respective city size.
    2.    All of the four cities with a below-average economic performance had higher-than-average car access.
    3.    Of the average-performing town centres, half also had average levels of car access, while the other half were split roughly equally between above and below average car access.

Yes, this is fairly old data, but it is included here partly because town centre parking and car access is a continuing controversy, partly because otherwise it would be lost (certainly to the English-speaking world), and partly because research undertaken by Messrs Apel and Lehmbrock was serious and painstaking, and deserves to be made more widely known.

Sources: The retail performance data came from the German Retail Federation (Handelsverban Deutschland - HDE). Transport data cane from BAG (Hrsg) "Untersuchung Kundenverkehr 1988", Köln 1989, as well as data from city statistics departments.

The full research, with much more detail on the provision of parking in German cities, was published in:

"Apel, D and Lehmbrock, M, "Stadtverträgliche Verkehrsplanung: Chancen zur Steuerung des Autoverkehrs durch Parkraumkonzepte und -bewirtschaftung", Deutches Institut für Urbanistik, Berlin, August 1990. This document is not available in electronic format.


Town centre vitality, town centre parking, car parking, economy, car commuting, auto dependency, car dependency

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