In 2013 UWE implemented a radical change in parking policy at Frenchay campus, removing the right to park from undergraduates living in an ‘Exclusion Zone’ (with a few exceptions) covering the areas where most students live. The change was applied to undergraduates who started after September 2013. This meant that 2015 offered the last opportunity to survey a cohort of third years with a right to park on campus, in order to compare their travel behaviour with the next cohort, most of whom would not be allowed to park on campus.
Early in 2015, the Facilities Service agreed to fund the Centre for Transport and Society to survey two matched cohorts of third year students to assess the impact of the parking policy change. The study aimed to evaluate the impact of the changes on the mode of travel to campus and also on car ownership, travel for other purposes and overspill parking. 507 students completed the survey in 2015 and 420 in 2016. To assess the pattern of overspill parking separate observations were made during 2016 of vehicles parked on surrounding streets and in the B&Q car park. The key findings were:
• 24% of those who started after September 2013 drove to campus on the day of the survey, compared to 33% of those who started before September 2013.
• 44% of those who started after September 2013 took the bus to campus on the day of the survey, compared to 28% of those who started before September 2013.
• Unexpectedly however, the overall proportion driving to campus rose from 28% in 2015 to 30% in 2016.
• This apparent discrepancy is partly explained by a larger proportion of mature students, aged over 26, in 2016.
• The transition between cohorts was not as abrupt as we had expected: 24% of those surveyed in 2015 started after September 2013, compared to 67% in 2016.
• Partly because of this, the proportion with parking permits fell but not dramatically, from 19% to 13%.
• Previous policies had already reduced driving by 2015; in a 2010 survey (of Frenchay students studying only built environment subjects) 50% drove to campus.
• Only 25% of those who lived within the Exclusion Zone and started before September 2013 held a permit in 2015, even though they were entitled to one.
• Other possible explanations for the increase in driving in 2016 included:
o An 8% fall in the price of unleaded petrol, which contributed to a national increase in car traffic.
o The new student car parks opened in 2016 were more conveniently located than the old visitor car park, which closed in 2016.
o The removal of parking from some students may have freed up space on the surrounding roads for others to take their place.
• The change in parking policy caused a gender differential for the first time; females starting after September 2013 drove less than males.
• 73% of students who drove to campus in 2016 parked on campus, 10% parked on streets and 16% parked elsewhere.
• 12 students admitted to parking on campus without a permit.
• Around 100 cars parked on surrounding streets and 70 in the B&Q car park could be attributed to overspill parking from UWE (in the Spring term).
• Rates of cycling to Frenchay campus remain low and have not increased; UWE should consider offering matched funding to prompt the authorities to improve the incomplete networks of cycle routes to Frenchay campus.
Melia, S., & Clark, B. (2016). Evaluation of the change in parking policy on Frenchay campus