Parking in car parks popular

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

by: Sacha Oerlemans

The use of city centre parking spaces has risen for the second consecutive year. 2016 saw a rise of more than 3% compared to 2014 levels, which were already on the up.

The trend can be seen in the preliminary results of the Parking Barometer, an annual survey into the use of parking spaces in 17 municipalities in the Netherlands by Spark and the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

The Dutch Parking Barometer highlights the parking behaviour of city centre visitors since 2008. The results are based on the total number of hours that visitors park in the city centre and the number of available parking spaces.

Trends in parking hours parking barometer

Figure:Trend in parking hours sold 2008-2016

A break in the trend was first observed in 2014. Since then the rise in use of parking spaces has continued, increasing by over 3% in 2016. This growth is more rapid than the rise in the Statistics Netherlands (CBS) consumption index for the same period (1.7%).

Large versus small city centres

The data shows that the use of city centre parking spaces rose by a total of 9% in the period 2014 to 2016. The strongest rise in parking space use (14%) was seen in the larger municipalities (more than 100,000 inhabitants), followed by an 11% rise in medium-sized municipalities (50,000 to 100,000 inhabitants). In contrast, in small municipalities (less than 50,000 inhabitants) parking space use fell by almost 3%. This reduction may be related to the changing attractiveness of small cities, but further research is required.


Parking in car parks is more popular than on-street parking. There is a clear shift in the parking behaviour of city centre visitors. The Parking Barometer shows that the use of car parks has risen by 26% since 2014. In the same period the use of on-street parking has fallen by 2%. This shift cannot be explained by construction of additional car parks or a reduction in on-street parking spaces. The objective of parking policy is to create liveable city centres. The figures show that it is easier for visitors to find car parks and that the policy appears to be paying off.

Parking tariff

In the last two years the parking tariff charged in all the municipalities in the survey has been pretty stable or has increased.