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36 Table 13. Ecopass financial performance, 2008 (6 million). Fiscal Year 2008 Operational revenues Passes sold through retailers or at booths 8.5 Passes sold online 2.1 Passes paid with debit cards 1.5 Subtotal operational revenues 12.1 Operating costs 6.5 Costs/revenues 53.9% Gross margin 46.1% Operating margin N/A Source: Ecopass exempted vehicles as a percentage of total vehicles increased · Financial burden on the owner or operator (such as the from 58% in January 2008 to 80% by December 2008. In all, municipality): The owner or operator must come up with there were an additional 677,000 new vehicles located within funds to maintain parking areas (e.g., paving, snow removal, the Ecopass zone that complied with Class 1 or Class 2 Euro- regulation enforcement). pean emissions standards. · By charging an explicit fee for parking spaces through meters or permits, revenues are generated, which can help Financial Performance of the Milan System to offset capital and operating costs. Moreover, these sys- tems can help to manage parking demand and availability to In its first year of operation, it was found that the Ecopass improve the parking experience for all, including provid- system generated roughly 612.1 million, with operational costs ing increased convenience and easier location of parking of approximately 66.5 million. Based on these data, costs for drivers, decreased congestion on the roadways, and accounted for about 54% of revenues generated, exceeding the increased turnover for area businesses. 34% average that was found for U.S. and Canadian tolling sys- tems. Table 13 summarizes the financial performance of Eco- A limited number of parking pricing systems have been pass during 2008 (Comune di Milano, 2009a). Capital costs and implemented. A city-run parking system in Westminster has depreciation costs were not available. evolved into an efficient and technologically advanced exam- ple of a parking pricing system. In Chicago, city officials 2.5 Parking Pricing Systems recently leased the city's metered parking spaces to private investors for a term of 75 years to attract capital to upgrade the As an alternative to tolling, parking pricing (or parking man- existing parking system. In San Francisco, local agencies are agement) systems are growing increasingly attractive to manage working to build a system using real-time parking data to man- congestion and generate revenues. Parking management sys- age congested streets and relieve a parking shortage. The next tems can take on many different forms, but the guiding princi- sections will focus on these three parking systems in various ple behind all parking management systems is the idea that phases of implementation. The design of each system will be there is no such thing as free parking (Naparstek, 2007). The discussed along with technology employed, impacts on the cost of parking has several components. The first and most city, and costs of the systems. obvious is the cost to the driver in cases where a fee is charged. For a metered space, drivers realize that they must pay a certain fee for set increments of time. Similarly, drivers understand 2.5.1 Westminster City Council's that they must often pay a fee to park in a staffed parking garage Parking Program or lot. However, to the driver, curbside spaces without meters Overview of the Westminster City Parking System or permit requirements are often perceived as free and are therefore more desirable. There are many hidden costs associ- The City of Westminster, which is contained within Lon- ated with these free parking spaces, including: don, has slowly grown its citywide parking pricing program into a larger and more efficient revenue-generation system. · Congestion: Vehicles circle in search of free parking spaces, This program controls all public parking spaces in the city, spending excess time on the road, affecting through traffic including curbside spaces, lots, and garages. and leading to increased congestion. The Westminster parking pricing system is divided into · Environmental impacts: As congestion increases and vehi- eight controlled parking zones, with each zone having its own cles spend more time on the roads, the amount of vehicle fees and restrictions. Maps of the zones as well as specific park- emissions also increases. ing locations, fees, and restrictions, such as time restraints, are
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37 available on the Westminster website (City of Westminster, Since the amount of parking time the card purchases varies by 2009). An excerpt from the ParkRight guide showing zones zone, multiple scratch cards may be used to provide for longer and hourly parking rates is shown in Figure 13. Also posted on parking durations. the website are the terms of service, parking rules, instructions As the parking system in Westminster has evolved, the on how to pay for parking, and how to settle or argue any park- city council has been able to adjust to factors that could ing tickets. present significant complications to a new parking system, Parking in city spaces is paid for at pay boxes, by telephone, such as or with scratch cards, or prepaid permits. The scratch cards offer a prepaid cashless option and work somewhat like a lot- · Security, tery ticket. Scratch cards are available at various locations · Visitor parking, around the city, with costs of £2.20 and £4.40. To use these · Disability parking, cards, drivers must scratch off the time and date that they have · Construction and dumpster allowances, parked and display the scratched card on their dashboards. · Resident parking, · Event parking, and · Loading and unloading zones. Operations and Enforcement of the Westminster City Parking Program Several factors set the Westminster parking system apart from other parking management systems. The first is the institutional integration of the system, which is operated and managed by a single entity, the Westminster City Coun- cil. The second is the technology that has been implemented throughout the city. Not only does the Westminster park- ing program offer many payment choices, including cash- less payment via telephone, but the city has also been outfitted with an enormous wireless network, including a vast network of closed circuit televisions (CCTVs) (Thomas, 2004). This system has had an enormous impact in improv- ing the efficiency of operations and maintenance activities as well as improving the safety of parking areas. Piloted in 2002, the city has had nearly a decade to fine-tune its park- ing system. The recent technological focus has been on improving payment methods. Improvements have been made to the pay-by-phone service, and the scratch cards were intro- duced. Additionally, new measures have been added to pro- tect the privacy of pin codes and chip readers. Westminster has also been piloting a visitor's parking scheme as well as an "Every Older Person Matters" pilot program to target incon- siderate drivers who obstruct sidewalk accessibility features. The parking system has evolved to include a car-sharing pro- gram, called the Car Club, which is being developed through a partnership with Zipcar. In addition to reducing the over- all demand for parking, this program has given local residents the ability to avoid congestion tolls on small trips within the city. Although discouraging the use of private vehicles could have an adverse effect on parking revenues, the ability to Source: ParkRight, Your Guide to Parking in Westminster. Westminster City maintain or increase the availability of parking spaces for Council, 2009a. those who wish to park may sometimes outweigh potential Figure 13. Westminster parking zones. revenue losses.