The Changing Face of the Car Park and Parking Experience

The Birmingham Post (England), March 8, 2012 | Go to article overview

The Changing Face of the Car Park and Parking Experience


It's surprising what our country's car parks can tell us, but a research report from Jones Lang LaSalle, analysing the performance of 113 shopping centre car parks across Great Britain provides a clear indication of how the impact of spiralling fuel costs and the green agenda are meaning motorists are using their vehicles less.

"The daily turnaround of car parking space has decreased by 10 per cent in just 12 months," said Carrie Sanders, director of Shopping Centre Management at the Birmingham offices of Jones Lang La Salle.

"The national average daily turnaround per space is 1.9, down from 2.2 on the previous year. Car usage is changing.

"The fluctuating price of oil and increasing cost of car ownership is having an impact and The Department of Transport statistics also tell us that the number of newly-registered vehicles has begun to plateau. New government schemes to reduce car usage and improve public transport is also having an increasing influence."

For the Shopping Centre landlords, these figures show that no longer can they rely on an increase in volumes in the foreseeable future. They have got to act now to make the shopping centre car park experience a positive one to maintain income.

"Prior to the economic downturn, " said Carrie. "Car parks didn't require much focus. Typically revenues year on year have outpaced increases in operating and premises costs, delivering enhanced returns. However, in the last couple of years landlords have resisted raising tariffs with the majority making no changes in the last three years. Three per cent also report that they actually reduced tariffs."

To add to the car park owner's woes, operating and premises costs have increased and are forecasted to continue to do so with RPI now over five per cent.

In Jones Lang LaSalle's last report they highlighted the need for landlords to inject capital into their car parks in order to keep in touch with technological advances, demographic change and the flight towards 'green' travel.

She continued: "Car parks are typically the first and last points of contact for the shopper, yet too often the process can be a source of frustration. A positive experience is vital to create the right impression. Take The Mailbox for example.

It is well lit and signed with good sized bays, easy access and is favoured by female shoppers who feedback that it feels very safe and secure."

There are three core functions the car park needs to perform to achieve the right impression - make it easy to pay. …

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