National Transportation Planning and Research Centre has carried out an extensive study on the demand and supply situation of parking on MG Road in Thiruvananthapuram city. Dr B G Sreedevi, T Ramakrishnan and Ebin Sam give a glimpse into the factors and procedures of the study and the recommendations in the parking management plan.
Mahatma Gandhi road (MG road) in Thiruvananthapuram city that connects LMS and Attakulangara, passes through the city’s central area. The Government Secretariat, Office of Accountant General, City Bus Station, Ayurveda College, Corporation Office, Educational Institutions, many banks, commercial centres and shopping complexes are all located along this road. This causes traffic congestion and generates high parking demand along the road. In the absence of adequate off-street parking facilities, vehicles coming to these centres are parked in a haphazard manner along the road curbs, thereby aggravating the traffic chaos and posing hazards to pedestrians. The need of the hour is to develop an appropriate parking management plan, taking into account the various aspects of transportation problems in the area, and implement it in a concerted and sustainable manner.
The National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC) has prepared a parking management plan for Kerala Road Safety Authority (KRSA) that could be useful for Thiruvananthapuram city. The study, that includes a suitable parking policy framework, has identified problems associated with parking in the influence area of MG road, and assessed the extent of parking deficiency to propose solutions. After taking into consideration the demand and supply gap, suitable short-term and long-term solutions for parking have been formulated.
On-street parking on MG Road
As a first step towards the preparation of the Parking Management Plan, all available past study reports, plans, survey data and statistics related to Thiruvananthapuram city were identified, compiled and reviewed. Extensive primary surveys were carried out to ascertain the road network characteristics, land use profile of the study area, and parking demand and supply features.
The secondary and primary data so collected were systematically analyzed using appropriate scientific methods. Based on detailed assessment of parking demand and supply characteristics, the parking deficiency was calculated and counter measures to fill the demand-supply gap were identified along with parking management strategies.
Perceptions of road users were obtained to evolve a policy framework for parking management and to arrive at alternate solutions for increasing parking supply and/ or reducing parking demand in order to arrive at an equilibrium of demand and supply. More than 74% of the respondents either strongly favoured, or favoured, the concept of ‘park-and-ride’ and 72% of the respondents favoured the ‘car-pooling’ concept. Nearly 95% of the respondents support the concept of off-street parking complexes. Many of the parkers expressed their willingness to park their vehicles about 100metres away from their places of visit and then walk. There were many strong advocates for public transport system and non motorized transport system to reduce the parking demand on M.G. Road.
Paid parking in the city may be implemented and in order to cater to the demand, differential parking rates for the CBD have been adopted. Pricing for on-street parking should be time based parking fees, favouring short duration parking than long duration parking.