Congratulations, Kelvin!

2017.08.14 Kelvin's Anniversary

Last Friday the PTC team celebrated Kelvin Worthington’s 10th year work anniversary. Kelvin is a valued member of our company and his experience in all facets of parking makes him a reference to colleagues when needing advice.

Kelvin’s primary objective, which he has so successfully achieved, has been to become a trusted advisor to his clients, and their ‘go to person’ on all matters relating to parking. He continues to provide clients with quality advice, delivered efficiently and professionally, to add real value to the project.

In addition to his professional expertise we value Kelvin’s contribution to the team by providing mentoring and team development input which the younger members of the team place a great value on.

Well done Kelvin and we look forward to many more years together!

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Commuting in Melbourne versus Sydney

2017.07.24 Commuting in Sydney and Melbourne 4

It may be commonplace to state that traffic in Sydney is worse than in Melbourne. After all, Sydney’s population is larger and the harbour splits the city in two making it harder to cross from one side to the other. Surprisingly, a new study challenges this common notion, as reported by The Conversation.

Researchers from the Grattan Institute analysed Google Maps data for more than 300 routes travelling to and from the CBD in both cities. The data were collected in 25 different times each day during 12 weeks, between March and June 2017. The study points out that an average trip to Melbourne CBD takes approximately 70% longer in the morning peak than it would in the middle of the night. In Sydney, travelling in the same conditions and at the same time, takes 50 to 60% longer.

The following chart shows the comparison between Sydney and Melbourne at different times of the day.

2017.07.24 Commuting in Sydney and Melbourne

Travelling back home from the CBD is a bit faster but it is difficult to get away from the afternoon peak. Anytime between 3:30 pm and 6 pm, it can take at least 40% longer than it would in the middle of the night. An average trip from the CBD in the afternoon peak takes 60% longer.

Considering commuters from different areas, it is possible to note that Melbournians living in the northeast suburbs register the worst commuting performance to and from the CBD and those travelling from and to the west experience the least increased times, as can be seen in the following chart.

2017.07.24 Commuting in Sydney and Melbourne 2

The researchers also found that in Sydney the increased travel time depends more on the direction of the trip rather than on what side of the city people are travelling from, see the chart below. In the morning peak, commuters driving from Mount Colah to Macquarie Park have the worst delays.

2017.07.24 Commuting in Sydney and Melbourne 3

Commuting time is not only related to policies to enhance and expand road networks. It also involves public transport, especially when considering that public transport users represent 25% of commuters in Sydney and 18% in Melbourne.

It is also important to note that 8 of every 10 kilometres travelled by Sydney and Melbourne residents is by car. Thus, the question remains: how to reduce car dependency and improve traffic? As we observed in other cities that are trying to tackle traffic congestions and related pollution issues, effective solutions usually involve various aspects of the transport network. While some cities are planning radical policies to restrict cars from certain areas, such as Paris, Madrid and Barcelona, other cities, as Seattle, invested in public transport, bike lanes and incentives to alternative modes of transport.

Image source: Herald Sun and The Conversation


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What does a parking consultant do?


Not everyone is familiar with the intricacies of parking management or the complexity of this industry and we often find ourselves answering questions about what exactly we do.

Although we have a specific set of skills and knowledge relating to the parking industry, our consultants’ daily activities are very similar to those of other professionals working on more broad management or project consultancy roles. At the end of the day, all of us are focused on providing advice that will assist our clients’ decision-making process and ultimately increase their competitiveness and/or profitability. Our clients are blue chip and cover many industries including transport, education, health, retail, commercial and residential.

A parking consultant will work on a variety of projects, including but not limited to feasibility and demand studies, operational and equipment tenders and strategy development. Therefore, this kind of job requires a creative professional with excellent problem-solving and analytical skills.

Parking consultancy projects start with understanding the clients’ needs, which involves liaising with clients as well as conducting site visits/inspections depending on the type of project. The next step is to analyse the data and information available, which can be related to demand/pricing surveys results, financial records, technology specifications, community consultation outcomes, just to name a few. After undertaking analysis through financial and managerial tools, our consultants provide recommendations accordingly.

Some of the projects that Parking & Traffic Consultants is engaged involve traffic, transport, and parking technical components. Thus, our consultants have a variety of backgrounds in disciplines such as accounting, financial management, marketing, civil engineering, traffic engineering, transport planning and parking operations. Having a diverse team enhances the quality of the outcomes and enables us to provide a wide range of solutions to our clients.

We are seeking to expand our consultants team. If you are interested in joining a vibrant and friendly team in a growing industry, click here for more details on our Parking Consultant vacant position.


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Growing driverless car fleet in the US

2017.07.04 Waymo

Waymo, the company created to commercialise Google’s self-driving car research, was launched last December and is moving fast forward to set its position in the autonomous vehicles sector. The company used 100 self-driving vehicles to conduct public tests in Arizona; in comparison, Uber had 43 active self-driving vehicles being tested in March 2017. Now, Waymo is going to add 600 cars to its fleet, spreading the company’s reach.

The company is forming partnerships with different organisations to ensure its growth in the near future, according to Forbes. Waymo’s most recent deal with Avis Budget Group was designed to provide maintenance services for the test fleet. The rental group will upgrade some of its service centres to assist Waymo with cleaning, oil change, auto parts substitution, as well as safe parking spaces. The organisation has also established a partnership with ride-hailing company Lyft and is discussing collaboration with Honda.

A 600-unit fleet of autonomous cars is not likely to have a significant impact on the structure of the world’s car and parking industries at the present moment. However, it is our job to monitor the next steps of this kind of initiative and be aware of the possible impacts it can have on the foreseeable future.

Read our related posts and articles:

Trends that will shape the future of parking

Will autonomous cars drive people away or to suburbs?

Understanding the impact of driverless car

Photo credit: Waymo


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Curb extension to increase walkability

2017.07.04 Los Angeles 3

Los Angeles civic centre, one of the most walkable, transit and bike-friendly areas of the city, became more pedestrian-friendly with the added improvements at the intersection of First and Main streets. Similarly to what we reported on our recent post Design interventions for safer streets, the city Department of Transportation new treatments aims to make the area safer for pedestrians.

According to StreetsBlog LA, a painted curb extension with bollards and pavement markings was included at Main Street as well as rubber curb and knock-down bollards on First Street, see images below. These initiatives will force drivers to slow down when turning left providing a safer environment for pedestrians.

Curb extension - Main Street and First Street Intersection, LA

Curb extension – Main Street and First Street Intersection, LA

2017.07.04 Los Angeles 2

Rubber curb and knock-down bollards on First Street, LA

Photo credit: StreetsBlog LA


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Design interventions for safer streets

2017.06.27 Mumbai Intersection

New design strategies are being tested in Mumbai to improve road safety. Last week, a temporary artwork was installed in the Mithchowki intersection, a risky road area in Mumbai, according to Global Designing Cities Initiative (GDCI). The redesign was based on principles of the Global Street Design Guide which focuses on distributing the road space in a more equitable way considering all users and prioritising the most vulnerable ones, such as pedestrians, children and elderly.

The intervention resulted in narrower free turning lanes with tighter corner radii, which force drivers to reduce vehicle speed and provides wider sidewalks, resulting in a safer environment for all road users. Other safety strategies such as new refuge areas, more direct crosswalks and curb extensions were included in the project. Watch the video below to check the work that has been done:

The temporary intervention serves as a tool to trial and assess design strategies aimed at increasing safety for future long-term design of other intersections in Mumbai. By collecting data through user surveys, the city will be able to compare road users’ view of how safe or vulnerable they feel before and after the road redesign.

If the Mithchowki intersection redesign is successful, it will be replicated in other areas of the city. To achieve the goal of having safer streets, the intersection redesign cannot be a stand-alone intervention and must occur in combination with other activities, such as public education, effective police enforcement and a powerful communication campaign.

This transformation is one initiative of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS) program in Mumbai. BIGRS aims to reduce fatalities and injuries from road traffic accidents globally by providing financial and technical assistance to ten cities and five countries over five years. The program helps countries to develop road safety legislation and cities to implement proven road safety interventions.

Image credit: Hindustan Times | Video credit: Abhimanyu Prakash


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Oslo car ban is not an easy task


In the post Oslo cuts on-street parking, we presented one of the city’s initiatives to meet its plan of having a car-free centre by 2019. To discourage car usage in the short term, the city opted to promote high-impact and low-cost improvements for cyclists and pedestrians by reducing on-street parking.

Although the measure seemed to be easily executed, local residents are not happy with the lack of parking. According to The Guardian, car owners’ resistance with the city’s plan aligned with the opposition of the local trade association, the Oslo Handelsstands Forening (OHF), who believe that the measures will have a negative impact on the city.

It is not surprising that local residents are against plan. In our experience, people tend to see on-street parking as an extension of their homes as if they had an acquired right to park their cars in the public space.  As we have discussed in previous posts, it is not unusual either that business owners expect a negative impact on their bottom line when parking is restricted. Read more: More parking isn’t always the answer, No parking, no business? and What’s the impact of reducing parking spaces?.

Business owners tend to believe that most of their clients travel to their venue by car. However, we have seen that this is not always the case. In fact, sometimes cyclists, pedestrians and public transport users spend more than car drivers.

Creating car-free zones or even making difficult to drive in certain areas requires a great change on the city’s transport network and most importantly on people’s mindsets. Cities like Madrid, Paris, and Barcelona are implementing drastic changes and also facing opposition. In some cases, conducting tests or creating pilot areas helped to convince the population and local business owners that the changes would bring an overall positive impact.

Image credit: The Guardian, Agency for Urban Environment, City of Oslo


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More parking isn’t always the answer

2017.05.11 On-street parking

Location is a crucial competitive aspect for retailers in general and restaurants in particular. Once the location is chosen, there are limited options to improve access to their business. Therefore, they usually tend to advocate for increasing parking supply as a way of providing more convenience to their current and potential customers and as such, abundant parking is perceived as vital for their business success. However, it is not always what clients want and not necessarily the right solution for increasing revenue.

As reported by The Conversation, research was conducted in three restaurant precincts in Brisbane focused on verifying if car parking is as important as restaurateurs believe. To understand that, customers’ mode of transportation to travel to the restaurant and their spend were investigated as well as restaurateurs’ perception on both aspects.

As can be seen in the graphs below, there are significant differences between restaurateurs’ perceptions and the actual consumer behaviour. The largest gap is related to car usage, while restaurateurs believe that 52% of their customers use this mode of transport, the reality is that it only represents 18%. On the other hand, the mode share of public transportation is underestimated by restaurateurs; they thought that only 15% of their clients travelled by public transport when in fact 41% of them do.

2017.05.10 Graph3

In addition, restaurateurs also have a misperception of the revenue share of customers according to their mode of transport. The graphs below demonstrate that gap:

2017.05.10 Graph4

The study indicates that consumers who walked, cycled or used public transport to travel to restaurants spent more than those who used cars. Researchers conducted two simulations to evaluate potential impacts of these findings on the restaurant’s revenue.

The first one increased the number of consumers who travelled to the precinct by car to 52% by reducing their travel costs by 30% (to $ 2.896 per person) while limiting the number of consumers per day to 300. The result was a 2% decrease in revenue because this change would result in a reduction of higher-spending consumers who travel by other modes.

The second simulation proposed reducing public transport costs by $2.89, applying similar conditions as the previous test; the result indicates a 3% increase in total revenue. Therefore, this analysis suggests that restaurateurs at those particular precincts should be advocating for improvements to attract more consumers who travel by public transport, bicycle or walk, instead of increasing parking supply.

Our post No parking, no business? discussed a similar study which presented the misperception of Toronto’s merchants regarding the travelling mode of their clients. In that case, local businesses’ best clients were those arriving by active transportation (walking or cycling) as they spent more and visited the area more frequently than the others.

For further information read the article What’s the impact of reducing parking spaces? and check the infographic Fact vs. Fiction parking control kills the retail strip.

Image source: Josh Wilburne and The Conversation

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Oslo cuts on-street parking


Oslo’s plans for a car-free city centre by 2019 is resulting in several changes in the city transport matrix. The city is implementing strategies to make walking the preferred transportation mode, followed by cycling and public transport, as was reported in the Streetfilm movie below.

The city is working on creating more pedestrian friendly areas as well as increasing and enhancing their bike network. According to the Communication Officer of Oslo Agency for Cycling, Liv Jorun Andenes, the best way to promote high-impact and low-cost improvements for cyclists and pedestrians was to reduce on-street parking. The space is being repurposed to create new bike lanes and to enlarge the width of existing cycling paths and sidewalks. Check out the Before and After images below:

Oslo Before and After

In addition to changes in the public space, private properties are being affected as new developments within the central area need to be car-free, reducing even further the city’s parking inventory. Driving is also going to be a difficult experience in Oslo, with lane widths in some streets being reduced to give way to wider bike paths creating a more bike friendly city.

Having a car-free centre means that the city must provide alternatives for people to move around, which includes expanding the current public transport network, creating faster and more efficient systems and improving the city’s bike share system. It is also necessary to ensure that deliveries can be made to guarantee the viability of retail and restaurant activities. Although some vehicle access will need to take place within the city centre, it is not going to be a pleasant ride as drivers will have to slow down through those shared zones. There is no single magical solution for Oslo, but the city is working on a number of different directions to ensure the plan’s success.

Watch the video below for further details:

Read the related articles: Strategies to reduce air pollution and No place for cars in Oslo development

Image credit: The Epoch Times and Streetfilm


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Innovative line marking – pros & cons

2017.04.18 Double Lines

Car park design made the news last week when NewsMail reported about a shopping centre using double lines to mark bays. While some drivers criticised the design, the car park owner seems supportive of its benefits in comparison to the traditional single line marking.

According to Australian standard, the size of bays with double line marking must be measured from the centre of the pair of marked lines.  Although the total space, including the area inside the double lines, remains the same as in traditional car parks, the actual bay is effectively smaller.

2017.04.18 Double Lines 3

The Parking & Traffic Consultants team identified a number of pros and cons of using double line marking on car park design:


  • Facilitating pedestrian movement between cars
  • Possible reduction of cars scratching doors against other vehicles
  • Helps drivers to park straight in the centre of the car space


  • The design makes drivers perceive that the bays are smaller than they actually are, potentially generating a negative impression
  • More lines can distract drivers making it difficult to identify bays when several spaces in a row are empty
  • For most people it is counterintuitive to park with the tyres on top of the lines which can make the parking experience difficult for large vehicles
  • Requires extra turns and manoeuvring to park in the right position
  • Higher cost to paint (and maintain) extra lines, compared to traditional design

The key question is should you consider or not this design on your next car park?

As each car park is unique, there isn’t a definitive answer and evaluating the pros and cons against the specific design challenges of your site may indicate the best way. In addition, you need to consider that most drivers are not used to this type of design, and therefore it may take some time for customers to adapt to it.

What is your opinion?

Photo Credit: Radcliffe Dacanay and NewsMail


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