The evaluation of current government policies on parking shortage problem in Shanghai and suggest possible solutions.
1. Introduction - Situation of parking shortage problem in Shanghai
The number of vehicles in Shanghai has increased during recent years. There is greater demand for parking spaces. However, the number of parking spaces failed to fulfill the demand for the parking spaces due to various reasons, which leads to parking spaces shortage problem. According to National Bureau of Statistics of China (2012), there were 2.12 million cars in Shanghai in 2012. While the number of registered public parking spaces was 389 thousand till June, 2012, the gap between the supply and the demand is still large and estimated to be around 300 thousand (China Daily, 2012). Also, It is estimated that by the end of 2015 the demand will widen the shortage to 450,000. High shortage of parking spaces will lead to various consequences, such as increased likeliness of illegal parking and higher parking fee. This brings wide range of adverse effects to the urban transport. Yang (2012) pointed out that the parking spaces shortage problem in the city centre was much severe than that of the rural area. Most of the car owners were unwilling to park their cars in the carpark as the parking fee was too high to afford, hence there was always illegal parking at the roadside. The illegal parking record rose from 1.94 million in 2011 to 2.18 million in 2012. Moreover, there were some parking spaces underutilized because of the high parking fee. Thus, it is of paramount importance to tackle the parking spaces shortage problem as soon as possible.
The Shanghai government mitigated the parking shortage problem from supply and demand perspective. From the supply side, the local government introduced mobile parking spaces in the downtown region so as to increase the supply of parking spaces. From the demand side, the city government introduced car plate auction system, which implies all car plates must be obtained through auction system. There is always a fixed number of new cars, thus the growth of number of cars is controlled and the demand for parking spaces is directly reduced.
Apart from the above, the local government initiated P+R transport mode (Park and Ride), in which the car owners could park their cars near the transport hub and then go to city centre by public transports. This act increased the supply of parking spaces and decreased the demand for parking spaces in the core city region.
The effectivenesses and limitations of these policies will be discussed in the following parts. Although there are quite a number of policies implemented, there is still room for improvement. Through investigating into the way the other cities solve parking shortage problem, some improvements can be suggested to optimize the current measures adopted by local government.
2. Causes of parking shortage problem
According to theory of supply and demand in microeconomics, when demand exceeds supply, a shortage occurs. Sellers dominate the market and the price becomes higher. We will analyse the causes from both the supply and demand perspective.
Parking spaces shortage problem is a possible consequence of insufficient supply of parking spaces. There are at least three main factors leading to parking spaces shortage, namely improper urban planning policies, unreasonable structure of parking facilities and insufficient government support.
2.1 Improper Urban Planning Policies in the past
Cycling was the major transportation mode in last century Shanghai, hence many old buildings are only equipped with bicycle parking facilities but not car park. The city lacked foreseeability, this resulted in the lack of vehicular parking infrastructure development. Besides this, many newer constructions are not consistent with the regulations of parking places.
2.2 Unreasonable structure of parking facilities
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