La Rochelle: the change in practice
Karen Mounier is the parking manager in La Rochelle, a city of 80,000 inhabitants. She and her team of 15 parking controllers manage 3000 on-street parking spaces. The city also manages 2250 off-street parking spaces with a staff of 45, as Ivo Cré discovers
Ivo Cré: What do you want to achieve with parking in La Rochelle?
Karen Mounier: First of all we want to offer the possibility of parking for the very short-term visitors on the public road network. We want to incite the medium- to long-term visitors, in particular the tourists, to park off street. We also promote the use of our park and ride facilities by commuters and tourists. Yet, we want our residents to be able to park near their home.
IC: Is La Rochelle looking into the use of new technologies?
KM: La Rochelle has been using state-of-the-art technologies with good results. We have been working with electronic ticketing since 2014, issuing 52,000 fines that have seen us collect €1.8 million. Mobile payment has been very popular and effective and we have had this since October 2015. The average ticket revenue has increased and the rate of spontaneous payment is growing, so we have had to issue less fines. We have now moved to Automated Licence Plate Recognition, leading to speedy, comfortable registrations with less potential error.
IC: What are the technological outlooks for the future?
KM: We want to optimize street parking places in the public road network, developing an app to provide wayfinding and real time, available parking information. We also will introduce reduced parking fees for shared cars on parking meters. This application is really new: drivers, for example Blablacar users, will self-declare the number of people in their car by sending a picture via an app.This information will be linked to the license plate. In addition to a reduced parking fee, drivers will have incentives, for instance the possibility to use bus lanes.
PARK4SUMP is an exciting EU project that will develop and carry out a capacity-building programme: for external follower cities, as well as for national governments. It will also involve service providers and parking industry representatives. It will consist of trainings, shadowing programmes and webinars as well as of targeted policy transfers. The capacity building programmes will regularly be updated in order to incorporate new insights. PARK4SUMP aims to change local parking practices and speed up the take up of high quality parking management and its integration into Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs). It will take the very best parking management examples, contexts and expertise in Europe and profit and learn from them in order to transfer these on a large scale and in the best way possible to new cities and new contexts: in PARK4SUMP leading cities, in PARK4SUMP follower cities and to project-external follower cities.