toronto parking

Do park-and-ride schemes lead to more congestion?

New research out of the Netherlands suggests park-and-ride facilities at commuter rail stations may have the unfortunate effect of increasing road and vehicle use, according to a post over at Atlantic Cities.

GO Transit said last month it was considering introducing a parking charge to fund new infrastructure and bring it in line with the TTC and other transit companies. According to the Toronto Star, the TTC gets $10 million from each year from this revenue stream. Parking is currently free in all unreserved spaces at GO stations.

The results of the survey, gleaned from users of parking facilities by Dutch researcher Giuliano Mingardo, provide evidence that people who used to bike or use public transit for their entire journey were more likely to drive to a park and ride facility. People surveyed were also made more trips because the cost of travel was lower.

Increasing car usage appears to run against GO Transit's mandate to reduce congestion in the GTA. The study did find, however, that park-and-ride lots in the suburbs that snag commuters before they enter the core of a city performed well at reducing vehicle miles. Paid parking, Mingardo found, reduced some of the negative side-effects.

GO says it's "examining these issues" as part of an investment strategy it's due to deliver in June 2013 for the next wave of Big Move projects.

What are your experiences with GO parking? Would charging for parking encourage you to use alternative modes of transportation or simply force transit riders to make their entire journey by car?

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: "TTC Commuter Lot" by Tom Podolec/blogTO Flickr pool.


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