Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering


Simon Dale

Project Title

Monitoring the outcomes for traffic congestion and business behaviour following the introduction of a Work Place Parking Levy (WPL) and Nottingham Express Transit (NET) Phase 2  in Nottingham


Nottingham City Council


Professor Stephen Ison
Dr Matthew Frost

Mr Peter Warren

Director of Research:
Professor Jim Chandler

Research Period

2012 - 2016




Monitoring the outcomes for traffic congestion and business behaviour following the introduction of a Work Place Parking Levy (WPL) and Nottingham Express Transit (NET) Phase 2 in Nottingham

Organisation  Background:

Nottingham City Council is the Unitary Authority for the City of Nottingham. It has won many awards, including Transport Authority of the Year, for its forward thinking transport policies. In 2004 NET Line One was opened, a tram system which has proved highly successful. On the 1st October 2011 the Authority introduced licensing for the first Work Place Parking Levy (WPL) scheme in the UK. The City Council has also signed a private finance initiative agreement with Tramlink to build a further two tram lines to Clifton and Chilwell from the City Centre (NET Phase 2). These will be part funded by WPL income.

Simon Dale is a Principal Officer in the Highway Metrics team which is responsible for data collection and analysis across the Authority, although its primary role is to monitor outcomes of the Local Transport Plan (LTP) and major transport schemes including NET Phase 2 and the WPL. Simon has also worked extensively on the development of the WPL scheme.

Current State-of-the Art

Work Place Parking Levy Schemes: The powers enabling Local Authorities to introduce a paid for licensing scheme were included in the Transport Act 2000. Nottingham City Council developed a draft scheme in co-operation with the DfT which was put into legislation in the City of Nottingham Work Place Parking Levy Order 2008. The Work Place Parking Levy (England) Regulations 2009 were drawn up and approved by the Secretary of State for Transport to provide additional clarification to the TA 2000 in light of Nottingham’s experience in producing a draft scheme.

A number of surveys have been carried out asking businesses about their views and likely reaction to the WPL, however no survey to date has been carried out to monitor actual business behaviour over time.

In October 2011 the Nottingham WPL Scheme came into operation and is the first of its kind in the UK.  

Light Rail Schemes (Trams): Manchester, Croydon and Sheffield all have similar light rail schemes to NET and have to varying extents carried out before and after monitoring using combinations of traffic counts, modal share surveys, etc. Before and after monitoring for NET Line 1 was based on the general monitoring of the Local Transport Plan

Urban Congestion Monitoring: Urban congestion monitoring was a mandatory indicator for the LTP from 2005 to 2010. The DfT chaired a working group comprising representatives from the 10 largest conurbations inEnglandto try and arrive at sensible measure for congestion. As a result of this the DfT adopted, journey time per person mile as their congestion indicator. Simon Dale and Pete Warren were on this working group.

In 2008 Nottingham City Council, along with the other 5 East Midland Authorities, was awarded a sum of money from the Transport Innovation Fund to investigate congestion issues across the East Midlands region. As it was important to be able to compare congestion across routes of differing morphology, vehicle delay per mile was used. This was measured using probe vehicles equipped with GPS recording devices to compare night time journey times with those in the morning, evening and off peak periods to calculate delay per mile. Prior to a change of emphasis away from monitoring by the Coalition Government it was anticipated that the next step in trying to understand congestion would have been to consider journey time reliability.

The key knowledge gap which this project will aim to fill is “How will congestion and business behaviour change in response to the unique intervention of WPL alongside other major transport interventions and how best can this be measured?”

Key References

Nottingham City Council’s WPL website contains all key public facing documents  relating to the scheme.

6Cs Congestion Management Study: Traffic Congestion Survey Results January 2008 –NottinghamCity Council 2008.

Greater Nottingham Local Transports Plans 1& 2,NottinghamCity Council/Nottinghamshire County Council. Nottingham City Local Transport Plan 3, Nottingham City Council.

Work Place Parking Levies: The Macbeth of the Demand Management World – Taylor and MacDonald, Atkins Consultants 2008.

The impact of road pricing and workplace parking levies on the urban economy: results from a survey of firms; Still B and Jopson A, ITS,UniversityofLeedsand Gerrard B,Leeds University Business School,UK2008.

Aims and Objectives:

The aim of this project is to assess the effects of the following major transport interventions on levels of congestion, traffic, transport mode share and business behaviour:

Work Place Parking Levy – introduced October 2011 NET Phase 2 – operational in Autumn 2014 A6514 Ring Road Major Scheme – to be completed before 2016 A453 M1 to Clifton improvement – possible opening by 2016 Smaller scale initiatives within the LTP and from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) programme

The objectives are to:

Monitor congestion, traffic levels and modal share between 2010 and 2016 specifically in NET corridors and in general across the conurbation. Monitor the quantity of work place parking, the uptake of parking management schemes and use of travel planning initiatives by employers in Nottingham between 2010 and 2016. Monitor the level of inward investment, (business location decisions) in Nottinghambetween 2010 and 2016 and develop a methodology to access the reasoning behind these decisions in order to establish if any of the above schemes are a factor in business location decision making. Establish to what extent the benefits of improved public transport and the resultant congestion constraint and increased work force mobility are understood by employers.Quantify the effect on traffic congestion of the NET Phase 2, WPL, Ring Road Major and A453 schemes.To meet the City Council’s obligation to measure the above schemes performance against their stated objectives. To provide the conclusions of the research (where considered appropriate by Nottingham City Council and CICE) to inform the design of future similar schemes and to inform their justification to businesses and the public. To inform best practice for assessing the outcomes of future similar schemes

Proposed Research Methods:

Levels of congestion - will be monitored using morning peak period moving observer surveys inbound to the City Centre on the major radial and orbital routes. The surveys are carried out annually in the Autumn and will be augmented by year round GPS journey time data supplied by the DfT for the Nottingham urban area. There is an existing time series for this data, but this project would look to introduce a measurement of delay in addition to the current measure of journey time. The period 2012 to 2016 will see significant network changes related to the NET Phase 2,  the A453 M1 to Clifton and Ring Road Major schemes, thus ”delay” will be used rather than journey times as this will be better able to take account of these network changes. Delay is also more sensitive as it will give an indication of journey time reliability which, although beyond the scope of this project, is a major consideration for the time allowed when a journey is planned.

Area Wide Traffic Growth – the change in area wide traffic will be monitored annually using the City’s automatic and manual counts. There is an existing time series for this data.

Modal Share - will be monitored annually inbound to the City in the AM peak period at sites forming an inner cordon around the City on the main radial routes. There is an existing time series for this data.

NET Phase 2 impacts – will be monitored by before and after surveys to measure levels of congestion, traffic and mode share in the new tram corridors. These surveys will take place in 2012 and 2015/16

Work place parking supply in Nottingham- this will be derived by aggregating figures from the WPL registration database.

Carry out a questionnaire survey to establish to what extent the benefits of improved public transport and the resultant congestion constraint and increased work force mobility are understood by employers

Business Location: Decisions - It is proposed to use the following method to measure the impact on business behaviour. The research method will either be by direct interview or questionnaire and will be carried out as relevant employers are identified on a rolling basis through out the research period. The aim will be to build up a pattern of behaviour and cause. The following groups of employers will be surveyed:

Employers moving into the City. Employers that have moved away from the City. Employers that have expanded or contracted their activity in the City.

These groups can be identified from Non Domestic Rates data, records held within theLocal Land and Property Gazetteer and data from the City Council’s Inward Investment Team. The aims of the above mentioned study will be different to previous studies which asked how businesses intended to react to the introduction of NET Phase 2 and WPL because they will be targeted at establishing how they actually reacted after the scheme’s introduction; i.e. it will monitor real behaviour over an extended period rather than intentions or opinion.

The output from this project will be a thesis drawing together the results from the above mentioned suite of surveys to draw conclusions on the outcomes resulting from the major transport interventions. These will then be compared to the scheme’s stated objectives. And recommendation will be made for best practice in the design and monitoring of future similar schemes.

Expected Benefits and Outcomes:

The Business case for WPL and NET Phase II included the expectation that there would be a measure of how the schemes achieved their objectives. This project will facilitate this assessment and is thus fulfilling this obligation for the City Council to monitor the outcomes of the two schemes. An understanding of how businesses in a large urban area react to the WPL and its accompanying public transport improvements will be of enormous value to other Local Authorities considering a similar bold strategy. While in general the costs imposed on employers by the WPL are a relatively small percentage of turnover, making it unlikely that this will be a major factor in deciding business location, an independently verified study that confirms this hypothesis would do much to allay the concerns of any other Authorities considering a WPL scheme.

Although, modelling has suggested that the WPL alone will have a relatively small impact on congestion, if employers reduce the amount of work place parking they provide as they seek to reduce their liability for the Levy then this may have a more positive effect on congestion than the model predicted. This study will seek to assess the effect on congestion of the WPL individually as well as with the whole package of related interventions. This information will provide other Authorities with a much more reliable indicator as to what to expect if they were to implement a similar WPL scheme.

This thesis will therefore form an important knowledge base facilitating the transferability ofNottingham’s sustainable transport strategy to other urban areas.



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Loughborough University
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