Brislington Park & Ride service

Bristol, United kingdom


Abstract

The Brislington Park & Ride site opened in 1993, and allows car-based travellers entering Bristol to park their cars at no charge and continue their journey to the city centre by bus. Parking provision was increased to 1,300 spaces in 1994. Substantial increases in patronage have been recorded since the site opened, and in March 1996 a weekday average patronage of 1,000 fare paying passengers was recorded. User surveys in 1994 showed a large proportion of users (56-72%) would previously have travelled by car, and in March 1996 the weekday service removed approximately 500 car journeys per day. Traffic counts before and after implementation suggest that the Park & Ride service, combined with the effects of the A4 bus priorities, has had some success in reducing the modal share of cars for journeys both to and from the centre of Bristol. However, there is also evidence of some switching from other non-car modes, and the service has attracted some users who would otherwise have not made the journey, or who would have travelled elsewhere.


Background Information

The Brislington Park & Ride site was the first purpose-built Park & Ride site serving Bristol. It began operation on 25th October 1993, with an initial capacity of 740 parking spaces. Parking provision was increased to 1,300 spaces in March 1994.


Objectives

The objective of the Park & Ride service is to encourage car-based travellers entering the centre of Bristol to park on the outskirts and travel into the city by bus.


Implementation

The Brislington Park & Ride site is on the on A4 Bath Road on the outskirts of Bristol. This involves the provision of free parking on the outskirts of the city and the provision of regular bus services from the site into Bristol. The service operates Mondays to Saturdays between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm on weekdays, and 8:00 am to 6:00 pm on Saturdays. The service was extended on Thursdays during the pre-Christmas period to coincide with late night shopping, and a permanent Thursday service, until 8:15 pm, was introduced in January 1994.
The weekday service frequency is every 6-10 minutes between 7:00 am and 9:30 am, every 12 minutes between 9:30 am and 4:00 pm, every 10 minutes between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm, and every 12 minutes between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm. The late night Thursday service operates every 20 minutes after 7:00 pm. Saturday services run every 12 minutes all day. The service is operated by purpose-built, dedicated double decker buses, each with the capacity to carry 76 seated passengers. A new fleet of dedicated lowfloor 70 seat double-deck vehicles will be introduced in early 2000. The buses access the city centre via extensive bus priorities, stopping only at Temple Meads railway station, then run in an anticlockwise direction around the Inner Circuit Ring Road serving four central area bus stops, stopping again at Temple Meads station on the return journey. There is no charge for parking at the Park & Ride site, and the return adult bus fare costs 2.00 on weekdays and 1.00 on Saturdays. Multi-journey tickets covering ten single trips are available for 8.50 and twenty single trips for 16.50.


Evaluation

Results and Impacts
User surveys of the Park & Ride site were carried out by the former Avon County Council in 1994, and by Bristol City Council in 1996. The site was well patronised in 1994, particularly at the weekend when 1,129 passengers were recorded travelling inbound, and 1,098 outbound. Since then there has been a substantial increase in weekday patronage, from an average of 730 fare paying passengers on weekdays in March 1994, to some 1,000 on weekdays during March 1996.
User surveys in 1994 showed that a large proportion of users (between 56 and 72%) would previously have travelled to the centre by car or van. In March 1994, the weekday service at Brislington removed around 320 car journeys to Bristol city centre per day, while the Saturday service removed approximately 390 car journeys. In March 1996, the weekday service removed an average of 500 car journeys per day, and the Saturday service an average of 465.
However, some negative impacts on travel reduction are apparent. There is some evidence of a switch from other non-car modes of travel, with high proportions of Park & Ride users having switched from other buses or coaches, particularly during the week - 31.6% during the weekday afternoon peak. Some movement (15.6% during the weekday afternoon peak) was also seen from rail to Park & Ride.
There is also evidence that the service has attracted passengers who would not have otherwise made the journey, or would have travelled elsewhere. This effect was most apparent on the Saturday survey, with 4.5% of people surveyed claiming they would not have made the journey had the Park & Ride service not been provided. The 1996 figures show that this percentage has risen over the past two years to 8.3% of weekend passengers - although the percentage of weekend passengers who would have travelled elsewhere fell from 7.7% in 1994 to 3.6% in 1996.
Traffic counts before and after implementation suggest that the Park & Ride service, combined with the effects of bus priorities on the A4 corridor, has been successful in reducing the modal share of cars for journeys both to and from the centre of Bristol, particularly in the afternoon peak. For example, following implementation of the Park & Ride service, the modal share of inbound cars at a checkpoint between the Park & Ride site and the centre of Bristol fell from 88% to 75%.
The impacts of the Park & Ride implementation on overall traffic flows are difficult to isolate, due to major infrastructure changes which occurred around the time of the counts.

Present stage of development
The Brislington Park & Ride service has been operating successfully for a number of years in support of Bristol's strategy to encourage the use of alternatives to the private car. A second purpose built site on the A370 at Long-Ashton, to the south east of Bristol, opened in April 1997.


Conclusions

Barriers and conflicts
The user surveys provided evidence that the Park & Ride service has attracted a small percentage of passengers who would not have otherwise made the journey, or would have travelled elsewhere. This generates a potential conflict as, while the additional trips may be beneficial in maintaining the vitality and viability of the city centre, they are also contributing towards increased traffic and congestion. There is also evidence of a switch from other non-car modes of travel, with up to 32% of Park & Ride users having switched from other buses or coaches, particularly during the week.

Transferability
Park & Ride is relevant for many other European cities particularly where:

Park & Ride can be phased in over a number of years as user awareness and passenger numbers are built up, i.e. a step by step approach. A start can be made by providing a seasonal facility operating during peak periods of demand using existing car parks such as those at large offices or sports grounds.

Lessons Learned
Evaluation of the Brislington Park & Ride site shows that such a service can be highly successful in encouraging a large number of car-based travellers to park on the outskirts of a city and travel to the centre by bus. However, careful consideration must be given to the choice of site so that customers who would otherwise travel by bus or other non-car modes are not attracted to use the Park & Ride instead.


Additional Information

The Bristol Brislington Park & Ride site is also being featured as part of a case study in the DANTE project. DANTE is a collaborative European research and development project to assess strategies designed to reduce the need and level of demand for road travel in European cities and on inter-urban road transport corridors. The work is being undertaken as part of the European Commission's Transport Directorate research programme on Road Transport. As part of the project strategy, assessments of travel avoidance measures in a series of case studies across Europe are being conducted. These case studies, which include the city of Bristol and the Bristol-Bath interurban corridor, have been chosen for their record of implementing measures designed to reduce road travel.


Contact Person / Author Details

Steve Bird
Park and Ride Projects
Tel: +44 117 922 3769
Fax: +44 117 922 3539
E-mail: steve_bird@bristol-city.gov.uk