More and more cities are rethinking the ways cars fit into the urban fabric, with many eliminating parking spots, instituting congestion pricing, or even banning cars altogether. But in one U.K. town, an economic approach is helping to reshape the city itself.
In 2012, Nottingham, England became the first city in the country to charge a tax for the commuter parking spaces offered by companies to their employees. The decision was not without controversy. Critics of the plan argued that businesses and workers would be chased away.
But over four years, the parking tax has not only reduced traffic and car use, but the money’s been put to work improving public transit. Nottingham has built two new tram lines, improved the city’s railway station, and added support for bus services. Today, more than 40 percent of trips in the city are taken with public transport. And, the city has hit its carbon reduction goals earlier than anticipated.
Contrary to critics’ predictions, the rate of job growth in Nottingham actually increased after the tax went into effect and now surpasses that of nearby areas.
Following the success of the Nottingham parking tax program, other cities—including Cambridge—are reportedly looking at implementing similar models.