Flexible Parking Standards and Sustainable Mobility Choices – Swedish perspectives
Parking is considered a key policy for achieving sustainable mobility. Swedish public agencies have promoted lowering parking requirements to decrease automobile travel, oil consumption and carbon emissions. However, the implementation of restrictive parking policies lacks discussions about the role of the built environment and accessibility. If low parking standards are introduced in developments where it is impossible to walk, cycle or use public transportation, they do not work. This paper proposes a conceptual framework that links parking with the research on the effect of built environment on travel. It describes a model to calculate flexible parking standards based on built environment and accessibility factors commonly used in urban design and planning practices. Transportation systems need environmental preconditions. Parking requirements and expressways support driving around. Research shows that integrating walking, cycling and public transportation need complex sets of factors. The rationale is that parking standards can be lowered if the built environment supports walking, cycling and public transportation. The model aims to inform municipality officials, developers, architects, urban designers and planners about sustainable mobility choices and integration of the built environment with walking, cycling and public transportation and possibilities to reduce parking requirements to meet sustainable mobility goals.