Searching for a parking space costs the UK £23.3 billion per year
Photo Credit To Marcin Wichary

Searching for a parking space costs the UK £23.3 billion per year

Searching for a parking space costs the UK £23.3 billion per year

  • UK drivers spend an average of 44 hours a year searching for parking, at a cost of £733 each in wasted time, fuel and emissions, a total of £23.3 billion across the country
  • Overpaying for parking costs British motorists up to an estimated £6.7 billion a year or £209 per driver; UK drivers also pay £1.2 billion annually in parking fines
  • Businesses and high streets bear the brunt of parking pain as 40% of motorists avoid driving to shops due to problems finding parking

INRIX today published a major new study that combines data from the INRIX Parking database of 100,000 locations across 8,700 cities in more than 100 countries, with results from a recent survey of nearly 18,000 drivers in the US, UK and Germany, including 7,035 in 10 UK cities. With the goal of analysing and ranking the economic costs of “parking pain,” INRIX found that, on average, UK drivers spend 44 hours a year searching for the elusive space at a cost of £733 per driver in wasted time, fuel and emissions and the country as a whole £23.3 billion.

INRIX analysed parking pain in 10 of the UK’s largest cities, with London ranking as the worst city to find parking. On average, drivers in the capital spend 67 hours a year searching for a spot, costing them £1,104 each in wasted time, fuel and emissions and the city as a whole £4.3 billion. Belfast came second (56 hours – £134m), followed by Leeds (47 hours – £297m), Bristol (46 hours – £169m), Birmingham (46 hours – £373m), Cardiff (44 hours – £126m), Manchester (41 hours – £169m), Glasgow (40 hours – £226m), Edinburgh (38 hours – £167m) and Southampton (35 hours – £98m).

Table 1: INRIX Parking Ranking (UK) – Hours Spent Searching for Parking

Rank UK City Average

2-Hour Parking Cost (within one mile of city centre)

On-Street Search Time (minutes per trip)


Off-Street Search Time (minutes per trip) Annual Search Time (hours per driver per annum) Annual Search Cost Per Driver Annual Search Cost Per City
1 London £13 12 10 67 £1,104 £4.3bn
2 Belfast £3 10 8 56 £928  £134m
3 Leeds £5 8 7 47 £772  £297m
4 Bristol £4 9 8 46 £768  £169m
5 Birmingham £3 8 7 46 £757  £373m
6 Cardiff £6 9 7 44 £737  £126m
7 Manchester £4 8 7 41 £688  £169m
8 Glasgow £4 9 7 40 £660  £226m
9 Edinburgh £5 8 7 38 £625  £167m
10 Southampton £2 8 7 35 £588  £98m
UK £3 8 7 44 £733  £23.3bn

“If we add up all the costs in this research, so the time spent searching for a space, the amount drivers overpay for parking and the amount spent in fines, the “total” cost of parking pain in the UK is more than £30 billion a year,” said Dr Graham Cookson, Chief Economist, INRIX. “This cost is not only borne by drivers but also by local economies as people avoid shops due to parking issues. While 71% of drivers said there isn’t enough parking available, occupancy for spaces can be as low as 50%. We have an information problem more than a parking problem. A problem that technology can help fix.”

British Motorists Spend Billions Overpaying for Parking

The survey asked drivers how much extra time they typically add to a parking session to avoid a penalty charge. In the UK, drivers add, on average, an extra 45 hours a year when paying for parking. When combined with INRIX parking rate data, overpaying for parking is estimated to cost up to £6.7 billion annually or £209 per driver. Drivers in London add the most extra time, averaging 67 hours a year, which is estimated to cost the capital’s motorists up to an additional £1.5 billion or £380 each.

UK Drivers Pay £1.2bn Annually in Parking Fines

No analysis of parking pain would be complete without understanding what drivers pay in fines. The survey asked how many parking tickets motorists received annually. The average across the UK is 0.7, which amounts to £39 per driver per year in fines or £1.2 billion for all drivers. Londoners claim to receive the most tickets and therefore pay the most in fines (£284m), with drivers in Birmingham (£8m), Leeds (£6m) and Glasgow (£6m) also paying high amounts in penalty charges.

Table 2: INRIX Parking Ranking (UK) – Extra Time for Parking Sessions and Parking Fines

Rank UK City Extra Time for Parking Sessions (hours per annum) Total Per Driver, Per Annum (overpayment) Total Per City Per Annum


Parking Tickets (per driver, per annum) Parking Tickets Cost (per driver, per annum) Total Parking Ticket Cost (per city, per annum)
1 London 67 £380 £1.5bn 1.12 £72 £284m
2 Belfast 61 £80 £12m 0.32 £11 £2m
3 Birmingham 54 £113 £56m 0.48 £17 £8m
4 Leeds 51 £127 £49m 0.41 £14 £6m
5 Bristol 48 £92 £20m 0.46 £16 £4m
6 Manchester 47 £110 £27m 0.54 £19 £5m
7 Cardiff 44 £104 £18m 0.41 £14 £2m
8 Southampton 42 £54 £9m 0.35 £12 £2m
9 Edinburgh 37 £113 £30m 0.43 £15 £4m
10 Glasgow 35 £82 £28m 0.47 £16 £6m
UK 45 £209 £6.7bn 0.66 £39 £1.2bn

High Streets Bear the Brunt of Parking Pain as 40% of Drivers Avoid Shops

Of the 7,035 drivers who responded to the survey, an alarming 40% avoided driving to the shops due to being unable to find parking, which is a likely factor in the much-publicised decline of British high streets. Similarly, 25% of drivers avoided driving to the doctors or hospitals, 19% avoided driving to airports, 16% avoided driving to work and 13% avoided driving to leisure and sports activities due to parking issues. 61% of all those surveyed avoided driving to at least one of these over the past year.

Stressed Out Motorists Say Taking up Two Spaces is the Worst Parking Sin

Almost two thirds of British drivers (64%) said they felt stressed trying to find a parking spot, 16% got into an argument with another driver over parking, 38% missed an appointment and almost one in three (26%) abandoned a trip due to issues finding a space. 71% of motorists think there are not enough parking spaces available and 46% said taking up two spaces is the worst parking “sin.”

Dr Cookson concludes: “To lessen the significant burden parking pain has on our economy and lives, smart parking solutions are available for drivers, parking operators and cities to help reduce search times, congestion and pollution as well as negate overpaying and fines altogether. Still, more needs to be done to drive adoption. Parking pain will only get worse until technology is fully embraced.”

You can read the full report for comparisons between the three countries in the study as well as for information on the smart parking solutions available to drivers, parking operators and cities today.

Post source : INRIX

About The Author

Anthony has worked in the construction industry for many years and looks forward to bringing you news and stories on the highways industry from all over the world.

Related posts