Reducing car use through parking policies: an evidence review

The Scottish Government aims to reduce car kilometres by 20% by 2030 from a 2019 baseline. Parking policy has been acknowledged as having the potential to play an important role in supporting this reduction target.

This research has gathered evidence on the effectiveness of different parking management interventions in reducing car use. Its purpose is to inform the development of parking policies which support the joint commitment by Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) to reduce car use by 20% by 2030.


Five parking interventions were identified as having an impact on car kilometre reduction, modal shift (the percentage of travellers using cars), and/or car ownership:

  1. Parking standards, off-site or non-adjacent provision of residential parking, low-car and car-free housing
  2. Parking pricing, on-street and off-street
  3. Parking levies
  4. Park and ride
  5. Parking capacity reductions at city or neighbourhood level

The research found strong evidence that four out of the five intervention types have a positive impact on car kilometre reduction, modal shift or car ownership.

The exception to this is park and ride, which was found to generally increase vehicle kilometres travelled when located close to destinations. However, when located close to journey origins, it could reduce vehicle kilometres in the order of 1.5km per park and ride user.

The four most impactful interventions align with wider Scottish Government policy, including encouraging active travel, reducing car dominance, reducing congestion and air pollution, and supporting sustainable investments.

Further details on the findings can be found in the report attached.

If you require the report in an alternative format such as a Word document, please contact or 0131 651 4783.