The impact of road and parking pricing on traffic congestion in the major shopping areas of regional cities

PhD Thesis

Alhellow, Mieaad Taha Yasieen. 2021. The impact of road and parking pricing on traffic congestion in the major shopping areas of regional cities. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.

The impact of road and parking pricing on traffic congestion in the major shopping areas of regional cities

TypePhD Thesis
AuthorAlhellow, Mieaad Taha Yasieen
SupervisorAyers, Ron
Bullen, Frank
Somasundaraswaran, Soma
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages243
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Over several decades, road authorities around the world have implemented road pricing to help reduce traffic congestion. Most implementations of pricing have been for Central Business Districts (CBD) of very large cities, which usually incorporate a range of retail and commercial activities. The studies have typically reported road pricing to be a successful means to reduce traffic congestion. Regional cities also experience traffic congestion in their CBD but the nature of the activities is different from large cities, in that shopping is a major activity. Raising the cost of road use and parking in a regional city CBD area would be expected to affect the number of trips made (trip generation), trip chaining patterns and mode of travel choice. The research problems were the congestion resulting from shopping trips to the CBDs of regional cities, and the lack of research on regional cities, shopping behavioural knowledge in the case of road pricing and increasing parking pricing, and the price elasticity of shopping demand in regional contexts. The research objectives were to understand the reasons for traffic congestion in the CBDs of regional cities, to identify the key variables governing shopping activity in regional cities, and to investigate the effect of road pricing and increasing parking pricing on shopping trip congestion in regional cities’ CBDs. This thesis presents an investigation into the impacts of the introduction of road charges and increasing parking fees on shopping trips in the Central Business Districts of Australian regional cities.

The research methodology started with choosing a typical regional city. The regional city of Toowoomba, Queensland. Australia was selected as a representative case study and demographic data obtained. A survey was designed to examine the predominant variables in shopping activity and to source views on any impact on consumer behaviour by the introduction of road pricing and increasing parking pricing. The survey instruments were LimeSurvey tool and hardcopy questionnaires. The completed obtained responses were 304 responses. Survey data was also used to construct a Toowoomba shopping trips numerical predictive model. The four-step traditional method was used to construct the model. The model was validated by comparing the observed shopping trips to the shopping centres with the predicted shopping trips resulting from the model. The model was designed and constructed to predict the impact of changes in road pricing and increased parking pricing on shopping trips. Lastly, the model was applied for transferring the study results to other Australian regional cities. Transferring the results of the model depended on the similarity of the characteristics between the other regional cities and the case study city.

The main shopping habits in the selected regional city were that shopping locally was preferred, that shopping within the CBD was more often undertaken by females than males for all four directions of travel, and that travelling from home to shopping centres in the CBD was by car. So, the study helped in understanding shopping habits, the governing variables, and the distribution of shopping trips. These were the first and second objectives of the research, and answered the first and second research questions of the study. In regard to the third objective of the research and answering the third and fourth research questions, the study demonstrated that introducing road pricing and increasing parking pricing were techniques that could be applied to assist in managing traffic congestion demand in the CBDs of regional cities. The results for increased pricing indicated a reduction in shopping trips to the CBD as a result of reducing frequency of shopping in the CBD, changing of shopping destinations, and moving towards increased use of public transport to the CBD. The effect of introduction road pricing on shopping trips was that 57% of the CBD shoppers would shop less at the CBD. Similarly, 55% of respondent's indicated increasing parking pricing by $4 per hour would significantly affect their shopping in the CBD. It was also noted that about 25% of the research sample would chose to change to the use of public transport to the CBD if road pricing or increased parking pricing ($4) were introduced. The results of the research study would be applicable in other Australian regional cities with similar demographics.

Keywordsroad pricing, parking pricing, regional cities, traffic congestion, traffic congestion in CBDs of regional cities, shopping trips in regional cities
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020400512. Transport engineering
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Civil Engineering and Surveying
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