Parking after corona - an analysis of the differences between 2019 and 2023.

Parking after corona: back to old trends?

Has parking behavior changed after corona? Now that the corona pandemic is behind us, we can say that it has left its mark on society. Working from home is here to stay, and online shopping and grocery shopping have become part of our daily routine. We are now also seeing reports that seem to indicate that car use has returned to its pre-covid levels, or even higher. These reports also show that for the first months of 2023 traffic congestion has increased compared to the same period in 2019 (NRC, 2023). Increased car ownership combined with reduced public transport use (NOS, 2023) seem to be the main drivers behind this trend.

Logically, car usage and parking behaviour are strongly related. But what about the use of parking facilities in urban areas? Do we see the same post-covid recovery trend emerging here? By combining the data from different parking systems, it is possible to create a picture of current trends. Analysing parking data from a selection of large and medium-sized Dutch municipalities shows a somewhat mixed picture when it comes to short-term parking (Monit, 2023).

For example, there are municipalities where the number of parking hours sold (for both on- and off-street parking) is back at, or even above the 2019 level. However, this is not yet the case in most municipalities. On average, in the first half of 2023, there is about 6% average lower number of short-term parking hours sold compared to the same period in 2019. With some extremes showing differences of up to minus 20%. This trend in mainly noticeable in the municipalities outside of the ’Randstad’, the main urban and economic area of the Netherlands.

Looking at trends over a longer term, a slight increase in the number of parking hours sold is visible.

Off-street business parking

We also see that the number of parking hours in off-street parking facilities with mainly business subscription ticket holders, is in some cases still 50% lower than in 2019. However in several of the off-street parking facilities there has been a full recovery, with the number of parking hours has already returned to the old level or even higher. In other facilities which have not yet returned to pre-covid levels, we can also see an upward trend in the number of transactions and the hours parked. This trend appears very dependent on the type of companies located in the area.

While it was thought that parking behavior would have changed permanently during the corona pandemic, this is not the case everywhere. What is clear is that, especially with regard to commuting, business subscriptions in off-street parking facilities have in many cases not fully returned to pre-covid levels. It therefore appears that hybrid working as a new standard does have an effect on the occupancy rate of off-street parking facilities.

Parking after Corona: 2019 compared to 2023