Traditionally, the central parts of cities have been ideally located as the centres of economic and social life for urban society. As cities grew larger, the levels of activity in their central business districts increased accordingly. More and more people travelled daily to the central area. As standards of living rose, private motor vehicles became popular as the mode by which many people travelled to the central city. This led to the phenomenon of traffic congestion which was particularly noticeable during those hours when most people were travelling to and from work. At the same time, the number of people wishing to park in the central city increased rapidly. The normal place of parking was at the kerb but the supply of this space was fixed (and even declining). This necessitated off-street parking development.
This then, is the background against which parking policy has been framed. In Australia, two distinct approaches to parking policy are apparent. The first approach determines the extent to which demand for parking space is greater than supply and regards this as the criterion for action. That is, if demands are greater than supply, then supply should be increased. The second approach, which was evident only in Perch, undertook as more comprehensive study of urban land-use and decided upon a pattern of land-use for the future. A transportation plan was developed that best suited the needs of the city that was envisaged for the future. Parking policy was framed in the context of this transportation plan. It will be shown in this thesis that the second approach is more acceptable than the first.
However, the major finding of this thesis is that, in all Australian studies, there has been a neglect of the alternative methods of allocating parking space among competing users, and the implications of methods adopted. It will be shown that existing methods of allocating parking space are arbitrary. A traditional basis for parking policy will be discussed which would definitely produce benefits for the communities involved. It is the contention of this thesis that if parking space were re-allocated on a rational basis, then if parking space were re-allocated on a rational basis, then significant benefits would be realized almost immediately.