Q: Any good idea to stop the private cars before entering the city center?
A: It is worth introducing fringe parking controlling the cars coming into the city center.
As the city develops, the congestion is caused by traffic increase. Here is a case of an attempt to control the number of cars coming into the city center in Fukuoka City and create the area's vibrancy at the same time. The city government and stakeholders introduced a fringe parking system.
The number of cars coming into the city center is a headache for most major cities. Fukuoka City is no exception. Traffic congestion has become a significant problem due to the city’s rapid growth since the 1990s. Fukuoka City Government tested and introduced the park and ride system with its subway system and other transport operators to control the cars coming into the city center. Together with the stakeholders of the area and academics, the city government discussed a solution. They came one step ahead, Fringe Parking.
Fringe parking is a system for visitors who come to the city center by car to park their cars at the fringe of the city center and walk or use other public transport to the center. In this way, the visitors walk around the center, contributing to creating vibrancy in the city center. A fringe parking system is designed more for the visitors, unlike park-and-ride for commuters, so the parking spots near an expressway entrance are also available.
In order to reduce the number of cars coming in Tenjin Area, Fukuoka’s city center, the fringe parking system has been tested as social experiments by the city government since 2004.
The system is as follows; a visitor parks his/her car at the designated parking spot and receives a parking pass, and goes to the designated counter in the central area by bus, a shared bicycles or on foot, then gets the parking pass to be validated for the parking discount and receives a single bus ticket to go back to the parking.
The drivers can park the cars for up to twelve hours, just paying the amount they would pay for one-hour parking in the city center, and spending more time shopping and dining in the central area.
Fringe parking is a part of the integrated transport system of Fukuoka City, together with BRT and bus services. Since 2019, it has been included in the Mobility-as-a-Service system developed by Toyota Motors and introduced by a major local transport operator, Nishitetsu, in Fukuoka Region. The statistics show that the number of cars used fringe parking system increased four times from 250 in April to 1,000 in December 2019.
After the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be more variety of visitors prefer the transport, such as using their own cars to public transportation. People become more hygiene-conscious, and the number of cars coming into the city center may increase, but it has to be controlled. This system can contribute even in such a case.
[Case ID: Urban Transportation UT-08]