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Information instead of parking minimums in London

When you use this in your parking change-making efforts, please give credit to Parking Reform Atlas and/or its sources.


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Brief summary of this reform

To decide how much on-site parking to include in a project, developers in London are guided by TfL's Public Transport Accessibility Levels (PTALs) and by parking maximums which are themselves set using PTALs as a guide.

London is mostly free of minimum parking requirements, so parking minimums play almost no role in determining off-street parking investment in Greater London.

Why should you care?

This example of using information rather than regulation is relevant to the 'Shoupista' view that there is no need to regulate the supply of parking with parking minimums and that developers just need the right information and the right set of incentives to make judgements about parking in their projects that will be roughly in line with the wider public interest.

This example is best understood together with the page about London's parking maximums


United Kingdom

Vehicle type



Key actor type

Metropolitan government


Greater London

Primary motivation


Agencies involved

Transport for London (TfL) under the Greater London Authority

Is it a model or a warning?

useful model

Reform type

Main parking category

Main parking paradigm shift


Off-street various

Away from excessive supply AND towards more responsiveness to context/market

Adaptive Parking thrust

Implementation status

Year adopted

R: Relax about parking supply and stop boosting it


Goals of the reform

PTALs play various roles in transport planning and urban planning in London but the key goals relevant to parking are: 1) to enable real estate developers to better judge the likely demand for parking associated with a building; and 2) to guide the Great London Authority and the Boroughs when they are determining appropriate parking maximums (or minimums potentially in the case of Outer London residential in areas with very low PTAL scores).

Impetus (what problem, campaign, opportunity or event prompted action?)

I am not sure about the impetus that led to the development of the PTAL scores or their use in parking policy. Tips are welcome.

Detailed description of the reform

To decide how much on-site parking to include in a real-estate development, developers in London are guided primarily by TfL's Public Transport Accessibility Levels (PTALs) rather than by minimum parking requirements.

In most cases, parking provision is also constrained by parking maximums and these are also guided by PTALs. For each land-use type, different maximums apply to different areas, guided by PTAL scores and by the spatial designations and use classes in the London Plan.

Transport for London's Public Transport Accessibility Levels (PTALs) "are a detailed and accurate measure of the accessibility of a point to the public transport network, taking into account walk access time and service availability. The method is essentially a way of measuring the density of the public transport network at any location within Greater London. Each area is graded between 0 and 6b, where a score of 0 is very poor access to public transport, and 6b is excellent access to public transport."

All London Boroughs abolished their minimum parking requirements and adopted maximums in 2004 or in the years soon after. See Parking minimums are now again allowed in certain circumstances (outer boroughs may apply minimums only for residential in areas with very low PTAL scores).

London is reportedly working on improved measures of accessibility to improve or replace PTALs in the future.

Results or impacts

I would like to say more here. Tips are welcome about any evaluations that address the question of how well the use of PTALs works in guiding developers to get parking provision about "right".

Sources and acknowledgements

Transport for London (TfL), Public Transport Accessibility Levels,

London Plan 2021.

Zhan Guo, "From Parking Minimums to Parking Maximums in London", Access magazine, Fall 2016.

Image credit (Greater London Public Transport Access Level Map): Aliasgar Inayathusein and Simon Cooper (2018) Transport for London London’s Accessibility Indicators: Strengths, Weaknesses, Challenges, Discussion Paper, The International Transport Forum/OECD.

Painted Greek Island

Last updated: 

6 Apr 2021

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