Due primarily to the expense associated with constructing new park and ride facilities, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is interested in the concept of leasing underused parking from private lot owners to supplement construction of new or expansion of existing park and ride facilities. Limited guidance exists to address capacity-constrained park and ride lots, a significant issue that affects many major metropolitan regions with well-developed transit and park and ride systems. In addition, there have been limited studies to explore the role of shared-use park and ride lots for users and stakeholders. The purpose of this study was to examine the benefits, opportunities, issues, and concerns regarding shared-use park and ride lots in Virginia.
Based on the study findings, the researchers concluded the following: although the core objective of park and ride lots remains consistent (e.g., reducing the number of vehicles traveling on roadways), the manner in which park and ride lots are implemented can vary; most departments of transportation own park and ride lots whereas few participate in leasing arrangements with private lot owners; lease fees are variable and depend primarily on maintenance negotiations; there are documented lessor concerns with leasing arrangements but leasing of lots provides many benefits and the majority of agencies in Virginia and other states that lease parking spaces from private lot owners have had positive experiences; although VDOT’s Transportation Mobility and Planning Division (TMPD) maintains a detailed and comprehensive park and ride database, there are discrepancies specific to private lots with informal agreements; and VDOT districts need more park and ride lots and there is great interest in using shared-use parking arrangements.
The study recommends the following: (1) the TMPD should update its inventory of park and ride lots and remove private lots that are identified as having informal agreements from its public facing interactive map; (2) the TMPD should work with the VDOT districts to update its park and ride investment strategy methodology to include consideration of shared-use lots in each district; (3)with the assistance of the Virginia Transportation Research Council, the TMPD should coordinate with the districts to initiate one or two pilot studies of leasing private lots following elements provided in the guidance developed as part of this study; and (4) upon completion of the pilot studies and documentation of lessons learned, the TMPD should coordinate with the districts to develop a park and ride leasing program.
This study and the resulting guidance provide VDOT with a framework for establishing shared-use park and ride lots. Following the framework provided for initiating park and ride lease agreements will provide VDOT with more cost-effective means to increase its inventory of park and ride lots. The traveling public would benefit from increased multimodal opportunities and transit agencies would benefit from increased ridership opportunities. In addition, private lot owners could benefit from increased patronage.