Thursday, 12 July 2012

Bradford's parking fines and the economic downturn...


In the latest (Q1 2012/13) Bradford Council financial monitor there's a bit on why the Directorate of Environment & Sport is predicting an overspend. Amongst other things it says:

Revenue generated from Car Parking Services is currently declining; this is primarily as a consequence of the economic downturn and a reduction in income from parking fines. Our analysis raises questions about the trade-off between less income than planned and the positive outcome of more law-abiding parking.

Implicit in this statement is that the 'economic downturn' is responsible for a predicted reduction in income from fines. No-one was able to provide any substantiation for this a today's meeting. Probably because the real evidence suggests the opposite:

Traffic tickets go up significantly when local government revenue falls, they found. Their study showed for the first time evidence of how "local governments behave, in part, as though traffic tickets are a revenue tool to help offset periods of fiscal distress." ...

Controlling for other factors, a 1 percentage point drop in local government revenue leads to a roughly .32 percentage point increase in the number of traffic tickets in the following year, a statistically significant connection.

My feeling is that this reflects more enforcement rather than more bad driving - perhaps (although I'm pretty sure most Bradfordians would giggle at this suggestion) the City's drivers are behaving better?


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