Do we have enough Disability Parking in Australia?


Parking Today has recently featured us at That’s My Spot as we discuss a highly topical question:

Do we have enough Disability Parking in Australia?

With 4.3 million out of 25.9 million (or 16.5%) Australians identifying as having a disability, there is a massively disproportionate number of parking bays allocated to those with disability parking permits.

New South Wales, requires only 2% of shopping centre parking to be accessible to people who have a disability, and that percentage drops even lower to a mere 1% in residential locations. This doesn’t come anywhere near close to the 16.5% of Aussies reporting a disability who need accessible parking.

So is Australia running out of accessible parking bays? 

And if so, what’s the solution to this problem?

It might sound easy to say – simply roll out more accessible parking bays. But in reality, this isn’t either viable, cost-effective or easily or quickly implemented.

Just build out more accessible parking bays?

Disability parking on-street

There are a variety of factors that can impact this. For example, council and city planning approvals will impact the timing of new building design. And if you’re thinking that you can just retrofit regular parking bays in existing retail, commercial, residential strata, and other private locations. That’s a great idea, but of course, that requires capital expense, and it’s unlikely that buildings have the free budget available to do this right at the time you want it. And because accessible parking spaces need larger footprints and ease of access, you can’t just simply build them in exactly the same spots as regular parking bays. It’s not an answer to just being able to paint them with the blue universal wheelchair accessible sign! On top of that,  replacing regular parking bays with accessible ones in high-traffic areas may create negative driver sentiment.


Better allocation of accessible parking spots?

Instead, a different clever means of addressing this problem lies in a better allocation of existing accessible parking spots. By analysing accessible parking bay usage, and conducting deeper research into the average length of stay for mobility scheme participants, we can shift the usage model. By using this data we can help ensure that we use existing accessible bays more efficiently.

Yet another solution is by managing parking enforcement. Not just council officers issuing fines after someone has parked there. But instead, as a preventative measure, by installing parking bollards and only giving access to authorized disabled parking permit holders. At thatsMYspot we’ve seen an increase in demand for our parking bollards from drivers with disabilities and buildings which need to improve their on-site accessible parking.

Parking bollards for enforcement of disability parking bays

Smartphone parking bollard TMS-APL3 and TMS-APL4 installed in disability parking bays

By using our parking bollards,  residential strata buildings, apartment complexes, commercial offices, warehouses, shopping centres, hospitals, and airports can physically secure disabled parking bays. It gives drivers with disabilities peace of mind and certainty that there will be an accessible parking bay at their destination when they need it. The ability to book and guarantee a disabled parking bay ahead of time is so important for their needs. Parking bollards also help address the widespread problem of drivers parking illegally right up next to disability bays, annoyingly restricting ramp access for wheelchairs or other mobility aids. In our blog on “Challenging Behaviour that Infuriates people accessing disability parking bays”, we discuss more about these thoughtless behaviours that really impact the liveability of our disabled residents.

Social Barriers and UN SDG 11 commitment

There is another barrier when it comes to accessible parking – the social barrier.So many people incorrectly assume that disabled drivers need to have their disabilities physically visible to be entitled to a disabled parking permit. This is so misinformed.For more on that, look at our blog on “The Disability Parking Debate”.

At thatsMYspot we are a proud supporter of the UN SDG Goals, and for accessible parking, we support UN SDG Goal No 11 – “Sustainable Cities and Communities” – to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, ensuring equal access of our cities to all.