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The importance of signs in car park management

  • Jan 17, 2020

Signs are one of the key areas of effective car park management. The right signs mean better usage, increased revenue, and fewer problems.

But getting signage right in private UK car parking management isn’t as straight forward as it might seem. There are many different things to consider, especially in regards to correct usage and legal regulations.

In the UK, all parking signs on private land should follow the code of practice laid out by an Accredited Trade Association (ATA) like the British Parking Association (BPA).

And because signs play a very important role in the smooth management of car parks, it’s important they:

1. Are concise and clear

Firstly, all signage should be as concise and clear as possible. It needs to get over some essential key facts as quickly and effectively as possible – in a very small amount of space.

All opening times and applicable charges should be included on parking signs. You will also need to convey all the restrictions that apply to that car park at any given time.

If you have different restrictions at different times, these all need to be included too. But they must be written in a way that is not confusing to a user of your car park.

2. Include directions, as well as restrictions

Along with the necessary restrictions, good signage will also include strong directional information. This might be clear directions to the nearest pay & display machine or parking meter, or instructions on how to pay by phone.

It might include directions to specific areas of the car park for specific users, or it may include information on other more suitable car parks in the vicinity, to improve overall usage.

You may want to include branding on your signs too, to showcase your company logo and the space you own.

3. Clearly identify restricted areas and dedicated spaces

 It’s also important that signs clearly indicate any restricted areas and dedicated parking spaces, in order to make the management of your car park as efficiently as possible.

This might mean separate signs to mark:

  • Disabled bays
  • Parent & Child parking
  • Motorcycle parking
  • Restricted zones/no parking
  • Access areas that must be kept clear at all times.

4. Are weatherproof

 Often overlooked, given the Great British weather it’s vital that all UK car parking signs are completely weatherproof.

They should be able to withstand years of heavy rain, wind, snow and sunshine, because any damage to signage could make parking charges null and void.

If you have warden parking enforcement on site, then your signs should be regularly checked by them.

5. Are positioned correctly

It’s also important that signs are positioned correctly, at the entrance to any car park and throughout.

Signs can be easily missed or covered up if they’re not located in the right place.

You should also check the positioning of any signs during nearby construction work. At one of our NHS facilities for example, work fences went up overnight in front of an A&E department, covering all the restricted parking signs that were in place.

Thankfully, because the hospital had our parking control management on-site, we were able to respond quickly and erect new signs, to prevent the area becoming an ad-hoc, free for all car park!

6. Stand out

It should be a given that since parking signs are so important, they should also stand out. But in many cases, they don’t.

In some instances, you might need to draw extra attention to special parking signs. For example at one NHS hospital, we created dedicated disabled parking spaces for users who have electric wheelchairs and need extra space for ramps.

To make these stand out from the usual blue badge parking bays and prevent incorrect and unauthorised use, we created bold black and yellow signs.

7. Are BPA compliant

All signage on privately managed car parks (and those on public car parks) must be compliant with all the relevant regulations and codes of practice. As we’re a member of the British Parking Association, all the car parks we manage must adhere to their code of practice, if we want to issue PCN’s.

If your sign isn’t BPA compliant (or compliant with another Associated Trade Association), PCN’s can be easily challenged in court. It’s a sure-fire way to lose a lot of revenue.

That’s why, when it comes getting signs correct, you need the expertise of a car park management agency like Creative Parking Solutions.

Get in touch with us today, to see how we can transform the usage, efficiencies and revenue of your car park.