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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I have a parking permit at the moment, how will this policy change affect me?

The Draft Car Parking Policy is looking to make sure car parking permits are allocated to staff with the greatest need. The applications would be scored using a points-based system where permits would be allocated fairly to those with the most points. All staff will be ranked in the order of points and those with the highest points will be allocated permits. Whether you get a permit to park on the University’s estate will depend on where you are this list. Using this method will ensure permits are allocated to those with the greatest need first.

If you don’t get a permit, it will be because your need for a parking permit is relatively lower than other staff at the University. In this case, you will be offered support to find alternative travel options through the Travel Advisor Service. The University has a package of schemes in place to help staff use the bus and cycle as part of their journey to work. Find out more here.

  1. How will the eligibility for inadequate public transport work?

The proposed approach is as follows:

  • Staff with a journey time to work by public transport of 45 minutes or more (from the start to end of their journey, including walking time) will be eligible for the inadequate public transport criterion.  
  • Staff will be asked to provide proof of this using the Google journey planner, setting the departure times to their normal travel times.
  •  Staff will then be asked to also show their drive time for the same journey and the number of points awarded will be based on their typical drive time.
  • Staff will be asked to provide proof of the drive time using the Google journey planner, setting the departure times to their normal travel times.
  • A minimum of 2 points will be awarded for this and the number of points will increase as drive time to work increases. This is because staff with a lower drive time should be able to use the Park and Ride as their journey to work.
  1. I have an all sites permit and use it every day to travel around sites what will I do?

Staff that have a need for an all sites permit to travel everyday will need to apply through the exceptional circumstances category and provide evidence as to why they need it every day.

  1. How will the changes to this policy help new staff?

It is hoped that the new system will improve the offer for new staff. Staff managing the recruitment of new staff will be able to refer new staff to the Car Parking Administration team before they start. They will be able to submit their car parking permit application before they start and will have it confirmed for their first day whether they have parking. This will be offered in the West Cambridge Park and Cycle. They will also be encouraged to use the Travel Advisor Service to provide advice on sustainable travel options from the Park and Cycle to their final workplace.

  1. Some staff do not feel safe travelling on public transport late at night, how will personal safety be considered in the proposals?

Staff will be able to apply for this under the exceptional circumstances category.

  1. How has the impact on staff been assessed?

As part of the consultation we will be asking staff which of the new criteria they would be eligible to apply under. We will use this information to estimate the level of demand for parking permits will be and will help us to determine if any of the current permit holders will no longer be eligible for permits.

  1. Why is this work being carried out now when the congestion charging scheme is also being looked at?

The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) proposals to create a sustainable travel zone in Cambridge are a separate initiative to this, which will not be implemented for 3-5 years. Regardless of whether this is brought in or not, the University must ensure its parking spaces are used in a fair and equitable way by giving permits to staff with the greatest need.

  1. Are the number of parking spaces and permits being reduced?

No, the number of parking spaces on the University’s estate is not being reduced as part of this Policy work. A separate project is being started to re-design the car parking spaces on the Downing site to comply with current sizing standards, which may lead to a reduction in car parking spaces. This work is needed to ensure the site operates in a safe manner and to minimise the risk of conflict with other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. 

  1. Is the University looking at charging staff for parking?

No, the University is not looking to charge staff for parking. All permits will be free of charge. Some staff at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus are required to pay to park in car parks operated by Cambridge University Hospitals. We are working with CUH to rectify this as soon as possible.

  1. Will I be able to apply for a permit only for the school holidays?

Under the proposed new system, staff only needing car parking in the school holidays could apply for occasional parking for non-permit holders. It is proposed 10% of spaces would be allocated for this, spaces would be booked out using the booking system which is being rolled out over the next year.

  1. If there are no physical permits, how will facilities team be able to check?

In barriered car parks, staff will not be able to enter without permits as these are the only staff that will have their cars activated. In car parks without a barrier, Facilities Management teams will have lists of vehicles with permits on devices and will check this when auditing the car park.

  1. If people have access to two cars will they still get a permit for each?

The new parking software will allow more than one vehicle to be registered to a permit, but only one vehicle will be permitted to be used at one time.

  1. What about people who car share with others including people employed by partnership organisations?

Restricting car sharing to staff employed by the University allows us to ensure that car sharing is taking place, by requiring evidence that will be provided on the Kinto Join Journey Sharing app.

  1. Will it still be an annual application?

Yes there will continue to be an annual application every summer for the start of the next academic year. In addition staff will be able to apply throughout the year using the parking software.

  1. Will staff without access to computers or those which are computer illiterate be able apply for parking?

This group of staff will be able to apply by calling the Car Parking Administration Team who will ask them the questions by phone and fill in the form for them. These staff will still be required to provide the evidence for verification.

  1. Which car parks are underused currently?

Local Facilities Teams monitor car park utilisation daily (subject to resource availability) to give an indicative occupancy level by month. Forvie, West Cambridge 8 & West Road show consistently low levels of occupancy. Data collection at the Strangeways, UIS Data Centre and Astronomy car parks will be started in the near future. If you have an enquiry about the capacity and/or average utilisation of University car parks, please contact

  1. How will parking for students change?

Eligibility for student parking will not change, but students with Blue Badges or mobility issues will be asked to apply through the new parking software.

  1. Will long term "visitors" e.g. like external academic visiting Cambridge on sabbatical for a term be given parking?

The visitor car parking policy is not being considered as part of this review, this review is only looking at changes to the staff parking policy. Inclusion of long-term visitors would significantly increase the number of requests for parking and therefore is not being considered at this time.

  1. Do I need to answer all the questions included in the survey?

The survey includes questions about your personal circumstances, including your entitlement to apply for a parking permit under different qualifying criteria, such as caring responsibilities or having a disability. These questions are all optional and have been included to help us to gather information to support the administration of the new policy. Responses to these questions will not have an impact on applications for, or entitlement to, car parking permits for 2023/24.

  1. How does the Draft Car Parking Policy fit in with the university's sustainability and sustainable travel aspirations?

It is recognised that currently a lot of staff rely on their car to get to work as they have limited public transport from their home.  Therefore, the focus of the policy change is currently to allocate permits to staff with the greatest need and ensure staff have more access to permits, rather than reducing journeys by car. The Greater Cambridge Partnership Sustainable Travel Zone proposes to improve public transport accessibility and therefore when this is in place, a higher number of our staff will have access to their workplace by sustainable transport modes. At this point, the Transport Working Group may decide to update the policy to commit to reducing journeys by car into Cambridge.