RingGo Blog: Demystifying the open market in parking

CCN Blogs | 16 December 2022

This year RingGo was privileged to be a sponsor at CCN’s annual conference. It was a fascinating chance to have some in-depth conversations about the big changes in parking that will kick off in 2023 with the roll out of the National Parking Platform (NPP) and the Open Market in parking it facilitates.

Many of the constructive conversations I had echoed other conversations I’ve had with people in local government over recent months – an overwhelming support for introducing choice for consumers, but there is something of a knowledge gap which we feel could usefully be addressed.

My hope is that the DfT and DHCLG will spearhead a communications initiative to help demystify the new parking model. But with the clock ticking down to the NPP’s roll out, I thought it might be helpful to address a few of the questions that cropped up most frequently with delegates:

What is the National Parking Platform? 

It is the piece of technology (a ‘parking hub’) that allows more than one phone parking provider to offer parking services to consumers in a local authority. By allowing multiple providers to ‘plug in’ simultaneously, it will allow competition (what is known as the Open Market in parking). It’s funded by the DfT and is currently being trialled by Manchester City Council.

Does it replace the current tender model? 

Yes! We know that the procurement model is sub-optimal to say the least. That’s one of the reasons that the DfT has invested time and money into the NPP. Those councils who adopt it will be able to do so without going through a procurement process. The phone parking provider will have to meet a set of minimum standards to ensure local councils and motorists are provided with a good service.

What are the benefits of the Open Market? 

There are many! For local authorities we expect there to be cost savings from the elimination of often lengthy and costly procurement processes. Equally, from the transfer of ongoing transactional costs away from the council (instead levied on consumers downstream), and based on the experience of Europe – where the model has been in operation for 10 years in some countries – costly pay and display machine infrastructure can be rationalised as more motorists pay digitally. The greater certainty of operational tenure combined with the potential for phone parking providers to have a national footprint (ergo bigger customer base) will unleash new innovations. This will include tie-ins with EV chargepoint operators to allow a seamless parking and charging experience via a single transaction.

Why have competition in parking? 

The current system feels increasingly out of kilter with the modern age of competition between service providers. For example, imagine a town or city that was exclusively aligned to a single delivery company, e.g. Just Eat. That’s essentially what happens currently in parking: many people, particularly those who travel by car frequently or who live on the borders of local authority boundaries, have to download multiple apps.

I hope this is a useful starting point for anyone unfamiliar with the model. You can find out more HERE. You can message me on LinkedIn HERE. It’s worth emphasising this is not about pitching RingGo: it’s about ensuring local authorities understand the new model and consider the merits of switching to it. 


But we’re taking nothing for granted. I know many people are not yet familiar with the NPP and I intend to ensure that I do what I can to shed more light on what is an exciting once-in-a-generation change to our industry. So please do get in touch and I hope to see more of you at next year’s conference.

Andy Stott,

Commercial Director at RingGo