parked cars

Motorists spend nearly 4 days a year looking for a parking space

  • Four in 10 (39%) motorists say finding somewhere to park is a stressful experience
  • Six in 10 (59%) identify drivers that block more than one space as one of the most frustrating things about parking

The average motorist in the UK spends nearly four days every year (91 hours)* looking for parking spaces, according to new research from the British Parking Association (BPA).

As might be expected it takes nearly eight minutes to find somewhere to park in London compared to five minutes of searching in the East of England and East Midlands. Yet, just 17% of motorists across the UK have used a parking app to help them find a place to park.

The monotony and frustrations of driving around looking for a space may well be the reason why 39% of motorists say finding somewhere to park is a stressful experience, with only 20% saying it is stress free. People who park badly and block more than one space (59%) are high on the motorists’ list of frustrations, followed by a lack of parking (48%), car parks that are difficult to navigate (27%) and a lack of visible pay and display machines (17%).

When looking for somewhere to park, location (67%), ease of access (51%) and bright lighting (44%) were most important for motorists with clear facilities (10%) and a parking attendant (10%) the least important.


A spokesperson for the BPA said:

"This survey supports our own research which highlights ease of access and convenience as well as safety and lighting are key issues for motorists when looking to park. Accreditations such as Park Mark and the Disabled Parking Accreditation are nationally recognised schemes managed by the BPA, which ensure car parks are well managed, safer and accessible.

“The BPA is committed to assisting motorists in having the best possible parking experience by building public confidence in using newer technologies which can make finding and paying for parking so much easier and more convenient. The government could help by devolving powers to local authorities to enable them to reduce congestion and improve air quality still further.

“Effective parking and traffic management is also essential in supporting the sustainable growth of our town centres and high streets. Drivers, of course, also have a responsibility to ensure they are parking so as not to cause inconvenience to others!”


*Department of Transport National Travel Survey indicates 921 car journeys per person / a year. According to research conducted by BPA the average time motorists spend looking for a space = 5.9 mins. 921 x 5.9 / 60 mins = 90.5 hours.  

**The research was conducted by Opinium Research amongst 2,000 UK adults (aged 18+) between 8-11 November 2016. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.