Bristol Parkway was opened in 1971, the first station of its kind in the UK, specifically built as a park-and-ride station, situated outside of the city of Bristol. It was given its name because it was near to the M32 motorway's route into the city centre, which was known as the Bristol Parkway. Since then, the 'Parkway' addition to a station name has often been used for other park-and-ride stations across the country.
The train line through the area dates back to 1903, when it was opened as part of a shortcut for trains avoiding Bath and Chippenham when coming from London to South Wales. Now Bristol Parkway is the third busiest station in the West Country after Bristol Temple Meads and Bath, used for over 2.2 million passenger journeys every year. The station was redeveloped in 2001.