The Science of Parking Rates

Parking represents a frustration as well as contentious issue in most cities. Residents lament the lack of street parking or the costs in commercial areas; business owners often feel limited by an absence of inexpensive, available parking for staff and customers. Meanwhile environmental activists and citizens concerned about pollution see parking restrictions and costs as a key ingredient toward reducing automobile use and curbing emissions.

There was a great article by Donald Shoup in the New York Times last week about parking rates. He notes that the price of metered street parking is closely correlated to both congestion and emissions in downtowns and other commercial areas. If parking meter rates are cheap — less than using a parking garage, for example — drivers continually circle the blocks and streets waiting for an opening. Because meter rates are cheap, there are never vacant spots forcing drivers to circle until they see someone approach their car.

Shoup suggests that a price high enough to achieve 85% capacity is most efficient. Drivers needing short term street parking will be able to find it; cities will raise more revenue for other services such as parks or rec centers; and streets will be less congested without drivers looking for parking.

The problem is convincing voters that more expensive parking is a good thing. Whenever the local city parking administrators raise meter rates, the outcry is deafening.

But perhaps if more voters were educated on the benefits of higher parking costs, it would be more politically palatable. Shoup convinced me that street parking rates should be high enough to ensure that there are typically spaces available.

While one could argue that knowing parking spots are available will encourage people to drive, I’m convinced that if parking is that expensive, drivers will either pull into the nearest parking garage will space available — thereby reducing congestion and emissions — or will find other options like transit to access commercial areas. Following this model, parking meters in some cities may cost $10/hr (and will obviously need to accept payment forms beyond coins!).

Comments are closed.

jordan 12 cherry jordan 12 cherry jordan 12 cherry jordan 12 flu game jordan 12 flu game jordan 12 flu game jordan 12 french jordan 12 french jordan 12 french jordan 12 gym jordan 12 gym jordan 12 gym jordan 12 ovo jordan 12 ovo jordan 12 ovo jordan 12 unc jordan 12 unc jordan 12 unc jordan 12 wings jordan 12 wings jordan 12 wings