Parking spaces add 10% to per-mile carbon emissions

From Sean Slone’s blog on recent reports highlighting transportation and the environment: One thing holding back efforts to decrease the number of cars on the road is the availability of lots of free or cheap parking. Under-priced street parking helps contribute to urban congestion and gives travelers less incentive to seek out alternative forms of transportation. But parking infrastructure may also be exacting another toll on the environment. A team of researchers from the University of California at Berkeley write in a recent issue of Environmental Research Letters that: “The environmental effects of parking are not just from encouraging the use of the automobile over public transit or walking and biking (thus favoring the often more energy-intensive and polluting mode), but also from the material and process requirements in direct, indirect and supply chain activities related to building and maintaining the infrastructure.” The researchers estimate that the United States has roughly 800 million parking spaces and when parking spots are taken into account, an average car’s per-mile carbon emissions go up as much as 10 percent.