Cities and developers are preparing for a world with less parking

Chandler, AZ, may be the first city to recognize that apartment dwellers will need less parking in the future. In anticipation of autonomous vehicles, the city is changing its zoning code to loosen parking minimums in new buildings. Developers welcome such flexibility, as building parking can be expensive and AVs and other emerging technologies, such as ridesharing and bikesharing, are reducing the need for tenants to own personal cars.

Studies suggest autonomous vehicles will have reduced parking requirements

A pair of recent studies suggests that autonomous vehicles will revolutionize how vehicles park when not in use. As a result, parking structures will be able to hold far more vehicles than today, and some existing parking facilities may be repurposed to other uses and to take advantage of valuable urban land. Although not mentioned in the studies, AVs also will be less likely to be privately owned and will spend far less time parked than today’s vehicles do.

Parking and the City: A new book for practitioners

A new book from distinguished UCLA professor, Donald Shoup — a follow-up to Shoup’s acclaimed 2005 publication, The High Cost of Free Parking — outlines a three-step approach for reforming outdated parking policies: 1) eliminating off-street parking requirements; 2) charging the right price for on-street parking; and 3) putting revenues toward parking benefit districts. The book includes chapters from 46 contributing authors based on their own research and practical experiences.

Seattle's parking reforms

The Seattle City Council passed a number of parking reforms earlier this month to further support the city’s ongoing efforts to become less car-oriented, advance local climate change goals, and reduce housing costs in the city. Seattle is one of many cities to recognize that its parking regulations are outdated, but one of relatively few to take major steps toward reform.

Curbs: A new data frontier

State and local transportation agencies have long focused on what’s happening between the curbs—collecting data about the speed, volume, and types of vehicles moving along each road—but growing competition for curb space from parked cars, bikes, taxis, TNCs, and deliveries presents new challenges both in terms of data and policy. Fortunately, data experts are stepping up to the task.

Downtown parking: A declining business

What effect do Uber and Lyft have on parking demand in urban areas? Ace Parking has experienced a sizeable drop in demand for parking in the company’s San Diego location. Parking at hotels in San Diego has dropped by five to ten percent; restaurant valet demand has dropped 25 percent, and demand for valet parking at nightclubs has dropped a staggering 50 percent. While the timeline for these declines is unclear, an Ace Parking executive stated that similar or more severe trends have also been seen in the company’s parking operations, which number close to 750 locations around the United States.

Cities and airports look to develop best practices for rideshare pick-ups and drop-offs

As the demand for ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft is exploding in many U.S. cities, pick-ups and drop-offs in high-traffic locations with limited curb space can create safety and congestion concerns for passengers, drivers and other street users such as bicyclists. Cities are beginning to experiment with solutions by creating dedicated zones for pick up and drop off of passengers.

The psychology of daily versus monthly parking fees

Several major employers in Seattle are trying innovative ways to charge for commuter parking. These employers found that how parking for commuters is priced—on a daily vs. a monthly basis—makes a big difference in their employees’ commuting habits. By allowing their employees the flexibility to choose their commute mode on a day-to-day basis, these companies show sustained decreases in the number of employees commuting alone to work in their cars.