Chart of the Day: Parking Pricing and Behavior Change

Here’s a chart passed along to me by a reader, from one of the many long but interesting (FTA) Transit Cooperative Research Program reports.


parking and social change chart

This comes from a chapter on parking pricing, filled with case studies about how the hidden costs of parking rarely get passed on to the end user.  Changing that relationship is difficult!

Here’s the description of transit alternatives:

The degree to which parking pricing will be effective in trip reduction also depends upon the traveler’s perception of the comparability and quality of available travel alternatives. If transit service is to be an effective substitute for driving, it must be direct enough and frequent enough to offer convenient access and competitive travel time, as well as being attractively priced. The same holds true for carpooling and vanpooling, where incentives in parking priority or preferential lanes or access can help offset inherent limitations in flexibility and travel time compared to driving alone. Employer subsidization of transit fares, carpool and vanpool parking, or other financial incentives can help balance the scales in making non-drive-alone modes competitive.

I’ve long thought that parking is the one tool that cities unequivocally control, and that cities should use parking policy as more a lever to create change. This chart seems to confirm that it can have a big impact.

On the other hand, discussions about this can really bring out the mouth breathers. If people have spent their whole lives getting something for free, it’s really hard to ask them to pay for it.

3 thoughts on “Chart of the Day: Parking Pricing and Behavior Change

  1. David MarkleDavid Markle

    I’m a supporter of improving and creating public transit that’s a genuinely attractive alternative to driving and parking. I’m not in favor of restricting parking in order to make inadequate public transit seem relatively attractive.

    1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

      What Evan said, but also, it’s hard not to read this as insisting that the ideal be reached before we take any steps to encourage it. That is not how the world works.

  2. Evan RobertsEvan

    Charging for something (parking, using a busy road) that costs real resources is not restricting (parking, driving) anything. It’s letting people make an informed, free choice.

    Most transit riders pay something at the point of consumption towards the cost of the service they’re using (not all, but that’s not the point here and now). The costs of driving and parking are nearly entirely hidden to drivers making them appear much cheaper than they really are.

    If people had to pay $2 to use I-94 between DT Minneapolis and St Paul that express bus might seem like a better idea, or the slower, but smoother, Green Line.

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