At the meeting of the TRB TDM Committee in 2004 it was agreed that there was sufficient interest and need to set up a Parking Management Sub-Committee. The PM Sub-committee is required because there is currently no TRB committee dealing with the issue, and yet there is a pressing need for research in many areas related to parking, as shown in the research problem statement in the second half of this document.
While the TDM and certain other TRB Committees may on occasion deal briefly with such issues, there is no Committee within TRB that act as a coordinator for all those with an interest in parking, nor that deals with parking as its central theme. There are other organizations that deal with aspects of parking, and it is important that duplication is minimized, and collaboration facilitated where appropriate. Such collaboration would only be of benefit to TRB. The Transport Economics and Pricing Committees have also noted their interest in parking management and expressed a desire to be co-sponsors of any sub-committee.
“To promote, facilitate and disseminate research on all aspects of parking management, but especially parking behavior and demand management, to the TRB community.”
As a first step in achievement of this mission, and in view of the high numbers of papers submitted on parking issues, the sub-committee convened very successful “mini-sessions” at TRB Annual Meetings 2006 and 2007, and has a listserv in operation.
This research need could be addressed by systematically identifying locations across the country where parking prices are about to be introduced, or raised; and conducting surveys of the impacts. Alternatively, in locations where no actual change is about to take place, stated preference instruments could instead be used, to measure travelers’ responses to hypothetical changes in parking prices.
How does the private sector developer and occupier make decisions about the parking that they want and how they then use it?There is growing awareness regarding the influence of parking cost and supply on travel behaviour and land use. As such, many municipalities and other planning organizations are trying to implement parking policies and programs to achieve transportation and land use objectives, such as minimizing parking oversupply, reducing travel by single-occupant vehicles, and fostering more transit- and pedestrian-oriented development. A common strategy is for municipalities to modify minimum off-street parking standards to make them more flexible and/or reduce the minimum amount of parking required. Certainly, policies that require large on-site parking facilities hinder the development of a more transit- and pedestrian-oriented built form. However, it is less clear whether developers will take advantage of government-endorsed opportunities to provide less parking, particularly in more auto-oriented areas where ample free parking may be considered necessary for the marketability of the development. This reflects that the amount of parking provided by a development depends on many factors in addition to parking requirements, such as anticipated parking demand, the cost of land, existing on- and off-site supply, the potential for revenue generation from parking, parking supply stipulations from financing bodies, and industry standards, among others.
In general, there is a poor understanding among policy makers and transportation professionals of how developers make parking supply decisions. If changes to minimum parking standards and other policies are prepared without a good understanding of the key factors influencing parking supply, it is possible that many well-intentioned efforts to better manage parking supply will be ineffective. Therefore, there is a pressing need for research to examine the key factors affecting parking supply decisions, how these factors change among different types of developers (e.g. office, shopping centre, small retail, high-rise residential, etc.), what role parking policies play in these decisions, and how parking policies can best be designed to achieve transportation and land use objectives. Research would include extensive surveying of developers and case studies of success stories and failures at the municipal and state-wide level. The result would be a best practice guide for parking policy development.
Research is needed into the practicality and acceptability (for developers, traders and residents) of using contributions from developers to build new parking on a consolidated single site, at a short distance from new development. This would not be suitable in all areas but in town and city centres, where there is a variety of trip attractions in a small area, it could be beneficial for developers – because they could use all of their most valuable land for development – and for urban vitality. The research could consist of case studies where this approach has already been adopted, plus public acceptability and feasibility studies in areas where it is being considered. The result could be a form of best practice guide.
Where park and ride sites exist and are close to capacity, the transit authority may consider introducing or raising parking charges. It needs to understand the impact of such changes on parking and transit demand. It may also need to consider the financial trade-offs implicit in selling land around transit stops for development and reducing available parking, or the true costs of acquiring and developing more land for parking at other stops.
This research needs, first of all, discussions with municipal and regional planners and developers with experience of TOD to disentangle the various issues related to TOD and parking provision. From this, solutions to problems could be proposed and evaluated with reference to the same planners and developers and/or, in the longer term, testing them on actual TOD sites.
Research in this area needs to address various objectives, including:
There is a pressing need for research to examine the reasons for such opposition and, more importantly, ways in which schemes can be designed and implemented to maximise public support for parking management. Research would examine the key barriers to the implementation of parking management and, based on empirical evidence, the best ways to overcome such barriers. The result would be a best practice guide for authorities considering the introduction of parking management.
This research should summarize the methods to increase and better manage parking supply, specifically:
This research needs to consider the equity impacts of parking pricing where it has been introduced – has this led to poorer drivers being priced out of car travel to areas with priced parking and, if so, how have they modified their behaviour in response? It also needs to consider ways in which the equity impacts of parking pricing can be mitigated or eliminated, such as income-related parking charges (implemented in many UK hospitals and universities, for example), a certain allowance of free parking before a user becomes liable to pay a charge, combining parking payment with payment for transit, and/or tradeable parking rights. Research is needed to design parking pricing and policy schemes that enhance equity by reducing hidden parking costs, especially on the poor, and by providing low-income individuals with alternative parking and transportation options. Specific alternative policy scenarios should be modeled to determine their equity implications.
Communicating with public parking operators and managers about, for example, variable pricing, or managing parking to achieve public sector’s transport policy goals.The 2007 meeting of the Sub-committee felt that there was a need to communicate more to parking operators about developments in parking technology and management, and about the public sector’s aspirations for parking policy and management. This may be less of a research activity as one of outreach, seeking ways to involve parking operators in the Sub-committee’s activities.