Parking Management Best Practices

By Todd Litman

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Originally published in 2006 — e-book version released in 2014.

The typical automobile is parked 23 hours a day. Where and how can make a big difference to economic development, traffic reduction, smart growth, historic preservation, and many other planning efforts.

The parking management strategies described in this book will help planners increase parking facility efficiency and reduce parking demand. Parking management offers an alternative to traditional "predict and provide" parking planning, which has contributed to widespread auto dependency and urban sprawl. Instead of providing plentiful free parking, parking management provides optimal parking supply and pricing. Its benefits include support for transit-oriented development; reduced stormwater management costs, water pollution, and heat island effects; improved travel options for nondrivers; lower housing costs; and more livable communities.

For planners who need to establish more accurate and flexible parking standards, this book is a blueprint for developing an integrated parking plan. It explains how to determine parking supply and affect parking demand, as well as how to calculate parking facility costs. It also offers information about shared parking, parking maximums, financial incentives, tax reform, pricing methods, and other management techniques.

What types of locations benefit from parking management?

  • Places with perceived parking problems
  • Areas with rapidly expanding population, business activity, or traffic
  • Commercial districts and other places with compact land-use patterns
  • Urban areas in need of redevelopment and infill
  • Places with high levels of walking or public transit or places that want to encourage those modes
  • Districts where parking problems hinder economic development
  • Areas with high land values
  • Neighborhoods concerned with equity, including fairness to nondrivers
  • Places with environmental concerns
  • Unique landscapes or historic districts in need of preservation

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Product Details

Page Count
Date Published
Jan. 1, 2014
APA Planners Press

Table of Contents

1. Introduction • Paradigm Shift • Parking Management Principles • Summary of Parking Management Benefits and Costs • Redefining Parking Problems • Parking Management Solutions

2. How Much is Optimal? • Examples of Conventional Parking Standards • Conventional Parking Standards • Accuracy Versus Precision • Factors That Contribute to Excessive Parking Supply • Factors That Contribute to Economically Excessive Parking Demand • Evidence of Excessive Parking Supply • Better Ways to Determine How Much Parking to Supply • Indications of Parking Problems • Example of Conventional Parking Planning

3. Factors Affecting Parking Demand and Requirements • Parking Facility Location, Type, and Design • Geography • Household Vehicle Ownership and Use By Land-Use Formula • Demographics • Pricing and Regulation • Parking and Mobility Management Programs • Time Period • Evaluation of Multiple Factors

4. Parking Facility Costs • Land 50 Curb Space • Construction • Operation and Maintenance • Transaction Costs • Other Costs • Total Parking Cost • Transportation Trade-Offs Involving Parking

5. Parking Management Strategies • Share Parking • On-Street Parking • Regulate Parking • How Much Time? • Residential Parking Permits • Curb Color • Establish More Accurate and Flexible Standards • Establish Parking Maximums • Provide Remote Parking and Shuttle Services • Implement Smart Growth Policies • Improve Walking and Cycling Conditions • Increase Capacity of Existing Parking Facilities • Implement Mobility Management • Carsharing • Price Parking • Improve Pricing Methods • Provide Financial Incentives • Unbundle Parking • Reform Parking Taxes • Provide Bicycle Facilities • Improve User Information and Marketing • Improve Enforcement and Control • Common Parking Mistakes That Result in Tickets • Establish Transportation Management Associations and Parking Brokerage • Establish Overflow Parking Plans • Address Spillover Problems • Improve Parking Facility Design and Operation • Summary

6. Developing an Integrated Parking Plan • Planning Process • Being a Change Agent • Treasure Hidden in Your Parking Lot • Is Parking Management Effective?

7. Evaluating Individual Parking Facilities • Examples

8. Examples • Increase Office Building Income • Downtown Parking Management • Guiding Principles • Major Downtown Redevelopment • Urban Village • Urban Neighborhood Parking Management • Resort Hotel Development • Urban Residential Development • Transportation Terminals • Campus Parking Management • Regional Park • Sports Arena • Affordable Residential Development • Small Business • Community Event Parking





"It's about time somebody turned their attention to techniques for managing parking and reclaiming our cities from it. Todd Litman has done an admirable job in this comprehensive and useful volume."

—Hank Dittmar
Chief Executive, The Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment
Chair, The Congress for the New Urbanism

"Litman expertly explains the parking problem and puts together all the best ways to solve it. Each parking management strategy, taken alone, may produce only a small change, but in combination they can make huge improvements in housing, transportation, the environment, and many other aspects of city life."

—Donald Shoup, FAICP
Professor of Urban Planning, UCLA
The High Cost of Free Parking