The Pseudoscience of Parking Requirements

Zoning Practice — February 2020

By Donald Shoup, FAICP


ZP subscriber
List price
Sign In & Download

Not a member but want to buy a copy? You'll need to create a free My APA account to purchase. Create account

Parking requirements increase traffic congestion, pollute the air, encourage sprawl, raise housing costs, degrade urban design, prevent walkability, damage the economy, and penalize everyone who cannot afford a car. Despite all the harm off-street parking requirements cause, they remain almost an established religion in zoning practice.

This edition of Zoning Practice summarizes the social, economic, and environmental costs of minimum off-street parking requirements and highlights the weak rationale many planners have used to justify specific requirements in the communities they serve. It explains how removing parking minimums can translate into community benefits and spotlights recent parking reform efforts.


Page Count
Date Published
Feb. 1, 2020
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Author

Donald Shoup, FAICP
Donald Shoup, FAICP, is Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Urban Planning at UCLA. In 2018, Shoup and his co-authors detailed a zoning proposal to facilitate garage-to-apartment conversions, published in APA's Zoning Practice as well as the Journal of Planning Education and Research. This proposal builds off the lessons of Shoup's landmark book The High Cost of Free Parking. Shoup is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners and an Honorary Professor at the Beijing Transportation Research Center.