Not enough parking spaces? Here's an idea: limit the number of cars out on the street.
That's exactly how China is dealing with the country's explosive growth in automobile ownership, and the resulting traffic and parking problems.
"The rapid growth of the car population has put a lot of pressure on infrastructure," explains Richard Zhou, Managing Director of Cytel in Shanghai and an expert on China's parking industry. "Most cities in China cannot cope with such rapid growth of traffic. In Shanghai, the local government had to introduce measures to restrict the car ownership."
For example, the government only releases 6,000 license plates each month, auctioned to the highest bidders – a seemingly capitalist approach to the problem. According to insideline.com, Chinese license plates went for an average of $5,600 in 2009.
"The restriction on the car ownership had helped to reduce the heavy burden both on the traffic and on the demand for parking spaces," says Zhou.
Karl Wunderlich, Corporate Fellow for Transportation Analysis at Noblis, told me about a similar license plate strategy in some larger Chinese cities. These municipalities only allow vehicles with plates ending in even or odd numbers to travel on corresponding even or odd days. Violators are fined, according to Wunderlich, but as the wealth of the Chinese middle class continues to grow, drivers simply pay the fine, and consider it part of the cost of owning an automobile.
From Parking World Technical Writer, Pete Golden