A paper presented at the Transportation Research Board annual meeting in Washington DC this week concludes that as parking availability either at the destination or the origin of a trip increases, so does driving. You can read about it here. Of course if you followed parknews.biz you would already know all this.
It seems that if people are forced to park on street and live in an area where there is a lot of business parking, they tend not to drive because they will lose their parking space. Likewise if there is parking available at work, they tend to drive rather than take other means of transport.
It seems to me that there was a book written about all this a few years ago. Don Shoup call your office.
I don’t see that this is something that requires a world class study. It seems that thoughtful people won’t drive their cars where there is no place to park it (or its too expensive) and they also won’t move their car if they are afraid they will lose their space when they return.
The author of the article referenced above said her family does not drive anywhere on Friday or Saturday because they will lose the space on street near their apartment, because those nights drivers visiting nearby clubs and restaurants take the spaces. The article I quoted in an earlier blog about driving in China noted that one driver commented that he always returned home before 4 PM because the complex where he lived had only 200 spaces for 900 apartments and those filled quickly after five.
Parking availability does affect our actions.
How does this affect policy. If the goal is to cut driving trips to the central city, then the logical approach would be to reduce the amount of available parking.
However, it is also important to replace those reduced trips with something (carpools, buses, rapid transit, Uber, transporters). And that’s not cheap. If one can’t get to work, or to shopping, or to the museum, or to restaurants or clubs, then guess what, those attractions will move to where the people live and the downtown will be decimated.
My favorite law, the law of unintended consequences, kicks in and the very thing you were trying to accomplish, a livable downtown, ceases to exist.
When you attempt to alter behavior beware. You may get what you ask for.