Best planning and implementation toolbox

Parking Management:

Purpose of Tool:
Parking management consists of strategies that seek to make more efficient use of available parking resources. These strategies include alternatives to expanding parking supply, which can have detrimental effects upon the transportation and land use network. Parking management strategies incorporate innovative solutions, expand traveler options, and often have environmental as well as aesthetic benefits. Examples of parking management strategies include, but are not limited to, the following:

a) Shared parking: a parking facility that serves multiple users or destinations to meet varying parking demand needs
b) Parking regulations: regulations that address issues such as parking duration and user types, in order to prioritize use of the parking facility
c) Flexibility of parking standards: planners and decision-makers take into account factors such as land use mix, density, and employment density to adjust parking standards for different parking facilities
d) Parking maximums: an upper limit on parking supply to limit excessive parking capacity
e) Remote parking and shuttle service: maintain traffic flow and mobility at the destination. Parking facilities are located off-site, and users are transported to the destination via shuttle bus or similar higher-capacity vehicle.
f) Increasing capacity of existing parking facilities: accomplished in one or more ways, such as designating spaces for compact vehicles, reducing the size of the spaces, or using valet services during peak periods
g) Parking pricing: charging users a fee for parking, thereby reducing demand and raising revenue for parking facility enhancements.

Parking management programs work well with complementary efforts that aim to increase mobility and transportation options in a community. For example, recent strategies for innovative growth create development patterns that are mixed-use, more compact, and multimodal in nature. This development pattern lends itself well to reduced parking and/or sharing of parking facilities. Also, initiatives to provide alternate transportation options such as transit, bicycle and/or pedestrian amenities reduce the need for parking capacity.

Benefits of Using Tool:
There are several benefits to implementing parking management strategies in a community. Parking management supports overall mobility by reducing localized vehicular congestion and reducing the demand for vehicles. Also, parking management reduces consumption of land, freeing it for other uses or conservation. In addition, parking fees allow the user to pay the “true cost” of parking, helping to mitigate the impacts of additional vehicles on the road. Parking management also benefits the environment by reducing the total amount of pavement, thereby minimizing the “heat island” effect as well as reducing stormwater runoff and water pollution.

Steps Involved to Use Tool:
While there are no standard procedures for using parking management strategies, there are numerous best practices that have been used to implement successful management programs throughout the country. The local government should develop an integrated parking plan to for the parking management program. This plan will ideally survey existing conditions, identify parking issues, coordinate alternatives with existing programs and within the regional planning framework, and develop an implementation plan for parking management. The parking management plan should include an assessment of the true cost of existing parking facilities. The cost of parking depends on land use, size of the space, as well as impacts such as congestion. The Victoria Transport Policy Institute has the Parking Cost, Price and Revenue Calculator at to determine costs based on the conditions in the jurisdiction. The parking management plan should also determine an optimal parking supply. Traditionally, guidelines such as those in ITE’s Parking Generation report recommend parking supply based on set parking minimums based upon use; however, these thresholds often result in excessive parking capacity. An alternative is the use of efficiency-based standards, which consider the demographic, economic, and geographic patterns that affect parking demand. As a general rule, efficiency-based standards allow most parking facilities to be filled to capacity, as long as traveler convenience and mobility are maintained. When capacity at general parking facilities is exceeded (i.e., for special events), the jurisdiction should have measures in place to mitigate excess parking demand, such as overflow parking lots and the use of shuttle buses.

A larger local jurisdiction, such as a county, may consider creating a Transportation Management Agency (TMA) to operate the parking management program A TMA is a non-profit, private agency dedicated to the management and operation of parking practices as well as other transportation management objectives. These are typically funded through member business contributions as well as contributions from local governments. Alternatively, an existing organization such as a Chamber of Commerce or a Downtown Development Authority can take charge of parking management in a jurisdiction.

Special Requirements to Use Tool:
There are several aspects of parking management that a local jurisdiction should consider before implementing the program. Jurisdictions that are interested in implementing parking management should first gain buy-in from the business community, local citizens, and decision-makers. Businesses are vital partners, as their participation is often required to implement certain management strategies. One example is the use of incentives to allow employees to commute using alternate transportation modes, allow employees to work flexible hours, or charge for parking at employment sites. In order to gain buy-in from the business community, the jurisdiction should show how parking management improves mobility and can spur economic development and growth. The jurisdiction should also market parking management to local citizens, identifying the potential benefits such as reduced travel time, enhanced transportation alternatives, and aesthetic improvements from the reduction of surface parking lots. Lastly, it is important to show decision-makers the benefits of parking management; their buy-in will expedite the implementation of parking management strategies and put “teeth” behind major initiatives that require legislation to implement.

Specials Resources Needed to Use Tool:
Other than the suggested procedures and items described above, there are no specific resources required to implement parking management programs.

Communities / Agencies that Have Used Tool:
San Francisco, California’s Livable City campaign aims to promote alternative transportation strategies; improve bicycle, pedestrian, and transit facilities; coordinate with other agencies for transportation reform; integrate ecological design into the transportation system; and complete a long-term, comprehensive traffic calming plan for the City. As part of this effort, in 2006, the City instituted major parking reform, which included policies such as eliminating minimum parking requirements in commercial areas, requiring pedestrian-oriented uses on the first floor of buildings, and offering secured bicycle parking facilities. In addition, the Livable City campaign has introduced parking reform in several individual neighborhoods and instituted parking impact fees and parking benefit districts (areas where an additional surcharge is placed on parking meters to fund parking reform programs).

Tom Radulovich
Executive Director
995 Market Streetet
Suite 155050
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 344-0489, ext. 1#

The Chattanooga Area Regional Transit Authority has used parking garages and shuttle buses to manage parking in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee. Parking garages are placed at either end of the business district to reduce traffic downtown. Electric shuttle buses run every five minutes and transport visitors and employees to destinations within the central business district, including employment centers, retail shops, restaurants, and tourist destinations such as the Chattanooga Aquarium. In addition to enhancing mobility, the parking garage and shuttle services have enhanced the appearance of Downtown Chattanooga and spurred economic development.

Jill Veron
Director of Planning and Transportation
1617 Wilcox Boulevard
Chattanooga, TN 3740606
(423) 629-141111 

Metrics to Use to Monitor Tool Effectiveness
Because parking management programs are specifically tailored to each jurisdiction, there are no standard metrics as to how the program improves quality of life. Measures of impervious surface such as percent of surface that is paved can indicate stormwater management impacts of parking management. Revenue generated from parking pricing, changes in transit ridership, and use of carpools or vanpools are all measures that may indicate the impacts of parking management strategies.

List of Resources to Obtain Additional Info
- Parking Management – Strategies, Evaluation and Planning (PDF):
- Livable City Program – Parking Reform:
- Chattanooga Area Regional Transit Authority – Services: