Parking Policy Explained: A Two-Minute Crash Course

By Giuliano Mingardo

Everyone who is professionally involved in our sector knows parking (policy) is a very emotional issue. Very often, a lack of understanding of how parking works leads to very emotional debates among politicians, decision-makers, retailers, citizens, project developers, and other urban stakeholders. Should parking be free of charge to stimulate economic activity? Is parking a cash cow used by local authorities to raise funds? Should residents have free parking? These are only some of the questions that animate debates on parking policy. When debates are dominated by emotions, the outcome is seldom good for the society.

As parking professionals, we know how parking works. The problem is that the rest of the world doesn’t. Not everyone has read Donald Shoup’s book or attended one of his presentations. It can be very frustrating for parking professionals to explain the same concepts over and over. Restaurants owners don’t have to explain customers why they charge for food and utilities companies don’t have to explain why they charge for gas, electricity or water. But parking professional must always justify the fact that one should pay for parking.

Doing this every time can be very time consuming and frustrating. That’s why we decided to produce a short animation on parking policy—so parking professionals can save time (and energy) avoiding repeating boring arguments and focusing on the real challenges. We hope that this animation will reduce the emotional load in the parking debate and will help politicians and policy makers to take better decisions. Please, click here to watch and spread it among your network, and your job might become a bit easier.

Giuliano Mingardo is senior researcher of transportation economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

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