Park Department

Some interesting parking-related figures I came across today, in a forthcoming paper in the journal Land Use Policy, “The environmental and economic costs of sprawling parking lots in the United States,” by Amélie Y. Davis, Bryan C. Pijanowski, Kimberly Robinson and Bernard Engel:

A large proportion, over 6.5%, of the urban footprint, is allocated to parking lots in Tippecanoe County, Indiana. We estimated that this is the same size as 1075 American football fields. In our mall study area, we found that parking lots exceeded the footprint of buildings they service by 20%.

There are many more spaces than registered vehicles (1.7×), households (6.3×) or people living in the county of driving age (2.2×). This implies that if all of the vehicles in the county were removed from garages, driveways, and all of the roads and residential streets and they were parked in parking lots at the same time, there would still be 83,000 unused spaces throughout the county. Annual ecological services value of these parking area represents over $22 M if they are all replaced by wetlands.

If the percentage of parking lot area in the county (0.44%) is scaled to the area occupied by the conterminous United States, the entire states of Connecticut, and Massachusetts (12,550 + 20,305 = 32,855 km2 ) would be paved over with parking lots.

[] [Digg] [Facebook] [Google] [MySpace] [Slashdot] [StumbleUpon] [Yahoo!]

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 at 3:47 pm and is filed under Parking, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 Responses to “Park Department”

  1. Josh R Says:

    One of the big problems with urban planning in regards to parking lots is the nearly absolute dictate that a business must have enough parking to accommodate the “worst case” christmas rush kind of crowds that most places only see a handful of times a year. 85% of the time the lots are nowhere near full, but it’s better to have more land covered in asphalt then risk someone not being able to find a space.

    The book “The high cost of free parking” while dry, is a very good overview of this issue.

  2. Pete Warnock Says:

    It’s the dilemma of scaling. Malls need the extra capacity for the Holidays. Football stadiums need it 10 times a year. How do you effectively reallocate it? has extra capacity for the Holidays, too. A few years ago, it began renting unused extra capacity on an hourly basis. It provides affordable, on-demand bandwidth for short-term needs.

  3. Michiel Says:

    For peak demand, companies and municipalities should share parking space. E.g. parkings spaces of offices are not used on saturday when lots of people are shopping. (As does with server capacity.) It saves a lot of money and space! In the Netherlands with have percentages of capacity of use of parking spaces in time (morning, afternoon, evening, weekdays vs weekends).

  4. Kevin Love Says:

    Eliminating car parking is an excellent way of reducing car use. There is zero car parking at both where I live and where I work in Toronto. Needless to say, I don’t drive a car to work.

    Driving would mean that I would have to walk to and from off-site car parking for both my home and workplace. It would take me almost four times as long to get to work. And I would pay about $350 per month for each car parking spot – that’s $700 per month total.

    That is the sort of disincentive that is needed everywhere.

    We could at least start with employees who get “free” parking spots at their workplace by defining that as a taxable benefit. That would discourage driving cars to work and raise some badly needed tax dollars at the same time.

  5. John Says:

    All ideas above are good. If one-way lanes were used, got used-to, and enforced, some area percentage could be reduced for a same-capacity lot.Two way lanes are not really needed here.

  6. lalahsghost Says:

    Parking garages cut the space needed… How about we build our shopping centers ?on top of them? or below them? or some sort of manner like that in order to more efficiently use space… There is always up!

  7. The Grinch Says:

    If there’s extra parking space JUST for holidays, let’s abolish the holidays.

Leave a Reply

Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

Please send tips, news, research papers, links, photos (bad road signs, outrageous bumper stickers, spectacularly awful acts of driving or parking or anything traffic-related), or ideas for my Transport column to me at:

For publicity inquiries, please contact Kate Runde at Vintage:

For editorial inquiries, please contact Zoe Pagnamenta at The Zoe Pagnamenta Agency:

For speaking engagement inquiries, please contact
Kim Thornton at the Random House Speakers Bureau:

Order Traffic from:

Amazon | B&N | Borders
Random House | Powell’s

[] [Digg] [Facebook] [Google] [MySpace] [Slashdot] [StumbleUpon] [Yahoo!]
U.S. Paperback UK Paperback
Traffic UK
Drive-on-the-left types can order the book from

For UK publicity enquiries please contact Rosie Glaisher at Penguin.

Upcoming Talks

April 9, 2008.
California Office of Traffic Safety Summit
San Francisco, CA.

May 19, 2009
University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies
Bloomington, MN

June 23, 2009
Driving Assessment 2009
Big Sky, Montana

June 26, 2009
PRI World Congress
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

June 27, 2009
Day of Architecture
Utrecht, The Netherlands

July 13, 2009
Association of Transportation Safety Information Professionals (ATSIP)
Phoenix, AZ.

August 12-14
Texas Department of Transportation “Save a Life Summit”
San Antonio, Texas

September 2, 2009
Governors Highway Safety Association Annual Meeting
Savannah, Georgia

September 11, 2009
Oregon Transportation Summit
Portland, Oregon

October 8
Honda R&D Americas
Raymond, Ohio

October 10-11
INFORMS Roundtable
San Diego, CA

October 21, 2009
California State University-San Bernardino, Leonard Transportation Center
San Bernardino, CA

November 5
Southern New England Planning Association Planning Conference
Uncasville, Connecticut

January 6
Texas Transportation Forum
Austin, TX

January 19
Yale University
(with Donald Shoup; details to come)

Monday, February 22
Yale University School of Architecture
Eero Saarinen Lecture

Friday, March 19
University of Delaware
Delaware Center for Transportation

April 5-7
University of Utah
Salt Lake City
McMurrin Lectureship

April 19
International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (Organization Management Workshop)
Austin, Texas

Monday, April 26
Edmonton Traffic Safety Conference
Edmonton, Canada

Monday, June 7
Canadian Association of Road Safety Professionals
Niagara Falls, Ontario

Wednesday, July 6
Fondo de Prevención Vial
Bogotá, Colombia

Tuesday, August 31
Royal Automobile Club
Perth, Australia

Wednesday, September 1
Australasian Road Safety Conference
Canberra, Australia

Wednesday, September 22

Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s
Traffic Incident Management Enhancement Program
Statewide Conference
Wisconsin Dells, WI

Wednesday, October 20
Rutgers University
Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation
Piscataway, NJ

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre
Injury Prevention Forum

Monday, May 2
Idaho Public Driver Education Conference
Boise, Idaho

Tuesday, June 2, 2011
California Association of Cities
Costa Mesa, California

Sunday, August 21, 2011
American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Attitudes: Iniciativa Social de Audi
Madrid, Spain

April 16, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Gardens Theatre, QUT
Brisbane, Australia

April 17, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Centennial Plaza, Sydney
Sydney, Australia

April 19, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Melbourne Town Hall
Melbourne, Australia

January 30, 2013
University of Minnesota City Engineers Association Meeting
Minneapolis, MN

January 31, 2013
Metropolis and Mobile Life
School of Architecture, University of Toronto

February 22, 2013
ISL Engineering
Edmonton, Canada

March 1, 2013
Australian Road Summit
Melbourne, Australia

May 8, 2013
New York State Association of
Transportation Engineers
Rochester, NY

August 18, 2013 “Ingenuity” Conference
San Francisco, CA

September 26, 2013
TransComm 2013
(Meeting of American Association
of State Highway and Transportation
Officials’ Subcommittee on Transportation
Grand Rapids MI



[] [Digg] [Facebook] [Google] [MySpace] [Slashdot] [StumbleUpon] [Yahoo!]
December 2009
« Nov   Jan »