Consider the impact fees have on parking behavior.

Experience from the smart parking field test at the Rockridge, Oakland BART station.

1 August 2007
Oakland,California,United States

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Lesson Learned

The determination of the fee structure for smart parking is a critical element to consider when developing any implementation plan. The cost of drive-in vs. advance reservations is a case in point. Mid-way through the smart parking field test, users were charged $1.00 per day for drive-in reservations and $4.50 per day for advanced reservations. After the fees were implemented, data revealed that drive-in reservations increased while advanced reservations decreased. Sixty-four percent of survey respondents reported that they continued smart parking use when fees were introduced; however, nearly 75% of respondents noted that they would stop using the service, if daily parking fees equaled or exceeded $5.00 US per day. Furthermore, 43% answered “yes” when asked if they made fewer advanced versus drive-in reservations. While overall, participants stated that they would be willing to pay for smart parking, they also indicated the following pricing preferences:
  • Smart parking should not be more expensive than monthly reserved parking. While it may seem self-evident that this would be the case, it is important to remember to keep the overall combined cost of reservation fees and actual parking below the cost of the monthly reserved parking.
  • Charge parking reservation fees on a per-transaction basis instead of carrying a balance. As part of the smart parking reservation process, users entered a credit card that was charged a flat fee of $30. Reservation fees were deducted from the account balance, and an additional $30 was added automatically, as needed. Users expressed a preference for a per transaction charge rather than a flat fee, due to the fact that some users only needed parking for a short period and would not use the full $30 balance.
The pricing of smart parking is an important component of a successful program. Feedback from the smart parking field test program participants indicate that while many are willing to pay a fee, at a certain price point individuals will opt out of the system. Therefore, when designing a fee structure it is critical to balance the program’s financial needs with maintaining desired participation levels.

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Smart Parking Linked to Transit: Lessons Learned from the San Francisco Bay Area Field Test

Author: Susan Shaheen and Charlene Kemmerer

Published By: Transportation Research Board

Source Date: 1 August 2007

URL: http://pubs.its.ucdavis.edu/download_pdf.php?id=1095

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Lesson Analyst:

Gina Filosa
RITA/Volpe National Transportation Systems Center


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Lesson ID: 2008-00445