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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The trouble with minimum parking requirements


Urban planners typically set the minimum parking requirements for every land use to satisfy the peak demand for free parking. As a result, parking is free for 99% of automobile trips in the United States Minimum parking requirements increase the supply and reduce the price – but not the cost – of parking. They bundle the cost of parking spaces into the cost of development, and thereby increase the prices of all the goods and services sold at the sites that offer free parking. Cars have many external costs, but the external cost of parking in cities may be greater than all the other external costs combined. To prevent spillover, cities could price on-street parking rather than require off-street parking. Compared with minimum parking requirements, market prices can allocate parking spaces fairly and efficiently.

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