University of California Transportation Center
Smart Parking on Campus
- Author(s): Shoup, Donald C
- et al.
Universities have tried almost every possible way of dealing with the shortage of campus parking: lotteries, hunting licenses, first-come-first-served, waiting lists, seniority, and need-based systems. As another way to eliminate parking shortages, this paper proposes using variable prices to balance supply and demand. We can call this the Goldilocks Principle of parking prices: the price at any location is too high if many spaces are vacant, and too low if no spaces are vacant. When a few vacant spaces are available everywhere, the prices are just right and drivers can always find a place to park. The paper concludes by proposing a pilot program to test drivers’ responses to performance-based prices for campus parking.