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How much parking do you need? ULI has the answer

A ‘first-of-its-kind’ central resource of innovative parking policy reforms has been launched by the Urban Land Institute (ULI), the world’s oldest and largest network of cross-disciplinary real estate and land-use experts, with a view to making more efficient use of land and creating healthier neighborhoods. 

For nearly a century, cities across the United States and beyond have required new developments to provide a set number of off-street parking spots, but research has shown that these requirements can lead to an oversupply of parking. ULI’s searchable, filterable database allows users to access information on more than 50 policies from cities across the United States, complemented by five short fact sheets that detail various types of reforms. These include how they influence real estate development projects, transportation choices, and goals related to social equity, affordable housing, livability, and city finances. ULI will periodically update the database and provide opportunities for users to suggest policies for potential inclusion.   

“U.S. cities have struggled for a long time to balance parking supply and demand but are now updating policies to better manage their parking inventories,” said Matt Norris, director of ULI’s Building Healthy Places Initiative. “The centralized resource that ULI has created will be helpful to  real estate and land use professionals, in both the public sector and private sector, to learn from best practices across the country, and encourage more efficient parking solutions.” 

Parking policy reforms that are highlighted in the database, include 1) eliminating minimum parking requirements for development projects; 2) enabling developments and businesses to share parking facilities; and 3) using technology solutions to efficiently manage the supply of on-street parking. 

“These types of reforms have been shown to reduce traffic and associated emissions,” said Norris. They can also free up resources for cities to invest in transit and other infrastructure and can lead to lower real estate development costs—meaning more profitable projects and opportunities to support housing affordability.” 

Users of the interactive database will be able to sort policies by year or location and can also filter results by the lead agency responsible for the policy. It is also possible to search by ‘applicability’ (whether a policy applies citywide, near transit, in specific districts, etc) as well as by ‘policy type’, including:
 

  • Reduction/Elimination of Parking Minimums.
  • Parking Maximums/Caps.
  • Shared Parking.
  • Unbundled Parking.
  • Transportation Demand Management (TDM).
  • In-Lieu Fee.
  • Demand/Performance-Based Pricing.
  • Parking Benefit District.

ULI’s research highlights several trends that have influenced parking reforms, including:
 

  • Historically high construction costs—particularly in dense urban areas—are contributing to housing unaffordability, especially when the high costs of building on-site parking are factored in.
  • Changing shopping preferences, along with over-retailing, are leaving acres of parking lots at many shopping malls and retail power centers vacant.
  • The popularity of human-powered transportation, such as walking and bicycling, along with the growth of delivery services and the availability of shared mobility services is reducing the need for individuals to own—and park—cars.
  • Advances in technology are promoting more efficient management of the existing parking supply by using information technology that shares the location of available spaces, supports real-time dynamic pricing, and helps make shared parking options easier.
  • An increased focus by municipalities on sustainability, livability, and social equity and a growing body of research show that many current parking requirements promote development patterns that increase traffic congestion, contribute to air pollution, raise housing costs, prevent walkability, and penalize those without automobiles.

To view ULI’s centralized resource of parking policy innovations in the United States, visit https://knowledge.uli.org/en/reports/research-reports/innovations-in-parking-policy

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