Friday, November 22, 2013

SeaPark in Seattle and Low-Cost, Dynamic Parking Rate Systems

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Also discussed here: Parkopedia 

Today we review an article about how Seattle, Washington apply parking rates that vary with demand in a more affordable way ($1M) than the much more sophisticated $20 M system used in San Francisco. Preliminary results show improved efficiency at the use of the on-street parking spaces which have resulted in a decrease in the rates paid compared to what was charged previously. Occupancy hit the targeted 70-85% range more often during the day and night than before, only falling below 70% in the early morning hours.  

Key Quotes: 

“San Francisco. SFpark uses demand-responsive pricing to adjust the rates of city street meters and garages in eight major neighborhoods, ensuring that spots are always available. The program uses a matrix of street sensors to inform drivers using the SFpark app of space vacancy and prices in real time.” 

cities are using the data they gather to create dynamic parking pricing — so you can get a guaranteed great space if you’re willing to pay a little extra — and merchants could automatically pay for your street parking as an incentive for visiting their business.” 

"Seattle is really showing how cities, often with existing equipment and a little hard work, can do demand-responsive pricing..It's not as sophisticated, but it's such a big step in the right direction." 

“With SeaPark, the city prices parking in different districts based on need, in an effort to ensure at least one or two spaces remain open throughout the day. Officials collect parking data every year and change parking rates — which range from $1 to $4 an hour — on a per-neighborhood basis when basic availability goals aren't being met.” 

“Despite its limited funding, SeaPark remains an impressive system. Take street parking in the commercial core. As of April 2013, SeaPark just about hit its target occupancy of 70 to 85 percent during normal business hours:” 

 “Large green "VALUE" signs placed at the edge of popular districts show people where they can park for longer and cheaper — creating options for travelers who don't mind walking a little farther to pay a little less.” 

“the point of priced parking is not to squeeze city drivers for every penny. In many neighborhoods, rates have gone down since the program began”
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