The Shoup Dog read my blog below and responded — Here it is:
I sympathize with your friend who doubted that 30 percent of city traffic is cruising for parking. Unfortunately, many people who have never read The High Cost of Free Parking often quote me as saying that 30 percent of city traffic is cruising for parking.
I did summarize the results of 16 studies of cruising in 11 cities on four continents. Researchers found that between 8 and 74 percent of traffic was searching for parking, and it took between 3.5 and 13.9 minutes to find a curb space. For the 16 studies the average share of traffic that was cruising was 30 percent and the average search time was 8.1 minutes.
These studies date back to 1927. The data were probably not very accurate when they were collected, and the results depended on the time of day, the specific place, and the season when the observations were made. The studies were selective because researchers measured cruising only when and where they expected to find it—where curb parking is underpriced and overcrowded. Nevertheless, cruising today is similar to what drivers have done since the 1920s, and the studies at least show that searching for underpriced curb parking has wasted time and fuel for many decades.
On most streets at most times, no one is cruising. But many people want a number, and I can’t stop anyone from saying that 30 percent of traffic is cruising. Nevertheless, on busy streets where all the curb spaces are occupied and traffic is congested, a substantial share of traffic may be cruising.
For example, when researchers interviewed drivers who were stopped at traffic signals in New York City, they found that 28 percent of the drivers on one street in Manhattan and 45 percent on a street in Brooklyn were cruising for curb parking. This doesn’t mean, however, that 28 percent of all traffic in Manhattan is cruising for parking or that 45 percent of all traffic in Brooklyn is cruising for parking.
On a congested street where all the curb spaces are occupied, one simple way to estimate how much of the traffic is cruising is to observe whether the first car that approaches a newly vacated space parks in it. If, for example, the first or second driver who approaches a newly vacated curb space always parks in it, this suggests that most of the traffic is cruising for parking.
An even simpler and quicker (though perhaps less humane) way to sample the traffic flow is to approach the driver-side door of a car parked at the curb with a key in your hand, as if to open the door. If the first driver to see you with a key apparently poised to unlock the door always stops to wait for the space, most of the traffic is probably cruising. The stopped car blocks a lane of traffic just like a double-parked car. Unfortunately, you must then use body language to suggest that you have changed your plans and have decided not to leave, regrettably disappointing the driver who expected to park in the space. If you do this several times, and the first or second driver to see you with a key in your hand always stops to wait for a space, what share of the cars in traffic would you think are cruising? When I did this on Pike Place in Seattle, the first driver who saw me with a key in my hand always stopped traffic to wait for the space.
Because most streets usually have some vacant curb spaces, the share of traffic that is cruising on most streets is probably zero. Because curb parking is underpriced and overcrowded in the busiest parts of most of the world’s biggest cities, however, the sun never sets on cruising.
The September Issue of PT will be our 20th anniversary issue. Folks are asking me what we are going to do. I thought a retrospective would be nice – Parking News Tidbits from two decades ago — or even a reprise of my mystery story Death by Parking.
We need to thank our first advertisers and those wonderful ones that are still with us after all these years. Perhaps poke a little fun at the ones who said we would never make it (can you say Pierre?) Or how about reviewing all the predictions I made and see just how accurate they were. If I remember correctly I ate a lot of crow over the years.
The issue will be fun. I’m looking forward to creating it. If you would like to see anything special, let me know.
Most of the support for Don Shoup’s theories is based on the concept that 30% of all cars driving in the city are actually looking for parking and if they took the first available spot, it would cut down traffic by a third thus saving whales, polar bears, and a lot of gasoline.
In fact, many of the parking programs like SF Park, and others, justify, either in whole or in part, on this 30% reduction.
I had dinner the other night with a parking guru who said, in essence “balderdash.” He told me that he had personally done a survey and he thinks the real number is like 2%. He said that you can’t just follow cars and somehow determine which are looking for space and which are driving directly to their parking destination.
You must first categorize the cars. In other words, have they passed their location and are beginning a search. In other words, you must actually interview them after their park and find out where they were going. If you don’t do that, how could you know whether they were wandering aimlessly or they were focused like a laser beam on their destination parking spot?
He told me that he actually did this, informally. He followed a set number of cars (I think over a few weeks about 200 and actually asked the driver what their destination was. The response in the vast majority of cases was that they were going to the building adjacent or very near their parking space. He noted that they didn’t circle back looking for space, but found a space and parked. He did this as a part of a traffic survey he had done for a major US city.
My friend admitted, after a few adult beverages, that his method wasn’t the most scientific but commented that students standing on rooftops in Westwood near UCLA had little more idea of where people were going or who was cruising and looking.
He added that this number is too critical to how parking programs are approved to be left to a number that was perhaps a SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess) estimate. He felt a grant needed to be garnered and a true survey done with actual interviews of drivers after they parked.
I have sent this to Don and asked him to respond.
I’m told that there is a new contest running on parknews.biz
All you have to do is find your name listed in Parknews.biz, drop a note to Editor Astrid, and you win. I hear its $50. You name also goes into a sweepstakes and you have a chance to win an all expense paid trip to the Parking Industry Exhibition next March in Chicago.
Just check out Parknews.biz every day for your name. We get the names at random from our Parking Today mailing list. If you get PT, you are already entered.
Actually you win three ways — First, you are guaranteed to win in that you learn everything that’s going on in our industry. You are up to date with what your colleagues are doing across the world. Second, you just might win $50. and third, you are entered in a drawing to get a free trip to PIE 2017.
Here’s the link: Parknews.biz
Self-driving car makers are coping with the ramifications of a road death in a self-driving car. It’s a tragedy that should be of note for the parking industry, as well. I saw the headlines a week ago, when a Tesla with the autopilot system activated crashed into a semi, and I though immediately that this was going to affect the development, testing and proliferation of these vehicles. According to theatlantic.com:
“What we know is that the vehicle was on a divided highway with Autopilot engaged when a tractor trailer drove across the highway perpendicular to the Model S,” Tesla said. “Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied.”
Read the article here.
My stance is that no computer is going to have the same ability to react to a million different driving scenarios that a human does. Sure, humans make more mistakes, but computers have limited perception and comprehension.
Whether or not self-driving cars will become a widespread reality, and whether or not they rearrange the entire parking industry when/if they do, a change in vehicle use is material to parking.
One issue driverless car makers are focused on right now are the legal ramifications of a fatal crash that occurred when a computer was at the wheel, so to speak.
A law firm in England says laws will have to change to accommodate this new technology, reports thisisthewestcountry.co.uk.
Clarke Willmott partner Philip Edwards said: “Existing in-car technology including self-parking systems, cruise control, lane departure warning and intelligent braking programmes are creating whole new territories which remain to be decided in law.
“While self-drive cars could bring long term benefits in terms of safety, reduced emissions and even social mobility, legal protocols will need to be put in place capable of being tested in the courts at all levels.”
When accidents occur, law enforcement and insurance representatives have to establish fault or responsibility. How is that done when a computer is driving? There is a lot of information swirling around the death of Joshua Brown – some news outlets have reported that he was watching a movie while his car drove, others say only that investigators found the remnants of a portable DVD player at the crash. Either way, Brown did not brake and neither did his car. Makes it hard to decide who’s responsible for the accident.
We will see how the legal adaptations play out, but they will be significant to the success of these vehicles.
Read the article here.
Earlier this month, retired Navy Veteran Rebecca Landis Hayes used a “vets only” parking spot in Concord, North Carolina and found a nasty note on her windshield accusing her of disrespect and selfishness. The note’s author, someone who saw Hayes and decided she must not be a veteran, wanted to make it clear that Hayes was in the wrong, reports foxnews.com.
As is the way in the era of Social Media, Hayes went to Facebook to make the world aware of this injustice, and the response was intense – so intense that public opinion on the matter circled back to the accuser and invoked an apology.
The dustup began when Hayes Landis parked in a vets-only parking spot June 13 at a grocery store in Concord. After she went in the store, a person who apparently saw her park – and believed she was not a veteran – placed a note on her car: “This parking is for veterans, lady. Learn to read & have some respect.”
Hayes published the apology she received from the still-anonymous writer of the letter, and hopefully, the world can move on. I don’t mean the minimize the importance of our veterans or say they don’t deserve recognition and gratitude for their service, but maybe dedicated parking spots are not turning out to be the perk they’re meant to be – especially because enforcing them is impossible.
Reserved parking spots for vets seems like a great gesture and it’s possible they love the privilege – but it’s possible they don’t. Maybe someone should ask them. Maybe this is a situation where too much is just too much. If I were Hayes I wouldn’t go anywhere near a vets-only spot in the future – who needs the aggravation?
Read the article here.
I have been musing for some time on the topic of parking industry ‘outsiders’ buying up parking suppliers. What is going to happen when well knows firms are purchased by the giants of the economy (Google, Microsoft, Ford, IBM, Xerox)?
It looks like we are going to find out. BMW has purchased Holland’s Parkmobile Group . According to the brief news release announcing the April purchase, the auto giant made the move “in order to offer more services to its customers and to become more than just a car manufacturer.” They also comment that the technology will be available to other car companies. Fair Enough.
When I read the piece Astrid put up on parknews.biz I was surprised by how short it was, merely six sentences. It also described the app company as supplying the user with parking availability and notification if their parking time is running out. Strange that it didn’t mention what I would consider the central aspect of Parkmobile, pay by cell.
This is the problem. BMW buys Parkmobile, and no one in the BMW PR department knows what it is they bought. Oh, I’m sure they will catch on, but its unfortunate that such a dynamic company as BMW can’t get their act together.
It seems to me that the Bavarian car maker wants an app to integrate into their ‘connected car’ program and after an investment into US’s Parkmobile LLC in 2014, purchasing the European Unit makes sense. They can integrate it into their smart dashboard and you will be paying for you parking without ever touching your phone. I suspect that the app will grow with the power of BMW behind it and will begin to operate into more and more markets, along side other Pay be Cell companies. After all, what good is it if you buy a BMW in Nashville and Parkmobile doesn’t cover Music City.
As one of the Hunt Brothers supposedly said, a billion here and a billion there and pretty soon you have some real money. BMW has deep pockets. Putting more money in a Parkmobile, now a division, is as simple as sending a memo.
Consider what it means when major economic players begin to gobble up not just high tech app companies but viable PARCS companies as well. This won’t be a 3M fiasco where they bought Federal’s unit to get one technology and were forced to take another, too. These will be strategic purchases to grow their product lines, and our marketplace.
All you suppliers out there better dust off your PR and be ready when someone calls from Detroit, or Redmond, or Silicon Valley. Mark my words, they will.
Parkmobile is only the beginning.
Update: Parkmobile in the US has been quick to point out that BMW purchased Parkmobile Group, or PMG, which is a Dutch company and a separate company from Parkmobile GLobal US. They note that the purchase will have little effect on them. More info as it is available.
In Montclair, New Jersey, parking meter spaces can be rented by the day, reports northjersey.com. It’s not a new policy, but an old one that’s been brought into the open in an interesting way. Franco Porporino, general manager of Fresco, pays for the use of two metered parking spots in front of his restaurant on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and uses them to provide valet parking for his customers.
Porporino is taking advantage of a parking policy that allows movie making crews, street fair organizers and other entities to rent the metered spaces by day for $20. Residents get a 50 percent discount on that rate, so Montclair locals could technically buy use of a space for the entire day on any day they want for only $10. But this is not a perk they’re really aware of.
“If this is the policy, then the public should know it, and I don’t think the public knows it,” said David Jones. “Then there is the deeper question of if this is a good policy when applied in this manner. People have to make their own judgments about that.”
It may be that Montclair city leaders will be facing an open can of worms with this policy. Its original intent was to provide for activities that had limited duration, but the valet service at Fresco is going on every week, year round.
“I honestly don’t know whether he’s exploiting a loophole or not. We’re aware of it, and we’ve laid off of it while the parking study was underway. Now that it’s coming to a conclusion, we’ll have a meeting and we’ll talk about this, not just for Fresco, but for all downtown restaurants,” at-Large Township Councilmember Rich McMahon clarified.
As a civilian, I wouldn’t pass up a chance to buy a parking spot for the day and use it however I want. I can’t see the benefit for my city financially, but I could use a guaranteed space for several excursions I’ve been planning. I’m going to have to see if this is an option where I live.
Read the article here.
A 30-cent per hour increase in parking meter prices in Southwest Washington, D.C. has allegedly incited acts of vandalism against meters in the area. According to afro.com, the higher prices have made parking more difficult in an already congested neighborhood. The vandalism is seen as retaliation. It has drawn attention because of widespread destruction of meters during the middle 1990s when more than 3,000 meters were smashed to pieces. Those incidents cost the city millions.
While some residents voiced disdain over what they perceived as predatory increases in parking and speeding fees, others are concerned that the city is witnessing the beginning of public service-related acts of destruction – reminiscent of those in the 1990s that cost the city roughly $500,000 a month in lost revenue.
Whose to say these recent events are in response to meter increases or just random theft? But the destruction of parking meters is a bad sign. Either criminals have reached a high level of comfort stealing in public; or people are genuinely so upset about parking rates that they are taking it out on city property.
Whenever there is a change in the cost of parking, it’s a good idea to provide publicity that includes something like a 24-hour complaint hotline or a large suggestion box placed in a central location. People need an outlet for their angst when public policy affects them in ways they feel are negative. Social media has everyone feeling more committed to their right to be validated, so before meters start going down, give residents an official opportunity to vent. Being heard does a lot to dispel anger.
Read the article here.
As you know, My neighborhood has been going through the rebuilding of our streets. This has been going on for a year.
We were told that we had to replace our curbs before the streets could be done. That project started a year ago. We had new curbs and old streets, with driveways disrupted — the new curbs didn’t fit the old streets. Things were worse than before they started, and that was last summer and fall.
Then they began rebuilding the street. First trimming the first layer of asphalt off, then actually replacing it with a temporary covering (they said they wanted the streets to be nice for us over the Christmas Holidays).
It seems we also needed new water mains, so the street work stopped and the water folks started (so the new street surface would cover the cuts in the street.) They dug a ditch, installed the mains, filled the ditch and paved over it. They then cut the street again in front of each house and hooked up the mains to each service, replacing the meters with ‘smart meters.’ And paved those cuts. That took a couple of months.
Construction then began in earnest. Huge machines were brought in and all the pavement was removed. Road graders reshaped the ground under the streets and a first layer of asphalt was laid down — Another six weeks passed.
Note that it seemed that between each part of the process, the city had to stop and take a breath. Crews disappeared. Machines left and then a week later returned.
Finally the big day came. The base was finished. The next day, the road surface was installed. It took only one day to lay down the actual roadway. But an entire year to prepare for that big event.;
I guess life is a lot that way. We spend years preparing for an event (college graduation, the Olympics, the Super Bowl, that new job, marriage, having children, retirement) but the event itself is over in the blink of an eye.
The adventure isn’t the new road that we now drive on every day, it was the year of preparation, the complaints, the joys, the frustrations. Its almost like the road construction, like that pole vault at the Olympics, is over in a moment.
From my point of view, the journey through life is what that is important. Like the construction of the roadway, its all in the preparation. That preparation is life.
We watched the crews and learned a bit about how roads are made. We marveled at the machines that took up half a block. We laughed at what seemed to be complete folly, as the street was scraped, paved, cut, filled, and then scraped and paved again. And we cried a bit when cars backed into open ditches and had to be pulled out.
Today the crews have moved on to another neighborhood to start all over again. Today life continues. Lunch with a friend, frustration with a broken sprinkler, a cut that takes forever to heal, damn Microsoft, Verizon becomes Frontier and service sucks. Like my street, just more weaves in life’s rich tapestry.