“Right-sizing” parking for a new project, thankfully, is a data-driven, scientific process. As a result, planning decisions can be made with confidence and accuracy.
Studies produced by governmental entities (US Environmental Protection Agency) and by leading professional organizations (Urban Land Institute; American Planning Association; National Parking Association; International Parking Institute) serve as reliable guides to developers, their design teams, and city planning staff in determining the parking needs and requirements of new projects.
These widely accepted studies are not “wisdom frozen in time.” These agencies and organizations gather and review data on a continuous basis, and update their recommendations at regular intervals to reflect changing trends and realities in parking.
With the blessing of the ITE (Institute of Transportation Engineers) the latest studies now examine parking as a component part of transportation and mobility. Modern trends (younger people not pursuing or delaying acquisition of driver’s licenses; millennials relying on transportation options other than personal car ownership—e.g., Uber and Lyft; Car2Go; traditional car rental; public transportation; biking and walking) –especially in compact cities—are figuring into current parking analyses. Bottom line: parking demand is trending downward.
Environmentalists also bring a voice to the conversation. Excessive parking is a poor and costly use of scarce land resources, results in unused parking fields and structures (which, in turn, compound problems of impervious coverage), and typifies environmentally damaging sprawl.