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* We know office buildings cost a lot, parking are is often bigger than the floor area of the building it serves, shouldn't be surprising parking costs a lot.
* Considering curbside parking + off-street parking, land and capital devoted to parking may exceed the land devoted to travel. (Certainly true on most of my streets, with two lanes of parking and one lane of travel.)
* Mark Delucchi of UC Davis has the biggest evaluation of the total cost of vehicle use in the US, including monetary and non-monetary (pollution) costs. For 1990 he estimated the total annualized capital and operating cost of off-street parking at $79-226 billion/year. A lot lower than the end of my previous post but perhaps curbside parking outnumbers off-street.
* He notes most parking costs are bundled with other goods; drivers pay 1-4% directly.
* Estimated the cost of roads (including curb parking) at $98-177 billion. Comparable to his off-street parking lot estimate; total of $177-403 is still a lot less than the $720 billion I had. Though that's 1990 to 2002; $1990 GDP was only $6 trillion.

(EDIT: I should read endnotes before finishing these posts. Shoup notes that Delucchi's estimation of the amount of parking spaces was very very conservative, with 1.06 non-residential off-street parking space per car as his *high* estimate. A different estimate had 4.5x that number.)

* A 36 foot wide residential street might have 2 10-foot travel lanes and 2 8-foot parking lanes; parking is 44% of the road use.
* US Dept. of Commerce estimates roads are 36% of all state and local public infrastructure, a category including schools, sewers, water, parks...
* Parked vehicles don't pay gas taxes, a major funding source for roads.
* Subsidy for off-street parking was 1.2-3.7% of GDP, and 4-11 cents a mile, vs. a driving cost (oil, tires, maintenance) of 8 cents a mile. 1990 dollars, again.
* Removing the subsidies would affect driving like increasing the gas tax between $1.27-3.74 a gallon. That's 2002 dollars.
* Commerce estimates for 1997: $5507 capital value per vehicle (they cost more up front, but depreciate), $6542 capital value of road per vehicle (including lots of cheap crappy rural roads) (construction value only, not land value). Also, 208 million vehicles; my 160m was low.
* If there's 3 spaces per car, and only $4000 per space (lowballing it, given the previous chapter), that's $12,000 of parking per car. More than twice the value of the cars...
* 1997 parking receipts were $6.6 billion, vs. $90 billion in fuel tax, vehicle tax, and tolls.
* We can also compare new costs: average cost of a 2001 car is $21,440, vs. $15-30,000 for parking spaces.
* Free parking at work reduces the cost of auto commuting by 71%. At $127/month -- a perfectly reasonable estimate for gargage parking -- and 22 workdays, that's $5.77/day in parking subsidy if the employee doesn't have to pay it. Compare to transit costs of $4-5 day for expensive systems. (Granted, transit is subsidized too.)
* Average of 1.3 gallons gasoline per commute, so subsidy is like $4.44 per gallon. Removing subsidy would probably have more effect than raising the gas tax; more expensive gas -> buying more efficient cars.
* Parking cost is constant given the length of a trip, so free parking encourages more short trips.
* Model studies suggest parking fees would be at least as effective as congestion tolls in reducing congestion (and speeding up buses.)
* It's technologically a lot simpler to charge for parking than to charge for congested driving, especially if you don't have freeway or bridge bottlenecks for toll gates.
* In 2001 the amortized cost of owning and operating a car was $4.38 a day. Compare to any reasonable gut estimate of fair parking fees...
* Total area to park cars, at 3 spaces per car, but excluding maneuvering space, would be 4950 square miles or the size of Connecticut. (230e6 vehicles * 200 foot2/space * 3 spaces).

* So, parking has huge costs, comparable to or bigger than the cost of buying and running vehicles, building the roads, or both combined. But drivers hardly every pay the cost directly. Which means we're all paying it, through higher prices for things.

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Damien Sullivan
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