Mapping the Subtle Science of Parking Demand


The King County Metro Transit agency in the Seattle region, with the help of the Center for Neighborhood Technology and the Urban Land Institute Northwest is trying to measure exactly which factors dictate residential parking demand around the region, in downtown Seattle, in urban neighborhoods, in the suburbs and even farther out. The result of their efforts is this Right Size Parking Calculator web application that can estimate parking demand down to a single parcel of land. This web tool enables developers or curious residents to change the specifications on a particular parcel such as adjust the rent, the square footage and the number of units, as well as other characteristics about the neighborhood, and track how parking demand changes as a result.

Above  map is based on a model developed through a painstaking survey of 220 representative multifamily buildings from across seattle region and they found that on average, these buildings were supplying about 1.4 parking stalls per housing unit; residents were only using about 1 stall per unit. And that oversupply extended across the region, from the central business district to urban neighborhoods to the suburbs. The project also collected information from each of these buildings on how the parking was priced, how the rental units were priced, and whether those two costs were bundled together. All of that information from this building survey was then used, alongside data on land use, demographics, job locations, and transit to hone a model capable of estimating the parking demand on a given property, accounting for factors like its proximity to transit and the price of parking relative to rent.

Further, this tool would be useful for developers  when planning a project, but also that local governments might consider this data in updating their parking regulations.  This enables  information on transit access and ensures livable communities.

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