The sfpark model can help santiago de chile better manage demand for its existing parking supply to achieve its goals.
parking is a universal transportation and quality of life issue in cities around the world. simply stated, sfpark aims to make it easy to find a parking space. in this demonstration of a parking-based approach to congestion management, the city of san francisco uses demand-responsive pricing and better information about where parking is available, including real-time occupancy data from on-street spaces and city parking garages, to help reduce peak period car trips, double parking, and circling while searching for parking.
the sfpark demonstration project covers eight areas in central san francisco with major transit corridors and heavy traffic volumes, covering about 7,000 metered on-street parking spaces as well as 12,250 parking spaces in 14 municipal parking garages.
as parking availability and price influence when people chose whether or not to make a trip by car, sfpark reduces circling and double parking by making parking more available and encourages people to shift how they make trips. using these strategies and a dynamic approach to project management, sfpark is expected to reduce congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, and collisions, while improving transit speed and reliability, economic vitality, livability, public safety, and driver convenience.
Parking is a major concern in San Francisco and consistently ranks as one of the city’s biggest quality of life issues. SFpark’s challenge is to make parking easier, more efficient, and more equitable.
Out-dated parking management technology and strategies have made parking difficult. Historically, San Francisco managed paid parking much like it is managed in most other North American cities. Parking rates and fines were used to achieve turnover goals as well as to increase revenues to balance budgets. Rate setting was not tied to achieving transportation policy goals, and rates at on-street meters were the same regardless of demand. On-street meter rates were lower than those at municipal garages, giving drivers an incentive to circle to find on-street parking.
For drivers, this system has made parking difficult to find. Drivers contribute to congestion as they circle for parking, causing safety issues for other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians, wasting time and fuel, increasing greenhouse gas emissions, and limiting the efficiency of public transportation. Store owners are often unhappy because it can be difficult for their driving customers to find a place to park. And buses must navigate their way around double-parked cars or drivers waiting to make right or left turns, which slows transit. Consequently, everyone experiences the burden of unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions and less safe, more congested roads.
SFpark is the first comprehensive demonstration of a parking-based approach to congestion management to reduce traffic congestion and transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. SFpark uses innovative technology to generate real-time parking space availability information and conduct demand-responsive pricing.
SFpark adjusts rates based on demand to find the lowest hourly rate possible to achieve the right level of parking availability to make parking easier. Rates for on-street and garage parking are adjusted no more than once a month and in small increments of no more than $0.50 per hour. The goal of these pricing adjustments is to have at least one open parking space on every block at most times and parking garages that rarely fill up.
Additional SFpark features: the web site allows customers to see parking availability and rates before trips; mobile applications to share parking availability and rate information for SFpark garages and on-street parking spaces; a real-time data feed is publicly available so developers can create new apps and visualizations of the data; parking availability information for parking garages is available via a text message; time limits are deemphasized as a way to achieve availability and turnover targets; new, static wayfinding signage throughout the pilot areas direct customers to available parking at nearby SFpark garages; new meters accept credit cards as well as coins, SFMTA parking cards, and payment by phone.
The SFMTA expects the new parking management to have positive impacts on San Francisco, enhancing the economic vitality of pilot areas and the city’s economic competitiveness. Parking meters were first introduced as tools to encourage parking availability and therefore access to business. Improving access, reducing congestion, and reducing time wasted searching for parking are ways that good parking management contributes to an urban area’s economic vitality and competitiveness, as well as quality of life.
By improving parking availability at peak times and improving speed and reliability of public transportation, SFpark may improve customer access to San Francisco’s downtown and neighborhood commercial areas. Greater parking availability will make both driving and transit more predictable mode choices. Reduced congestion will make travel by foot and bicycle less stressful. Combined, these impacts yield higher numbers of potential consumers in commercial districts, as well as enable more people to reach employment centers. Additionally, improved parking management will help to change perceptions in the regional about how difficult, or easy, it is to park in San Francisco, helping to attract people who previously may have once avoided certain areas.
SFpark meters accept credit card and allow users to pay by phone. By making it easy to pay, people are more likely to pay at the meter, which makes meter rates (and therefore pricing) more relevant and means fewer parking citation
Good parking management matters because it helps to address many issues, whether related to transportation, sustainability, economic vitality, or quality of life. We believe that to the extent that the right level of parking availability is achieved, everyone wins.
SFpark improves quality of life for city residents and visitors alike by increasing the availability and predictability of parking and freeing the roads from circling drivers. Drivers are less frustrated as parking is more available. Consumers are able to better access businesses, supporting local economy. Businesses, in turn, improve their bottom line and access by suppliers and shippers. For the nearly one-third of San Francisco households that don’t own an automobile, SFpark improves the reliability and speed of public transit. By reducing congestion, the many visitors who walk, drive, cycle or take public transit in and around the city will find it easier and safer to explore and enjoy San Francisco.
As a new approach to parking management, SFpark can reduce greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously making parking more convenient. Approximately half of San Francisco’s greenhouse gas emissions are transportation-related. Less congestion and circling and improved Muni efficiency mean less pollution.
SFpark relies on creating the right level of parking availability so that drivers can quickly and easily find a space either on-street or off-street in a garage or lot. In doing so, SFpark reduces the time it takes to find a parking space, creating fewer unnecessary miles behind the wheel. Parking is more expensive at peak times, encouraging some people to either make non-essential trips at non-peak times or to use a different travel mode altogether, both of which can help to reduce congestion and emissions. Less congested streets also help traffic and transit to flow more smoothly, which in itself also helps to reduce emissions.