Parking Policy Is Hot Thanks To Donald Shoup



Donald Curran Shoup is a distinguished research professor of urban planning at UCLA, and a Georgist economist, he studied at Yale  ” Cities have established Parking Benefit Districts in commercial areas but have not yet done so in residential neighborhoods. Most on-street parking spaces are in residential neighborhoods, however, and the greatest opportunity for public improvement may lie in these neighborhoods. ( see chapter 51 ) ” 

Originally focused on public finance and land value tax theory, in 1975 Shoup was inspired by a master’s thesis that found that Los Angeles County employees were almost twice as likely to drive alone than federal employees in the Los Angeles Civic Center due to the availability of free parking.[9] Shoup has extensively studied parking as a key link between transportation and land use, with important consequences for cities, the economy, and the environment. In a 2004 paper titled The ideal source of local public revenue, Shoup argued for the application of Georgist tax theory to urban parking and transportation issues.[10]

Shoup popularized the theory that an 85% occupancy rate of on-street parking spaces would be the most efficient use of public parking.[11] When cars at any given destination in a city (a block or group of blocks) occupy more than 85% of on-street parking spaces, then cars arriving at that destination are forced to circle the block for a few minutes in order to find an unoccupied parking space. This small search time per car creates a surprisingly large amount of traffic congestion because, typically, many cars are searching for parking simultaneously during peak driving times. This wastes time and fuel and increases air pollution. Shoup calls this phenomenon of excess driving resulting from under-priced parking “cruising for parking”.

His research on employer-paid parking led to the passage of California’s parking cash-out law, and to changes in the Internal Revenue Code to encourage parking cash out. His research on municipal parking policies has led cities to charge fair market prices for curb parking and to dedicate the resulting meter revenue to finance added public services in the metered districts.

Shoup’s attempts to turn theory into practice have, on occasion, led to controversy.[12]

Shoup is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and has served as Director of the Institute of Transportation Studies and as Chair of the Department of Urban Planning at UCLA. He has served as a visiting scholar at the University of Hawaii, Cambridge University, and the World Bank [8]