Experts discuss parking infrastructure at Transport Futures Mobility Pricing Stakeholder Forum

Item date: 
January 11, 2012
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This is the best media summary of the Transport Futures conference that took place on November 22nd.

By KELLY LAPOINTE

Parking infrastructure, a rarely talked about subject, got a day in the spotlight at a recent conference.

The Transport Futures Mobility Pricing Stakeholder Forum was the sixth discussion since 2008 about the role of mobility pricing in solving Ontario’s ongoing transport challenges.

Parking professional Dennis Burns of Phoenix-based Kimley-Horn and Associates pointed to a UCLA study which found that drivers searching for curb parking in just one fifteen-block district in Los Angeles over a period of one year drove an extra 950,000 miles and produced 730 tons of carbon dioxide.

Burns looked at how technology can be used to make parking better and eliminate people spending time looking for parking. In San Francisco, SFpark collects and distributes real-time information about parking availability which is available online or through on app for smartphones. Parking prices are incrementally raised or lowered in SFpark pilot areas based on demand and parking meters accept credit and debit cards.

“People plan for seeing their family or going to the hockey game, but they don’t ever plan for where they’re going to park until the moment they get there. If you can get people information before and they’re willing to take that information, then that would be make their trip much shorter and then you could reduce congestion and also raise revenue and you never get a citation, you never get a parking ticket,” said Martin Collier, founder and organizer of Transport Futures.

An ongoing discussion at the conference has looked at the congestion charge system in cities like London or Stockholm which if drivers stay outside the city it’s free, but drivers pay if they go inside a special zone. Singapore is going the next step where every road is going to be priced with a GPS-based system.

Jens Schade, of Dresden University of Technology, Traffic and Transportation Psychology, said people like things to stay relatively the same and favour the status quo. But experience suggests that there is a switch in that attitude once measures are in place...