ULI has launched a first-of-its-kind central resource cataloging innovative parking policy reforms intended to promote more efficient use of land and creation of healthier neighborhoods.

Though cities across the United States and beyond have long required new developments to provide a set number of off-street parking spots, research shows that these requirements can lead to an oversupply of parking.

ULI’s searchable, filterable database, titled “Parking Policy Innovations in the United States,” allows users to access information on more than 50 policies from cities across the United States. It is complemented by five fact sheets that detail various elements of reforms, including how these reforms influence real estate development projects, transportation choices, and goals related to social equity, affordable housing, livability, and city finances. ULI will periodically update the database and provide opportunities for users to suggest policies for potential inclusion.

“U.S. cities have struggled for a long time to balance parking supply and demand but are now updating policies to better manage their parking inventories,” says Matt Norris, director of the Institute’s Building Healthy Places Initiative. “The centralized resource that ULI has created will be helpful to real estate and land use professionals, in both the public sector and private sectors, to learn from best practices across the country and encourage more efficient parking solutions.”

Parking policy reforms highlighted in the database include eliminating minimum parking requirements for development projects, enabling developments and businesses to share parking facilities, and using technology solutions to efficiently manage the supply of on-street parking.

“These types of reforms have been shown to reduce traffic and associated emissions,” says Norris. They can also free up resources for cities to invest in transit and other infrastructure and can lead to lower real estate development costs—meaning more profitable projects and opportunities to support housing affordability.”

Users of the interactive database will be able to sort policies by year or location and can also filter results by the lead agency responsible for the policy. Policies can also be sorted according to “applicability”—whether a policy applies citywide, near transit, or in specific districts, for instance—well as policy type. These policy types include

  • reduction/elimination of parking minimums;
  • parking maximums/caps;
  • shared parking;
  • unbundled parking;
  • transportation demand management;
  • in-lieu fee;
  • demand/performance-based pricing; and
  • parking benefit district.

ULI’s research highlights several trends that have influenced parking reforms, including:

  • Historically high construction costs—particularly in dense urban areas—are contributing to housing unaffordability, especially when the high costs of building on-site parking are factored in.
  • Changing shopping preferences, along with an oversupply of retail businesses, are leaving acres of vacant parking lots at shopping malls and retail power centers.
  • The popularity of human-powered transportation, such as walking and bicycling, and the growth of delivery services and the availability of shared mobility services are reducing the need for individuals to own cars and park them.
  • Advances in technology are promoting more efficient management of the existing parking supply through information technology that shares the location of available spaces, supports real-time dynamic pricing, and helps make use of shared parking options easier.
  • At the same time as municipalities are increasing their focus on sustainability, livability, and social equity, a growing body of research shows that many current parking requirements promote development patterns that worsen traffic congestion, contribute to air pollution, raise housing costs, prevent walkability, and penalize those without automobiles.

To view ULI’s centralized resource of parking policy innovations in the United States, visit Knowledge Finder.