You’ve probably noticed it is a hot topic recently, yet we feel it is not always clear why car parking is important. Let’s look at the numbers, as we believe they hold the key to tackle the problem once and for all. Read on for more.

“Why car parking is important” might sound like a weird angle to give to an article in 2017. After all, even if you have just parked a car once in your life, you are probably fully aware of how painful of a process car parking is. And there are certainly few apps out there that attempt to make car parking more effortless to some extent.

Yet there are three specific aspects we’d like to go through that should really help clarify why car parking is important and why there’s a whole lot more to do.

Why Car Parking Is Important To The Single Driver

Car parking literally steals the most valuable asset each single individual has: time.

There are few researches that estimate the amount of time we spend looking for an available parking space. Of course, this is highly dependent on where you are. For example, this research estimates that in Lyon and Paris (France), people spend an average of 10 to 12 minutes looking for a parking space. Another research conducted in UK estimates that the average time spent to find a parking space is 7 minutes, yet there is high variability. In some areas in London, the wasted time could grow to 20 minutes. 20 minutes is also the estimate given by Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue of Hofstra University (New York), author of the book The Geography Of Transport Systems.

To put this in perspective, even if we take one of the more optimistic estimates (say 10 minutes), and consider a driver that parks her car few times a month (say 5 times), it all adds up to 600 minutes a year. That is 10 hours every year wasted looking for a car parking space.

Why Car Parking Is Important To The Communities

Car parking is an additional source of traffic and pollution.

The main reference for this argument is a paper by Prof. Donald Shoup of UCLA (you can read an abstract article here). It is a source widely cited in the industry, as it estimates that 30% of the traffic in US cities is due to cars looking for a parking space. 30% is now an estimate of the impact of car parking on city traffic used also when talking about other cities, particularly in Europe.

And of course, more traffic means more pollution. While you are circling around looking for an available parking spot, your car’s CO2 emissions are higher than they would be if you could just drive to your spot and move on to what’s next in your day. In France, for example, it is estimated that car parking accounts for about 14% of the Greenhouse Gas emitted every year.

Why Car Parking Is Important To Parking Owners

Car parking is highly inefficient, and this has a negative impact even on the people who own the parking spaces.

Suppose you are the owner of a parking space. Have you ever thought at how long you are using it during the day? Or the year? And what do you do with it when you don’t use it?

Even in this case, different researches attempted to anchor the problem to numbers. There seem to be a general consensus that in Europe there are approximately 2 parking spaces built per every 1 passenger car (for example, check this analysis by Frost&Sullivan). The key point is that it’s not the parking spaces we are missing.

To go back to the example above. You own a car parking space. You drive to work every day, or you travel to your summer cottage during the weekend. And your parking space is available for all those hours, while perhaps somebody is circling in the area around it for 20 minutes to find somewhere she can park.

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