Today, INRIX Research released a new study to provide insights into one of the most frustrating areas for drivers: parking. “The Impact of Parking Pain in US, UK and Germany” combines the largest parking dataset available with a new, nearly 18,000-strong driver survey across 30 major cities in three countries to estimate the economic cost of searching for parking, overpayments and fines. To provide even more insight into drivers’ parking pains, we also looked at how parking problems affect drivers’ economic and driving activity.
Our research found the total economic impact of parking pain is more than $96 billion nationwide. Across the pond, parking pain costs drivers in the U.K. £30 billion a year and drivers in Germany €45 billion.
Drivers in New York City have it the toughest out of all cities studied, wasting 107 hours per year searching for that coveted spot – equating to over $2,200 in time, fuel and emissions per driver. Drivers in Los Angeles and San Francisco have it nearly as rough, with 85 and 83 hours spent searching for parking, respectively. By far, the largest parking pain was the search for parking, with a nationwide economic impact of $72.7 billion in lost time, fuel and carbon emissions.
While many would-be drivers may opt to switch to other modes if they expect parking problems, like transit, biking or ridesharing, others are likely to avoid the trip altogether. Trip avoidance may lead shoppers, for example, to shy away from local shops and toward online offerings, impacting the local economy. In fact, 34% of U.S. respondents reported giving up on reaching their destination within the past year due to problems finding parking. And as nationwide vehicle miles-traveled continues to grow, the public may continue to experience parking pains all else being equal.
Thankfully, though – other factors, like real-time availability, in-vehicle parking technology and smarter parking meters, are beginning to ease some of these driver pains.
Though many drivers rely on real-time traffic information to get to their destination quicker, drivers have largely left technology out of the tail end of the trip: parking. Survey results show that just seven percent of U.S. drivers are currently using real-time parking technology – yet 84% would like to use, or would love to use, this feature. Armed with real-time information, city officials, lot operators and drivers could work together to ensure that both on-street and off-street parking facilities are being efficiently managed. Transportation planners could also anticipate changes in driver behavior that hinges on parking availability.
Survey respondents in the U.S. show a strong reaction to changes in parking availability. While 73% of survey respondents said they would be more likely to drive or much more likely to drive if they knew parking was available, a relatively large 48% of respondents said they would be less likely or a lot less likely to drive if they knew parking was not available.
Circling the block looking for parking increases congestion, adds to longer parking search times and wastes fuel, negatively impacting the local economy. Yet adoption of new real-time technologies will allow city officials and drivers to cut down on negative externalities while promoting a more efficient use of current parking inventories. Easing parking pains may also translate to increased patronage of malls, shopping centers and small businesses working to compete with a tough e-commerce market.
While autonomous vehicles hold promise to eliminate many parking pains years from now, automakers, parking managers and drivers are beginning to realize the benefits from real-time information to improve the driving experience and reduce parking pains.