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Incentivize shifting away from drive-alone commutes by increasing the flexibility of parking contracts

By receiving meaningful savings on parking expenses, commuters can be more motivated to explore alternative modes of transportation.

Photo of Jason VanFickell
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The typical daily rates for parking downtown remain too high to provide regular commuters who make smaller modal shifts any savings over monthly contracts. Smartphone based apps such as SpotHero and ParkWhiz already facilitate convenient on-demand parking on a daily basis without the overhead of issuing physical access cards. Potential integration with existing wireless toll tags have the potential to make these even more seamless. Excess parking capacity already remains unused on non-peak days for implementing a variety of potential alternatives on a subset of existing parking inventory. 1) Offer discounted monthly parking permits on a non-guaranteed basis to commuters willing to shift to alternative modes on higher demand days. 2) Offer variable rate parking based on daily demand in order to incentivize shifting away from drive-alone commutes on more congested days without completely preventing access. 3) Offer rebates to monthly parking contract holders who choose to give up their space during high demand days. 4) Offer discounted multi-day parking passes which would provide a savings over the existing daily rates as long as parking is not used every weekday.


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Photo of Ahmad Shreidi

Hey Jason thank you for your contribution to the Explore phase of the City:One Challenge Austin. Every contribution provides valuable insights into what mobility currently looks like for Austin.

Your idea was incredibly thought out and creative. Can you tell me more about what your daily experience is like with parking? Do you use the apps you mentioned? I'd love to keep the conversation going.

I encourage you to return for the Propose stage starting September 10th to propose your ideas.

Photo of Jason VanFickell

The only parking app that I had experience using was SpotHero. The process for entering and exiting off-street parking using the app was fairly simple. Being able to reserve a parking spot in advance also removed the uncertainty of having to search for a space that was not already full.

Unfortunately, I found that the daily rates were rather high in proportion to the monthly rates. The daily rates were typically between 7% and 15% of the monthly rate for the same locations. This would mean that on average, a weekday commuter would need to shift to a modal split of at least 50-50 just to break even on parking expenses when compared with the monthly rate.

In addition to the higher proportional costs, I found that many of these parking locations would also not include in/out privileges at the daily rate. This would have prevented me from leaving work during the middle of the day to go to an appointment without paying for parking a second time.

Although I was willing to accept these limitations, I would imagine that many other commuters would not be interested in accepting these restrictions.

Photo of Ahmad Shreidi

This is great feedback and exactly what we are looking for during this phase. These are issues that impact your day, your spending, and your workweek. Thank you for contributing to the conversation.