To Build or Not to Build: Parking Supply, Demand, and Autonomous Vehicles

March, 2020

David Lieb

Universities almost universally experience the perception (and sometimes, the reality) of a shortage of parking. The supply/demand equation is seldom as straightforward as it appears. This session focuses on data-driven transportation and parking decisions. If a garage is needed, should the future of autonomous vehicles be considered as a factor?

Many campuses have also been able to extend the sufficiency of existing parking by introducing demand-side management strategies.

Many college and university campuses, as they grow, develop, evolve, densify, and fill, find their parking and transportation systems facing increasing pressures. The campus community often demands a parking structure—certain that it will solve all the parking problems (usually, they also want cheaper or no-fee parking as well). These desires are  directly at odds with the realities of a campus parking auxiliary operation.

Fortunately, it is also often the case that the parking supply (in aggregate) is adequate to meet campus demand. Using the existing parking is a challenge that requires managing the supply more closely and allocating parking more intentionally. Many campuses have also been able to extend the sufficiency of existing parking by introducing demand-side management strategies with innovative programs that cost less than constructing, financing, and operating a parking structure.

Sometimes, however, the parking shortages are real and/or there are access challenges that need to be met with parking supply—often in the form of a garage. The future of autonomous vehicles is hotly debated, with wildly ambitious projections on one side, deeply skeptical ones on the other, and a whole spectrum in between. 

Quite reasonably, this gives pause to many institutions examining the possibilities of constructing additional parking. This session will discuss some of the key ways in which campuses can make rational decisions that respect current demands and an uncertain future. While this session focuses on experiences on higher education campuses, it is applicable to healthcare and business campuses, as well.

This seminar at PIE will provide the following:


Learning outcomes:

• Make data-driven decisions about parking supply and demand.

• Understand the balance between supply-management techniques and demand management interventions.

• Examine parking solutions for today and an uncertain future.

The seminar is scheduled for 12:45 on Monday March 23. For a listing of all PIE events log on to pieshow.parkingtoday.com.