Transportation & Vehicle Safety Policy

Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



Parking is an important, though often neglected, element of the urban transportation system. It plays a key role in mode choice and travel behavior, consumes a large amount of urban and suburban land, and has significant direct and indirect impacts on the environment. Policies that establish amounts and costs of parking are usually made solely by local governments, but often have regional impacts. In addition, parking policies can conflict with other transportation policies that attempt to reduce congestion or increase the use of transit or ridesharing.

This report reviews parking policies at both the regional and local government levels. It indicates the potential for parking policies to further goals of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), evaluates the extent to which current regional plans and transportation demand management (TDM) programs incorporate parking, reviews parking requirements in Midwestern cities, and compares these requirements to estimates of parking demand. Shared parking and flexible parking ordinances are described as ways to better coordinate parking demand and supply. In addition, the report illustrates the potential quantitative benefit of shared parking using Midwestern parking requirements and a hypothetical mixed-use development.

Research for this project was carried out at the University of Iowa Public Policy Center. Funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program, with matching funds provided by the Iowa Department of Transportation.

This project has benefited greatly from the guidance of a four-member project advisory committee. The committee helped to focus issues to be addressed, and its members shared their insights throughout the research process.


Copyright © John G. Shaw 1997