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Project Type
UTRC Faculty Development Mini-grants
Project Dates
01/01/2013 - 05/31/2014
Principal Investigators
Project Status

Local governments in the United States adopt the minimum street width requirement which is wide enough to provide one or two parking lanes on residential streets, making it a de facto parking policy. Such a parking mandate produces wide residential streets with a large amount (between 740 million and 1.5 billion) of free parking spaces, costing trillions of dollars of extra investments in roads, while encouraging urban sprawl, reducing the water infiltration rate, increasing the heat island effect, degrading ecosystems, increasing the cost of infrastructure and housing, encouraging dependency on automobiles, and contributing to increasing congestion, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Despite all the externalities, the rationale of the parking mandate in street standards remains largely undefined. Our preliminary research suggests that technical or safety concerns (fire, traffic, accidents, emergent vehicles, etc.) are unlikely to be the true motivation of the policy. Another explanation might be that residents like street parking and therefore are willing to pay for it. This viewpoint is partly supported by the fact that many residents choose to park on streets when have multiple options, and/or use garages for storage purposes. Although sufficient willingness to pay (WTP) is not an excuse to justify (and the lack of WTP is not an excuse to invalidate) government intervention, a clear depiction of WTP could help evaluate street standards as a parking policy.

If WTP exceeds the cost of providing street parking, the parking mandate in street standards may represent an efficient government regulation in the parking market, while the deregulation of street parking mandate (as seen in private communities) may lead to market failure (under-supply of street parking). As such, the parking mandate should be sustained. However, if WTP is less than the cost of street parking provision, this parking mandate may represent the excessive government regulation that forces developers to over-supply and residents to over-consume parking, which distorts both the housing and parking markets. If this is the case, street parking should be unbundled from street standards and become optional to residential developments.

This proposed research is a follow-up of the earlier work and will quantify the WTP through direct surveys of residents in Las Vegas. The targeted survey pool is 6,000 households randomly selected from all households in Las Vegas. Both contingent valuation (CV) and stated preference (SP) methods will be used to capture the WTP. Discrete choice models and interval regression will be used to understand the determinants of WTP for residential street parking.