Demand management programs help to reduce the need for parking by encouraging motorists to walk, bicycle, carpool or ride transit. In many cases, developers can be given credit for a commitment to these programs through appropriate reductions in minimum parking requirements. Alternatively, some measures could be required for projects in certain locations or over a certain size.
Specific demand management measures include:
Charging for parking helps cover the substantial costs of parking provision. Various North American studies (see Table P-2 and sources, below) indicate that parking pricing has reduced employee parking demand by 15 to 40 percent, depending on location and monthly cost. In residential developments, the cost of parking can be separated (“unbundled”) from rents and sale prices, again encouraging households to own fewer vehicles. Parking requirements can therefore be reduced substantially for developments that commit to charging for parking (or offering comparable alternatives, such as parking “cash out”), for example through a development agreement. Residential Permit Parking – common in many Marin County towns and cities – or similar programs are a pre-requisite, in order to prevent users simply parking elsewhere to avoid charges.
Car-sharing provides households with access to a fleet of shared vehicles, allowing them to avoid owning a car, or a second or third car. According to the Transportation Research Board, each car-sharing vehicle takes nearly 15 private cars off the road, as members of car-sharing programs sell or give up their vehicles. This allows parking requirements to be reduced accordingly in developments that incorporate car-sharing. Such reductions are common in cities with car-sharing programs, such as Seattle and San Francisco, and may help spur the program to expand to Marin. See Tool P-10: Car Sharing for more detail.
EcoPass Programs, which involve the bulk purchase of transit passes by employers or property managers, for free provision to employees, students or residents. EcoPass programs in Santa Clara County, for example, have reduced vehicle trips to work among participants by 19%. Although Marin Transit and Golden Gate Transit do not currently offer EcoPasses, they plan to honor the TransLink universal fare card in 2007, which may offer an opportunity for some kind of program similar to the EcoPass Program. Marin Transit currently accepts discount bus tickets for adults and convenience tickets for youth.
Many towns and cities in Marin County, such as Novato, already require bicycle parking at new developments. A further step may be to allow bicycle parking to substitute for a portion of required automobile parking, as is currently done in Palo Alto.
Other TDM Programs
Other measures that reduce parking demand include shower and changing facilities for cyclists (already required by Novato), Guaranteed Ride Home programs, and carpool matching programs.