Suggested Citation: Rodier, Caroline J. and Susan A. Shaheen (2005) Transit-Based Smart Parking: Early Field Test Results. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-05-15
Smart parking management technologies may provide a cost-effective tool to address near-term parking constraints at transit stations. Smart parking management systems have been implemented in numerous European, British, and Japanese cities to more efficiently use parking capacity at transit stations by providing real-time information via variable message signs to motorists about available parking spaces in park-and-ride lots. This paper describes the results of initial focus groups and surveys of participants in a smart parking field operational test, which was launched at a San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) District station in Oakland, California on December 8, 2004. Insights into the project's travel effects are gained from an analysis of participant travel behavior before they started using the service. The results indicate that the project is attracting new (14 percent) and infrequent BART commuters (25 percent). While some participants may drive further (two miles on average) to access the Rockridge BART station, where the field test is based, the magnitude of this increase is unlikely to off-set total auto travel reductions (an average of 18 miles) due to shifts from auto to BART for commute trips. Thus, it appears that the smart parking project is getting cars off the road during peak periods and onto transit.