Three mindsets on parking pared to their basic assumptions

Today, I want to highlight a key point from my June 4th talk in Bogotá (the talk that was mentioned in the previous post).

[scroll down to see the whole presentation, via SlideShare]

The presentation had two parts.

The second part shared my views on some key parking policy choices, chosen for their current relevance in Bogotá. For more on that, see the slideshow below.

The first part discussed the three drastically different parking policy 'paradigms', which is what I want to talk about now.

Wait! You thought there were only two main parking approaches? Think again.

The matrix above sums up the basis of my "three paradigms" point. It is my latest attempt to be clear about the key distinctions between these three paradigms.  You can see previous efforts, hereherehere and here.

I am asserting that these two questions capture the key distinctions between the three main ways to do parking policy. So changing how we do parking policy requires changing how we THINK about parking.  

Notice that parking is "infrastructure"* in BOTH the much-maligned but ever-popular "conventional suburban" approach (with its excessive minimum parking requirements) AND its main rival, the "parking management" mindset (in which parking is actively managed for various policy goals especially in busy parts of older inner-city areas).

But these two mindsets differ over whether to see parking as a site-by-site thing or as something that serves a whole neighbourhood.

Both "market-oriented" approaches (like Shoupista thinking and Adaptive Parking proposals) and "parking management" see parking spaces as serving neighbourhoods, not specific sites.

Only "market-oriented" thinking sees parking as a "real-estate based service" (like meeting rooms or basic dining spaces) rather than "infrastructure".

The box at the bottom left is empty because it is hard to imagine treating parking as a (potentially commercial) real-estate based service while also insisting that a site's parking demand must be met by its own on-site supply and vice versa. This may sometimes happen but there is no parking policy paradigm based on this.

If these comments seem perplexing, I would encourage you to follow the links. Most will send you to my previous posts on this issue, which provide more detail. And the Bogotá presentation itself might also help a little.

Here is the whole presentation (via slideshare).  If you can't see it, then you can find a downloadable version here

What do you think?

*  'Infrastructure' is actually a rather fuzzy and poorly defined term. But I am using it anyway. It captures the idea of physical facilities requiring significant investment and which are believed to require strong government intervention and planning, so that their provision cannot be left to markets.


  1. My opinion about topic :
    - city should not be car-parking provider; it's a job for private investors;
    - there should not be parking minimums for real-state;
    - parking prices should be burdened with some kind of Pigou's tax because of negative externalities they produce in form of noisy, stinky and dangerous car traffic.
    Does my concept fall into your 3rd paradigm?

    1. Yes indeed Zmau. Your views sound very much like the "market-oriented" approach (also called 'Responsive" approach. Similar to Prof Donald Shoup's ideas.

      For a more detailed and updated explanation of parking policy categories, see

      Many thanks for the comment.

  2. Well yeas I totally agree with the post and these three mindset’s that you have mention are very accurate. Thank you so much for the post. Keep posting and keep growing.


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