Los Angeles and San Francisco are jumping into variable-rate parking in a big way

Smart parking solutions that have adopted technology are ensuring that parking spaces maintain roughly 85% capacity and rates are assigned in a way that considers supply and demand – brilliant!From Governing…

Using technology to implement roadway pricing has a lot going for it. Approaches such as variable highway tolls can reduce congestion by better managing demand, improving customer service and providing a revenue source for public transit, which in turn takes vehicles off the road.

Now Los Angeles and San Francisco are among the cities taking a similar concept and applying it to make it easier to find a parking space.

LA Express Park, a pilot program that covers a 4.5 square-mile area of downtown, uses technology to match on-street parking prices with demand. Its goal is to ensure that between 10 and 30 percent of the parking spaces on each block are open throughout the day. “Smart meters” and sensors compile occupancy and payment data. Based on that information, a pricing algorithm recommends parking rates for various times of day that are designed to ensure that meters are used but that no area is overly congested.






San Francisco has a longer history with dynamic parking pricing. SFpark began in 2011. It’s in use over a wider swath of the city and also covers city-owned parking garages. Similar to LA Express Park, it aims to achieve a consistent space-occupancy rate of about 85 percent. In some ways, SFpark is more precise. For example, it applies special rates around AT&T Park during Giants baseball games

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