Parking Studies (p. 199)
Parking studies are used to evaluate the current supply of parking or to plan for future parking needs. Some parking studies are only concerned with the adequacy of parking for a particular need, such as a shopping mall, office building, or a sports facility. Other studies are designed to evaluate the parking conditions in an area to establish time limits, parking rates, and the need for additional parking. Some studies are used to aid operational analyses in relation to removal or modification of curb parking. Still others are required to evaluate residential parking impacted by encroachment from outside parkers. There are a wide variety of other specialized studies to meet specific needs.
Supply and Demand (p. 400)
Parking supply is merely the number and location of all parking spaces in the study area. The supply is defined by the parking inventory described earlier in this chapter (under inventories). Supply is much easier to quantify than is demand because it is a physical count. Demand, on the other hand, is an estimate of the number of drivers who wish to park in the study area at any given time. Supply is generally constant, although there can be some changes during the day (e.g., tow away zones during peak hours, part-time loading zones, etc.). Demand varies by time. In fact, one of the elements to be defined in the study is the time of peak demand. In some areas there may be multiple peaks because of the differing uses within the study area. A simple example is an office complex. The peak employee accumulation may be by 9:00 A.M., while the peak client or visitor accumulation may be 11:30 A.M. or 2:30 P.M. Deliveries or service personnel may peak at still different times.
Current demand may be estimated in those study areas where supply greatly exceeds demand by merely counting the accumulated vehicles at various times of the day. However, when the demand reaches 85 percent or more of the supply, it may not represent the true demand because there may be additional demand that is not present because of the lack of adequate parking.
User characteristics analyses are made to assist in parking management in an area. Such studies are used in establishing time-limit parking, employee parking, loading zones, etc. Information is obtained on the magnitude of the various segments of the parking demand. In other words, the study is used to project the demand for short-term parking (15 to 20 minutes); for errands at banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc.; for limited parking ( 1 to 2 hours) covering short-term shopping or business appointments; for longer term parking (8 hours or more) for employees in the area.