Every Car Park Counts: What Australia Can Learn From Our Car-Centric Counterparts in the US


We require our cities to be built with a lot of parking. In America there are approximately eight parking spots for every car, covering up to 30% of American cities. 

Australian requirements are not dissimilar from our US counterparts - with statutory requirements for off-street parking, in-lieu fees for developers and parking requirements that dictate how many car parks are necessary “per person" - the rules that manage our parking influence and shape our urban landscapes.

Parking requirements often result in more parking space than building space, pushing buildings further apart from each other, making it harder to walk and encouraging people to drive.

Donald Shoup from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs explains, “Many of the dense cities that we love like Paris, Amsterdam or New York wouldn’t look like this with parking requirements. These arbitrary rules continue to shape the growth of our cities and increase traffic congestion.”

In the video below, Will Chilton and Paul Mackie of Mobility Lab describe why hidden parking rules hurt US cities: 

As Shoup remind us, we still pay for "free" parking: 

“We pay for [the] free parking that we demand in every role we have in life other than as a driver. As a taxpayer, as a resident, as a shopper - and just because you pay nothing to park at the grocery store, doesn’t mean the cost goes away”

“We have a terrific opportunity to convert underused parking lots into housing where people want to live.”

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