Wasn’t it cheaper to park here yesterday?

Punch line: Airlines have priced dynamically for years — raising or lowering prices depending on how fast a flight’s seats are selling.

Some sports teams have started charging different prices depending on the  day-of-week and and drawing power of the opposing team.

Coke was busted in some locales for electronically jacking up prices when dispensing machines were running low on inventory.

Now, some cities are using high tech meters to dynamically change parking prices.

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Excerpted from NYT: A Meter So Expensive, It Creates Parking Spots

As much as a third of the traffic in some areas has been attributed to drivers circling as they hunt for spaces … causing  lost time, polluted air and illegal parking.

In his 2005 book, “The High Cost of Free Parking”, Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at UCLA advocated dynamic pricing of metered parking spots — finding the lowest price a city can charge and still have one or two vacant spaces available on every block.

San Francisco is putting the theory to test.

San Fran is using new technology and the law of supply and demand, raising the price of parking on the city’s most crowded blocks and lowering it on its emptiest blocks.

San Francisco installed high tech parking sensors and new meters at roughly a quarter of its 26,800 metered spots to track when and where cars are parked.

And beginning last summer, the city began tweaking its prices up and down and shortening (or lengthening) time limits — trying to to leave each block with at least one available spot all the time.

Eventually, the metes may charge different prices at different times of the day.

“We only need a few people to see there is a price difference and choose to park in a different location to open up just a few spaces here and there.”

But raising prices is rarely popular … and the program was “complicated on the social equity level” since high parking prices can shut out poorer parkers. 

Thanks to JF for feeding the lead.

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One Response to “Wasn’t it cheaper to park here yesterday?”

  1. Anthony Lazaro Says:

    It makes complete sense to utilize dynamic pricing for parking meters (varying demand, expiring assets) but unlike the private sector, the public sector does need to be worried about social implications of its policies.

    Could this shift the demographic of visitors entering the marketplace? Perhaps…. just another data point to think about.

    As I like to say, pricing strategy needs to reflect overall corporate strategy.

    Overall, I am fascinated with looking at these new revenue models as we see meters evolve (even wrote a post about it too a few months ago: http://wp.me/p1tPc3-5I) but the stickiness of the solution will depend on how it impacts neighborhoods, not just the added $$.

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