Free on-street parking and road spaces that are only for cars are the norm in the majority of the world. These policies encourage driving, which increases traffic congestion, and restricts access to a minority of the world’s people who own cars.
Reducing private car use not only requires improvements in public transit, cycling, and walking facilities, but also better management of private car use. Traffic management solutions to regulate parking and ensure that motorists pay for the privilege of driving and parking in city centers have the greatest potential to reduce traffic congestion. By encouraging a shift to transit, cycling, or walking, cities can reduce CO2 emissions and air pollution, increase public transit ridership, and enjoy safer and more livable urban environments, with less time wasted sitting in traffic.
Parking reform encompasses all of the options to regulate and price parking in cities, which reduces congestion and makes more space for people and transit. Congestion pricing, which involves charging a fee to drivers entering the city center during peak hours, has been used effectively to manage driving demand in Singapore, London, Hong Kong and Stockholm, among other cities.
Parking regulations that effectively limit free parking and charge fees based on demand help ensure that motorists absorb the full costs of their choice to drive. These measures produce dramatic results. These include sharp cuts to congestion, a boost to the reliability and speed of public transportation, reductions in air pollution and energy use, and a source of revenue for cities and public transit agencies.
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