Parking Requirements and Affordable Housing

How can developers of low- and mixed-income housing convince local officials to reduce minimum parking requirements?

Developers of low- and mixed-income housing nationwide often find themselves hamstrung by local requirements for minimum parking allotments. By mandating a minimum amount of parking, local governments often require the production of significantly more parking than residents actually need. This reduces the amount of housing that can be produced on a given site, limits additional amenities that could otherwise be provided and unnecessarily increases the cost of housing.

Quick Facts
-- 22 percent of renting households do not own a car. (2000 Census)

-- Only 31 percent of renting households own more than one car. (2000 Census)

-- Apartment residents own, on average, one vehicle per occupied apartment, less than half the ownership rate for occupied single-family homes. (1997 AHS)

-- 26.5 percent of urban households with incomes below $20,000 a year do not own a car. (2001 NTHS)

The Residential Parking Toolbox – An excellent collection of resources and information from the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California.

Tools for Mixed-Income TOD – A report from the Center for Transit-Oriented Development with a section on parking reductions.

National Household Travel Survey – The 2001 edition of an ongoing survey sampled 26,000 households nationwide.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey – Offers data on vehicle ownership and fuel consumption by income class.

The Metropolitan Travel Survey Archive – Data from 30 metropolitan areas can be downloaded and processed for significant comparisons on a project-by-project basis.

Additional Research
Daily Travel by Persons with Low Income – An inquiry into the travel behavior of low income households, using data from the 1995 National Household Transportation Survey.

Housing Shortage/Parking Surplus – A report from the Transportation and Land-use Coalition examining how changes to minimum parking requirements could eliminate unnecessary parking spots, making additional land available for housing.

Parking Requirement Impacts on Housing Affordability – A report prepared for the Victoria Transport Policy Institute laying out the costs and consequences of parking requirements.

Parking Management: Strategies, Evaluation and Planning - A report addressing specific strategies for creating efficient parking solutions for a range of situations, courtesy of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute.

Reducing Housing Costs by Rethinking Parking Requirements – A report from the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association.

Lave, Charles and Richard Crepeau. 2004. "Travel by Households Without Vehicles," in Travel Mode Special Reports: 1990 NPTS Report Series, Chapter 1, pp. 1-47. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Washington D.C., December 1994.

Pucher, John. 2003. “Socioeconomics of Urban Travel: Evidence from the 2001 NHTS,” Transportation Quarterly, Vol. 57, No. 3 (Summer 2003), pp. 49-77.

Raphael, Steven and Lorien Rice. 2002. Car ownership, employment, and earnings. Journal of Urban Economics, 52 (2002) 109–130.