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City of Aspen Reduces Congestion and Peak Occupancy Through Data-Driven Policy

Updated: Feb 11, 2020

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The challenge

The City of Aspen's static pricing structure did not account for the extreme demand fluctuation during on-peak season. Peak occupancy was 50% during off-peak and 100% during the busy summer period. As demand swelled during the summer, residents and tourists encountered frustrating traffic congestion and difficulty finding open parking spaces.


  • Keep parking prices low in off street facilities and periphery zones to incentivize parkers

  • Implement a Drive-Less ad campaign and measure the impact

  • Promote the use of We-Cycle, a shared city bike program

  • Increase parking prices by 50% during the peak summer season and use the incremental revenue to fund a free door-to-door, on demand electric shuttle service

Results at a glance

  • Peak occupancy decreased by 12.5%

  • Revenue increased by 26.1%

  • Parking turnover and commuting increased

  • Visitors and residents spent less time looking for parking

  • More vehicles parked in off-street facilities and in the periphery

Aspen and Smarking partnered to study the seasonal swings in demand and to identify policy solutions. After onboarding the City of Aspen’s meter and mobile payments data onto the Smarking BI system, the fluctuation in demand per season became apparent.

Using data visualizations, Mitch Osur, Director of Parking at the City of Aspen, initiated a 3 month parking demand management pilot to help manage the intense demand in the core and distribute parker’s overall available inventory.

The general strategy was to increase prices in the core and use the incremental revenue to fund alternative transportation methods.

By using the data visualizations generated by Smarking, Mitch was able clearly illustrate to interested stakeholders that the policy action in place was designed to promote the growth of a healthy, sustainable, and thriving downtown core.

“Smarking gives us the ability to measure and graphically display - with data - the exact results of our programs and initiatives. With Smarking, it became significantly easier to communicate to the public, city council, and the media what our city’s goals are and why we took the action we did.”
Mitch Osur, Parking Director, The City of Aspen, CO

Measuring results

Using the Smarking system, the City of Aspen was able to carefully track and measure the results of the program against the stated goals:

Goal: Decrease peak occupancy by 10%.

Results: Peak occupancy decreased by 12.5%.

Goal: Increase core parking revenue by 25% to fund alternative travel programs and a drive less campaign.