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City of Santa Monica: Integrated Parking and Land Use Policy Progress

Like many cities, Santa Monica has ambitious goals when it comes to parking policy:

  • To better balance demand and supply across various off-street and on-street inventories

  • Reduce congestion and CO2 emissions

  • Encourage more sustainable land use patterns

The approach:

  • Enable Dynamic Parking Rates to Expand On-Street Policy Scope: Move away from static rates towards a dynamic pricing approach based on scenario modeling and historical parking data, to improve the balance between off-street and on-street parking

  • Leverage Real-Time Parking Data in Travel Decision Making: Reduce traffic congestion through ease of proper routing and way finding for parking and in turn, reduce CO2 emissions by reducing the time drivers spend on the road for a parking space

  • Utilize Data to Support Sustainable Land Use Decisions: Reduce CO2 emissions through rate changes, and increase the development of open spaces and mixed-use projects to encourage passive and active recreation

Dynamic Parking Rates to Expand On-Street Policy Scope

In July 2017 and July 2018, the City implemented two rounds of parking rate changes across fifteen off-street parking facilities around downtown. Changes were based on a series of scenario modeling using historical parking data; both had proven successful through a before-and-after analysis on key parking performance measures.

With data at the individual facility level, the City was able to identify the nuanced parking behaviors at different parts of downtown.

As a result, instead of adopting a “one size fits all” model or a static rate change schedule with fixed price intervals, the City tailored the rate changes to each facility’s unique demand patterns in each round of rate changes.

Following the rate changes, the City is now well-positioned to expand the policy scope to include on-street parking and beach parking. By better utilizing off-street parking spaces, the City aims to free up more curb spaces for alternative uses, including but not limited to, walking, micro-mobility, dedicated transit services, TNC pick-ups and drop-offs, delivery, and landscaping.

“Smarking’s data analytics platform and services have been critical in our parking policy development process. We use Smarking to track and evaluate every step of the policy change. The ability to understand historical trends and future policy impacts with a wealth of high-resolution data empowers us to keep pace in a rapidly changing mobility ecosystem.”
- Michael Towler, Senior Administrative Analyst, City of Santa Monica

Leverage Real-Time Parking Data to Reduce Congestion & CO2 Emissions

According to the renowned UCLA Research Professor, Donald Shoup, 30% of downtown traffic congestion is due to drivers cruising for a parking spot.

One of the solutions is to reduce traffic congestion through ease of proper routing and way finding for parking and in turn, reduce CO2 emissions by reducing the time drivers spend on the road for a parking space.

Through the robust stream of data flowing into Smarking, the team was able to gather real-time occupancy information and display the spaces available directly onto physical digital signage on a parking structure.

The long-term benefits of this parking guidance solution may include: an increase in customer satisfaction, reduction of traffic congestion, and increase in overall revenue through increased access to the structure.

Additionally, The City of Santa Monica established a Climate Action and Adaptation Plan that aims to reduce total carbon emissions 929,693 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (mtCO2e), equivalent to 4% reduction per year by 2030.

The City planned to achieve this goal via state policies, zero net carbon buildings, zero waste, and sustainable mobility solutions.Smarking performed a TOTO analysis comparing the scenarios of the actual changes in revenue and transactions post-rate change: current condition - table 1, assume no rate change - table 2.