Parking is a point of contention in communities across Metro Boston, and a matter of great importance to the region's housing, transportation, and economic future. Yet many deliberations about the topic occur in the absence of hard data about the amount ofparking that is actually utilized. Parking requirements for new housing developments tend to rely more on precedent, neighborhood concerns, and instinct than they do empirical analysis. While some municipalities are taking data-driven approaches to parking management in their downtowns, few have yet to take a systematic approach to creating demand-based parking requirements for multifamily residential developments. A demand-based parking approach uses field observations and statistical models about likely parking demand as the basis for determiningoff-street parking requirements, and uses parking policy as a tool to discourage vehicle ownership and reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in highly transit-accessible and walkable locations.
The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) has begun an initiative to develop the data and tools that communities need to establish informed, sustainable, and economical parking policies. This report summarizes Phase 1 of that effort, which entailed field surveys of 80 multifamily residential developments to measure actual parking utilization, and statistical modeling of the results to assess what neighborhood and building factors are associated with parking demand. Phase 1 was limited to five municipalities north of Boston: Arlington, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, and Melrose. Future phases of the work will include data collection in additional parts of the region, refinement of the parking demand model, and creation of digital tools to support community decision-making.
A full set of resources including a dataset and infographics are available here: http://perfectfitparking.mapc.org/