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Research Projects

STATUS: Complete YEAR: 2018 TOPIC AREA: Public transit, land use, and urban mobility Transportation planning, policy, and finance CENTER: PSR

The Opportunity Cost of Parking Requirements: Would Silicon Valley Be Richer if its Parking Requirements were Lower?

Project Summary

Project number: PSR-18-32
Funding source: Caltrans
Contract number: 65A0674 TO 011
Funding amount: $82,257
Performance period: 2/1/2019 to 1/31/2020

Project description

We estimate the off-street parking supply of the seven most economically productive cities in Santa Clara County, California, better known as Silicon Valley. Using assessor data, municipal zoning data, and visual inspection with aerial imagery, we estimate that about 14 percent of the land area in these cities is devoted to parking, and that over half the average commercial parcel is parking space. This latter fact suggests that minimum parking requirements, if binding, could depress Silicon Valley's commercial and industrial densities, and thus its productivity. In an exploratory empirical exercise, we simulate a reduction in parking requirements from the year 2000 forward, and show that under conservative assumptions the region could have added space for an additional 12,886 jobs, which is 43 percent of the actual job growth that occurred during that time. These additional jobs would be disproportionately located in the region's highest-wage zip codes, further implying a large productivity gain.

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Michael Manville
Associate Professor of Urban Planning
5284 Public Affairs
UCLA LuskinLos Angeles, CA 90095-1656
United States
[email protected]