Unglamorous but necessary: Finding the right price for campus parking

The complicated balance of pricing and convenience

Effectively managing parking on campus means delicately balancing the needs of the college and those the college serves, write two parking consultants in the Chronicle of Higher Education

Much of the dilemma comes down to finding the right price to charge for parking, David Lieb and John Dorsett argue. Higher prices mean that students and staff will look for alternatives—which may or may not be your goal. Lower prices mean parking spaces on campus may suffer from overcrowding, traffic congestion, and increased risk for drivers and pedestrians.

Dorsett and Lieb offer a few recommendations for regulating parking and transportation:

  • Evaluate the supply and demand of parking on campus. Review the occupancy rates of your parking facilities to identify those that are in highest demand.
  • Implement new parking rates. Then, increase parking fees in high-demand facilities to both raise revenue and nudge some users to go elsewhere, easing demand for parking in that location.
  • Oversell, but carefully. It's okay to distribute more parking passes for a facility than the facility could hold at once, write Dorsett and Lieb. Because all students have different schedules, the facility will never need to hold everyone who has a pass at the same time. However, Dorsett and Lieb acknowledge that you'll need to keep an eye on the facility and update your oversell strategy as necessary (Dorsett and Lieb, Chronicle of Higher Education, 4/2).

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