Mikhail Chester, Assistant Professor, Civil, Environmental, and Sustainable Engineering, Arizona State University
Andrew Fraser, Graduate Student, Civil, Environmental, and Sustainable Engineering, Arizona State University
Juan Matute, Associate Director, Lewis Center and Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California Los Angeles
Carolyn Flower, Undergraduate Researcher, Civil, Environmental, and Sustainable Engineering, Arizona State University
Ram Pendyala, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

All Spaces
Residential offstreet, nonresidential offstreet and all space (offstreet and onstreet) changes in density from 1950 to 2010.
Click on the residential, nonresidential, and all spaces thumbnails for respective high resolution animations.

Many cities have adopted minimum parking requirements but we have relatively poor information about how parking infrastructure has grown. We estimate how parking has grown in Los Angeles County from 1900 to 2010 and how parking infrastructure evolves, affects urban form, and relates to changes in automobile travel, using building and roadway growth models. We find that since 1975 the ratio of residential offstreet parking spaces to automobiles in Los Angeles County is close to 1.0 and the greatest density of parking spaces is in the urban core while most new growth in parking occurs outside of the core. 14% of incorporated land in Los Angeles County is committed to parking. Uncertainty in our space inventory is attributed to our building growth model, onstreet space length, and the assumption that parking spaces were created as per the requirements.

The continued use of minimum parking requirements is likely to encourage automobile use at a time when metropolitan areas are actively seeking to manage congestion and increase transit use, biking, and walking. Widely discussed ways to reform parking policies may be less than effective if planners do not consider the remaining incentives to auto use created by the existing parking infrastructure. Planners should encourage the conversion of existing parking facilities to alternative uses.


Mikhail Chester, Andrew Fraser, Juan Matute, Carolyn Flower, and Ram Pendyala
Parking Infrastructure: A Constraint on or Opportunity for Urban Redevelopment? A Study of Los Angeles County Parking Supply and Growth
Journal of the American Planning Association, 2015, 81(4), pp. 268-286, doi: 10.1080/01944363.2015.1092879

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County and Census Tract data are available in Microsoft Excel (XLSX) format. Please cite the publication when using the data.