Sizing up the US parking industry

America’s National Parking Association conducted a research study to determine the general size, scope, segmentation, employment and distribution of its nation’s parking industry.

Entitled Parking in Perspective: The Size and Scope of Parking in America, the study found that the parking industry has 13,010 parking facilities, generates more than $8.2 billion in revenue and employs more than 125,000 people.

However this is just the tip of the iceberg. The study excludes any revenue generated by the thousands of facilities where parking is considered ‘ancillary’, therefore the total value of the industry could be greater than $18 billion with an estimated employment reach exceeding 143,000.

An important finding of the 2011 study was that during tough economic conditions parking rates have “largely held steady”. Whilst this doesn’t go as far as suggesting the industry is recession-proof, it compares favourably with other travel and transportation sectors such as aviation.

Understandably, California and New York make up a large portion of the industry, accounting for 1/3 of total facilities nationwide. New York has the distinction of accommodating the highest concentration of employees (by total and per capita), and along with San Francisco and Philadelphia, it boasts the highest CBD parking rates in the country.

While this study is one of the most detailed we have seen, due to the wide range of industry segments (resulting in fragmented data sets) there is no single source for comprehensive market data on the entire industry today. It’s a good start, but it looks like more research is required!

The report is available to members of the NPA on their website:

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