The Case For Abolishing Parking Tickets

A novel solution to managing parking fines for those found to have overstayed their limit has been proposed by Anam Ardeshiri at the annual Transportation Research Board conference in Washington last month.

Mr Ardeshiri claims that the punishment doesn’t fit the crime for an inadvertent misjudgement of time by minutes, compared with those who intentionally run the gauntlet by exploiting the system by hours. In Arizona, the fine is $32US, (by the by, in NSW this offence attracts a fine of $99AU).

Mr Ardeshiri, a Ph.D. student at Morgan State University, discovered this inequity the hard way. He asked himself this question; “wouldn’t you be willing to pay more per hour to park if it meant you’d never get a ticket?”

According to Emily Badger from the Atlantic Cities, this is how it works.

“You’d pull into a parking spot and swipe your credit card at a meter in exchange for a receipt placed on your windshield. Then when you’re ready to leave, you’d insert the same receipt back into the machine – as you would in many parking garages – and it would debit your account for the precise curb time you used. In this system, the city would get rid of parking time maximums. But spots would grow more expensive by the hour (costing, for example, $2 for the first hour, $4 for the second hour, and so on), providing a strong incentive against people staying forever. And Ardeshiri proposes using dynamic pricing that would make spots even more expensive during peak periods”.

The claim is that the system designed by Mr Ardeshiri would make it possible to eliminate parking tickets all together. It essentially mimics user-pay schemes found around the world such as time-of-day-tolling, CBD congestion charges and “tag on, tag off” integrated transport tickets such as London’s Oyster card.

Ms Badger concedes that it is still entirely possible to game such a system and fears finding a municipal parking authority willing to implement it may be tough. However, the idea puts forward a good case for abolishing parking tickets.

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