The cost of parking in America

During the 2012 Intertraffic conference, the American based National Parking Association released their fourth annual Parking in America report. The study measures monthly, daily and hourly rates in cities throughout the United States and Canada, including parking facilities in hospitals, hotels, educational institutions and airports. It also documents rate trends in downtown parking areas and among institutional parking owners and operators.

According to the NPA’s press release and executive summary, the survey found that in 2011, the average price of a premium downtown space across North America increased by 4.5%, from US$15.92 per day to US$16.64. This is a rebound from the 2010 study which showed a 20% decline in rates. At the same time, the average price of the least expensive space in these markets has risen from US$8.48 per day to US$12.57.

The average cost of a premium reserved monthly space dropped for a second straight year from $240 to $199—after a decline in 2010 from $281 to $240. This suggests continued downward pressure on long term parking contracts post-recession. The cost of the least expensive monthly spaces increased from $142 to $166. Overall, 38% of CBD facilities raised rates, with a 40% increase over 2010, whilst 29% held rates steady and another 29% lowered prices.

Across sectors, Airport On-site operators have faired the best as 50% reported increased revenues, consistent with increasing demand for air travel. CBD on-street parking also fared well, with 46% reporting increased revenues and only 19% experiencing decreases. Only 31% of hospital parking facilities reported revenue increases, with 22% reporting decreases.

Interestingly, one key trend that shows consistency is the narrowing of the gap between the least expensive rates and the most expensive rates. The reduction in top rates reflects the decline in the American economy. Compared to Australian rates, however, the rates are very inexpensive – no doubt a reflection of the attachment to the car and the huge volume of parking spaces in the US.

The full results from the survey can be found on the National Parking Association’s website here.

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