The fairness of parking fines

For those of our readers unfamiliar with the work of APC keynote speaker Donald Shoup, he published this week an article in the Los Angeles Times entitled ‘Parking-fine fairness’. The article talks about a proposed ‘graduated’ system of parking fines – charting higher fines for repeated parking offenses.

Shoup states that most cities use parking fines as a means to both control parking regulations and increase revenues for city services. He cites a current example from Los Angeles, where, facing a budget crisis, the local municipality has made the decision to raise all parking fines by $5 across the board – suggesting, in his opinion, that the increase is more about raising funds than enforcing the law.

Prof. Shoup claims that cities can enforce the law, raise money, and not charge most drivers any additional costs, through the use of graduated parking fines, which are lenient to drivers with only a few infringements but punitive for those who incur a large number of tickets – providing a way to deter chronic violators without unfairly punishing everyone else.

At Parking Consultants International, we agree with this innovative, yet firmly based in simple logic, approach (just like all good ideas). With the significant advancements in parking technology and monitoring over the past five years, the potential benefits far outweigh the cost of implementing such a system. Urban planners and city councils out there – we would suggest that it may be worthwhile examining your data and exploring the introduction of a graduated system of parking fines.

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