SF set to become first US city to price all metered parking based on demand

“Surge pricing could be coming to every parking meter in San Francisco in 2018 under a plan being considered by the Municipal Transportation Agency.” The proposal calls for all the city’s meters to be subject to surge pricing. Dynamic pricing, also referred to surge pricing or demand pricing, is a strategy in which flexible prices are set for products/services based on current market demands. “The practice is already in use at about 7,000 of the city’s metered parking spaces, as well as in all of its garages.”

A 2014 study led by a UC Santa Cruz professor found that San Francisco’s previous efforts to match the price of public parking with real-time demand had led to a drastic reduction in cruising for spots. Fewer people will be circling the block looking for a spot helping to alleviate congestion. Hank Willson, policy manager at the Municipal Transportation Agency states, “If you get into parking faster, it means you’re driving less, you’re emitting fewer pollutants, you’re less likely to just go somewhere else, and there’s less distracted driving, and you’ll come back.”

“Demand-based parking rates are the offspring of a three-year federally funded program called SFpark that ended in 2014.” This proved that the city could significantly increase the availability of parking by adjusting rates as needed. Under the proposal, hourly meter rates would be set by block based on demand during three-time frames: 9am to noon, noon to 3pm, and 3pm to 6pm or later. MTA will use the data collected from the meters to determine the turnover and how many spaces are available. “The target, Willson said, is to have one or two spaces per block always available. If this plan moves ahead, San Francisco would become the first U.S. city to have citywide demand-based parking rates.

Click here to read more