This article was cross-posted from City Observatory.
How much does it cost to park a car in different cities around the nation?
Today, we’re presenting some new data on a surprisingly under-measured aspect of cities and the cost of living: how much it costs to park a car in different cities. There are regular comparisons of rents and housing costs between cities. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports on regional price variations among states. But the price of parking falls into a kind of unlit corner of the statistical world.
Parking is central to the operation of our automobile dominated transportation system. There are more than 260 million cars and trucks in the United States, and most cars sit parked about 95 percent of the time.
While we have copious data about cars—the number registered, the number of gallons of gasoline they burn (over 140 billion), the number of miles they travel (over 3 trillion)—we actually know precious little about the scale of the nation’s parking system.The best estimates suggest that there are somewhere between 722 million and more than 2 billion parking spaces in the United States.