Study finds searching for parking costs Americans $73 billion a year

(July 13, 2017) KIRKLAND, Wash. — INRIX this week published a major new study combining data from the INRIX Parking database of 100,000 locations across 8,700 cities in more than 100 countries, with results from a recent survey of nearly 18,000 drivers in the U.S., U.K. and Germany, including close to 6,000 across 10 U.S. cities.

With the goal of analyzing and ranking the economic costs of "parking pain" in these markets, INRIX research found that, on average, U.S. drivers spend 17 hours per year searching for parking at a cost of $345 per driver in wasted time, fuel and emissions.

INRIX analyzed the parking market in 10 of the U.S.'s largest cities, and revealed that New York drivers endure the worst challenges. On average, drivers in the Big Apple spend 107 hours per year searching for a parking spot at a cost $2,243 per driver in wasted time, fuel and emissions, amounting to $4.3 billion in costs to the city as a whole.

Los Angeles drivers trailed New York with the most painful parking experience (85 hours - $1,785), followed by San Francisco (83 hours - $1,735), Washington D.C. (65 hours - $1,367), Seattle (58 hours - $1,205), Chicago (56 hours - $1,174), Boston (53 hours - $1,111), Atlanta (50 hours - $1,043), Dallas (48 hours - $995) and Detroit (35 hours - $731).

"Americans spend an incredible $72.7 billion searching for the elusive parking spot," said Bob Pishue, senior economist at INRIX. "Our country's parking pain has widespread impact – on drivers, cities, the economy and the environment. Thankfully, it's a problem that can be improved through education, technology and partnerships."

The INRIX Parking Study surveyed drivers about how much extra time they typically add to a parking transaction to avoid a ticket. In the U.S., drivers add an average of 13 hours per year when they pay for parking. When combined with INRIX Parking rate data, the cost of overpaying for parking amounts to more than $20 billion annually. Drivers in New York City add the most extra time when paying for parking, averaging 96 hours a year, or an extra $896 in parking payments.

In addition, the survey also asked how many parking tickets motorists received annually. New Yorkers and Angelenos once again topped the list, this time with the most parking tickets per year at 1.31 and 1.05 respectively, although the average American gets one every five years. Interestingly, U.S. drivers spend eight times more a year overpaying for parking than they do in parking tickets.

Of the 6,000 U.S. drivers who responded to the survey, an alarming 63% reported they avoided driving to a destination due to the challenge of find parking, dramatically impacting local businesses and economic activity.

Breaking it down further, 39% of respondents avoided shopping destinations because of the lack of parking, 27% didn't drive to airports, 26% skipped leisure/sports activities and 21% avoided commuting to work. A surprising 20% of American motorists surveyed did not drive to the doctor's office or hospital due to parking issues.

Almost two-thirds of Americas drivers (61%) reported they felt stressed trying to find a parking spot, nearly half (42%) missed an appointment, one-in-three (34%) abandoned a trip due to parking problems and one-quarter (23%) experienced road rage.

"The search for parking, overpayments and fines is a $96 billion problem in the U.S.," added Pishue. "To lessen the burden parking pain has on our economy and quality of life, drivers, parking operators and cities must adopt smart parking solutions."

Research Methodology

INRIX combined rate card data from the INRIX Parking database of 100,000 locations across 8,700 cities in 100 countries with survey responses from nearly 18,000 drivers in 30 cities across the U.S., U.K. and Germany. Combining these datasets enabled INRIX Research to calculate the economic cost of three measures of parking pain: parking search, parking overpayment and parking tickets/fines.