Anchored by its landmark 12-story clock tower on Pershing Road, Chicago’s Central Manufacturing District (CMD) was the first planned manufacturing district in the United States. Today, it stands largely empty. The site has myriad advantages – like its central location, solid construction, nearby rail connections, proximity to expressways, and robust fiber optic capacity – that gives it the potential to help bring a manufacturing renaissance to Chicago.
Stalled Out: How Empty Parking Spaces Diminish Neighborhood Affordability explores the relationship between unused parking and neighborhood affordability. Many cities, including Chicago, mandate the minimum number of parking spaces new developments need to build. As the report points out, however, these minimum requirements don’t always reflect real demand.
For this study, we interviewed multifamily developers in Chicago and went to the parking lots and garages of 40 apartment buildings, both market-rate and subsidized, to see how much parking was being used. Researchers went at 4:00 a.m., when most tenants have parked their cars and are asleep in bed. Consistent with our findings in the San Francisco Bay Area; Washington, D.C.; and King County, Washington, the study found that:
The supply of parking exceeds demand. Buildings offered two spots for every three units. According to our analysis, they only used one for every three.
As parking supply goes up, much of it sits empty. Apartments with fewer spaces saw a greater percentage of their parking used.
Apartment buildings near frequent transit need less parking. Buildings within ten minutes of a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) train stop provided one spot for every two units. Even then, one-third of the spots sat empty.
Jonathan Rogers, Dan Emerine, Peter Haas, David Jackson, Peter Kauffmann, Rick Rybeck, Ryan Westrom
January 27, 2016
The District Department of Transportation and the District of Columbia Office of Planning recently led a research effort to understand how parking utilization in multi-family residential buildings is related to neighborhood and building characteristics. Prior research has shown that overbuilding of residential parking leads to increased automobile ownership, vehicle miles traveled, and congestion. Parking availability can affect travel mode choices and decrease the use of transportation alternatives. In addition, zoning regulations requiring parking supplies that exceed demand can increase housing costs and inhibit the development of mixed-use, mixed-income, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods. The primary research goal is to develop an empirical model for parking utilization in Washington, D.C. and to apply the model to an interactive, web-based tool, named ParkRight DC, to support and guide parking supply decisions. A transparent, data driven process for parking supply decisions may help relieve problems associated with over- or under-supply of parking.
This paper outlines the data collection, model development process, functionality of the resulting tool, and findings on key relationships and policy implications. The model and associated tool relies on local information reflecting residential development and auto ownership patterns drawn from a survey of multi-family residential parking use at 115 buildings covering approximately 20,000 dwelling units in the District. The resulting model achieved an R-square of 0.835, which is a very strong model given the complexity of the relationship being researched.
This paper combines detailed travel-survey, transit-service, and land-use data to estimate a model for predicting the role of income and location efficiency in reducing household vehicle-miles traveled (VMT). The research then applies this model to census data collected in the most transit-rich areas of California. The research finds strong justification for California’s current support of location-efficient affordable housing as a strategy to reduce VMT and mitigate climate change.
This working paper was first posted in July 2015. The California Strategic Growth Council commissioned an academic review of the paper in order to consider its use in funding formulas for the allocation of cap and trade funds for the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program. The working paper was revised in response to review comments and reposted on December 16, 2015.
Cook County's hub-and-spoke transit system no longer meets the needs of residents. Filling in the system's gaps will increase access to jobs, shorten commutes, and lower household transportation costs.
We collaborated with the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce on a report supporting greater transit-oriented development (TOD) activity in the Lakeview neighborhood. The paper found the number of households in the neighborhood on the decline, despite millions of dollars in development activity in the 2000s – perhaps because zoning makes TOD practically impossible in most areas. The report also found that while new TOD development has been proposed in the neighborhood, the lack of parking has been a contentious issue even though the rate of car ownership has fallen 6 percent and nearly one-third of Lakeview households own no car at all. We will continue to work with organizations like the Lakeview Chamber to accelerate TOD throughout the Chicago region.
Rail transit anchors downtowns and neighborhoods in communities throughout Chicago’s northern suburbs and across the region, but many of these communities are falling behind in creating mixed-income transit-oriented development. This guidebook offers case studies, policy recommendations, and public participation tools to help suburbs build affordable, accessible housing around transit.
The Chicago region's hub-and-spoke transit system leaves many people stranded in the gaps. About 10% of Cook County's residents live in transit deserts, leaving them with restricted mobility and limited access to all of the region's jobs and amenities.
As more and more regions seek to implement high-occupancy toll or HOT lanes, more and more transit agencies seek knowledge to take advantage of this new infrastructure opportunity. Unfortunately, as is often the case with the rapid diffusion of a new technology, little information is available to guide policy. This research addresses the need for knowledge on the integration of transit with HOT lanes. It first identifies the salient elements of HOT lanes for transit agencies and then systematically compares these features across all 12 HOT lane facilities operating in the United States at the start of 2012. This paper combines a review of the limited literature on HOT lane/transit integration with detailed data collection from functioning projects.
The proliferation of new shared-ride transportation services provides a unique opportunity for transit agencies to reach new markets. Unfortunately, many transit agencies are wary of partnering with private companies. To address these concerns, this research analyzes the usage data from a unique joint carsharing\transit smartcard in Chicago. This work explores the general revenue and ridership impacts of this smartcard before examining the impact of a promotional incentive of a $50 transit credit. The research found that the joint smartcard steadily increased transit ridership and revenue. The research also found that the promotion attracted new cardholders who were more likely to reduce their public transportation use and spending than a non-incentivized group; however, the large numbers attracted by the promotion meant that on aggregate, a year later, the incentivized group still spent more than three times as much on transit as the non-incentivized control group. These findings suggest that strategic partnerships and financial incentives are successful ways to market transit. Furthermore, joint carsharing\transit smartcards represent a specific partnership with a high probability of success.