Auckland demand-based parking price setting
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Brief summary of this reform
Auckland applies a relatively simple demand-based approach to setting its city-owned parking prices.
Auckland Transport conducts regular parking reviews of areas with high parking demand. This may trigger paid parking implementation in areas with only time limits previously. And in existing paid parking areas this review may prompt a price adjustment with the aim of achieving an average of 85% occupancy in peak parking periods.
Why should you care?
This is another case of applying demand-based parking price setting in a relatively low-fuss and simple way.
The use of very clear data-based trigger points to aid decisions on where and when to step up or change parking management is an excellent model for other cities.
The reported lack of controversy (after initial debate) over this pricing approach in Auckland is also striking. At least anecdotally, based on this case and similar ones such as Seattle, Calgary and San Francisco, demand-based parking price-setting seems to succeed at greatly reducing civic unhappiness over on-street parking price adjustments.
Key actor type
orderly parking (usually for wider benefits too)
Auckland Transport (AT)
Is it a model or a warning?
Main parking category
Main parking paradigm shift
City-owned (both on-street and off-street)
Towards park-once-and-walk AND more responsiveness to context/market
Adaptive Parking thrust
P: Price parking in the right ways and with the right rates for each place and time
Goals of the reform
Price reviews in Auckland adjust on-street parking prices up or down "with the goal of maintaining on average 85% occupancy at peak times . An occupancy range of 70-90% is considered an acceptable range . The target parking occupancy rate is not set at 100% because some parking spaces should be available at all times. An occupancy rate of approximately 85% ensures that parking resources are well-used and people can find a park in reasonable proximity to their destination." (AT, 2015)
Impetus (what problem, campaign, opportunity or event prompted action?)
"In 2012, AT completed a review of parking in the city centre and found that the time restrictions were not aligned to the amount of time customers actually wanted to park . The on-street parking was also at capacity for much of the day, which resulted in frustrated customers and increased traffic congestion. The review led to the implementation of a new on-street parking management system called the City Centre Parking Zone (CCPZ)."(AT, 2015)
Detailed description of the reform
Auckland Transport generally reviews parking demand in paid parking areas every three, six or 12 months. Parking price reviews focus on on-street parking and on city-owned off-street parking.
This approach applied initially from 2012 to just the City Centre Parking Zone (CCPZ). However, since 2014 it has applied anywhere in Auckland if conditions warrant it.
Examples of recent parking price reviews in different areas of Auckland can be found at
These include reviews that resulted in various different interventions, such as: increasing prices in existing paid on-street parking areas; extending pricing by creating a paid parking zone in an area that previously had free-of-charge time-limited parking; and splitting paid parking zones so that prices can be adjusted in just part of the previous paid parking zone.
AT has a target of 85% parking occupancy and adjusts prices according to the following formula (AT, 2015):
• When average occupancy is less than 50%, the price will be reduced by up to 25% of the hourly rate with no minimum price.
• When average occupancy is 50-70%, the price will be reduced by up to 15% of the hourly rate.
• When average occupancy is 70-90%, the price will not change.
• When average occupancy is 90-100%, the price will be increased by up to 15% of the hourly rate.
AT also specifies "Parking Intervention Triggers" or "trigger points" in deciding where and when to step up or change parking management controls to manage an increase in demand for parking. Two of these are relevant to price reviews
• In areas that have time restrictions, parking occupancy levels that regularly exceed
85% at peak times trigger a review in which introducing paid parking (without time-limits) is considered.
• In areas that already have paid parking, parking occupancy rates that regularly exceed
85% at peak times trigger a price review in which an increase in parking charges is the main option, as mentioned above (although investment in additional off-street paid parking is sometimes also considered).
Auckland's parking policy also allows for different peak and off-peak prices for areas where there is different parking demand on different days of the week or different times of the day.
AT also considers extending pricing beyond the usual 8am to 6pm period if occupancy levels in an area are found to high later in the evening.
Results or impacts
Anecdotally, the Auckland approach to parking price reviews has been successful. See
I would like to see detailed evaluations of the policy.
One measure of success is the relative lack of fuss or controversy associated with on-street parking management and with parking price reviews.
Sources and acknowledgements
Auckland Transport Parking Strategy, 2015,
Auckland Transport, Parking Reviews,
Paul Barter (June 11, 2018) Every city with "Goldilocks" parking fees, Reinventing Parking,
Paul Barter (January 11, 2019) Auckland: unsung parking reform champ, Reinventing Parking,
Image credit, Auckland Transport,
8 Apr 2021