Chapman's David Porter on Solving University Parking Gridlock


Dr. David Porter was one of the professors tasked with solving Chapman University's parking gridlock. He told an audience at Reason Foundation's annual Reason Weekend what his solution was: Auction off the spaces.

Porter is a professor of economics and mathematics at Chapman University and the Donna and David Janes Endowed Chair in Experimental Economics.

He says that the parking problem is a lot more complicated than letting price solve supply and demand.

"Well, supply and demand [is] not something that is static here. It's throughout the day. So the prices have to change throughout the day," says Porter.

Topics include: Dutch auctions; busy parking time for students; and complaints from faculty.

Approximately 24:00 minutes-long.

Filmed by Alex Manning and Paul Detrick; Edited by Detrick.

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  1. what’s to prevent a predatory capitalist from buying blocks of spaces then artifically jacking the price above the “free market”?

    1. Predatory? Try, GENIUS!

      1. then its ok to raise prices above the free market by manipulating prices by creating a supply shortage?

        1. I don’t even need to ask how fucking stupid you are. You wear it in the open with honor.

          1. aw dang it, I wasn’t done poking it with sharp sticks. Thanks a lot, MLG.

          2. funny fm libtards who know no diff bet free & manipulated markets. typical

            1. I think you’re one of the idiots from the Tiger’s message board 10 years ago when I suggested that the technology existed to auction the tickets for each game. Those jackasses were convinced that: SCALPERS WOULD OUTBID EVERY SINGLE OTHER PERSON FOR EVERY SINGLE SEAT IN THE STADIUM AAAAAAAND TTTTTTTTTTTTHEN EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE PERSONS WHO HAD BEEN OUTBID WOULD PAY A PREMIUM TO GET THE SEATS THEY HAD ALREADY BEEN OUTBID ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

              1. oh, I forgot:

                EVERY SINGLE GAME, EVEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        2. Because he’d be losing money on that? If people buy the spaces at his price, then they are worth that (the market price). If they don’t buy, and go to other places to park, or do something else, then he’ll have to lower prices to the ‘market price’.

          What you’re talking about is someone using arbitrage to extract the correct market value from the spaces, as opposed to some of the spaces being sold under market price.

          1. The auction is set up so that the prices start high, and then reduce in price over time. For someone to buy up all of the spaces, they would have to purchase them near the peak price. If demand for parking was low when the auction price was at it’s height, why would that change later.

            I’m sure the University has a way of limiting the number of spaces an individual can buy. No doubt, the school would prefer to benefit from the revenue, not some “greedy capitalist”.

            1. Highway, sorry for plagiarizing your comments.

              As it is set up now, semester long parking permits are being auctioned off.

    2. Say, that’s a capital idea!

    3. The fed will just print more spaces.

    4. To do that, you’d have to out-bid everyone else. No one is going to pay more in a sale than they were originally willing to bid. Moron.

      1. unless they were absent at the original bidding and were REALLY jonesing for that spot.

    5. That if he charges too much, he’s stuck with a bunch of asphalt that’s useless to him? It’s parking space, not air.

  2. An auction sounds great. Right now we bid for spaces with time, rather than money. That’s why I get to work at 7:45 for a job that doesn’t start until 8:30.

    1. Come join the auto industry – since “The Great Downsizing” LOTS of parking close to the plant!

      Oh wait, never mind. We’re not hiring just yet…:)

      PS And when you’re a management goon like me? Yeah – garage with a spot with YOUR NAME ON IT! SUCK IT, BITCHES HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

      *replaces monocle*

      1. A couple downsides – 1) you generally work in Michigan or Ohio, therefore you generally LIVE in MI or OH.

        I can probably stop right there, eh?

        1. This is all fine but I want to know why THIS isn’t getting more attention. We need to put together a blure ribbon panel to examine the evidence.

          1. Looks like HTML took off with your evidence.

            1. DAMNIT!!!
              One more time without the SF issues.

      2. I thought you management goons now called it “rightsizing”?

        Let me guess, you’re no management goon, you’re really Michael J. Fox sneaking in during the night from the mailroom.

    2. I had a magically ‘A’ pass at Ohio State. I could legally park on top of pedestrians.

      1. Magical ‘A’ pass, that is.

      2. Wouldn’t that be THE Ohio State University?

        1. I worked there. Past tense. I laugh at their pretentious article.

  3. Of course, the real solution is high-speed rail.

    1. I’m fine with high speed rail. I don’t want government-funded high speed rail.

      And oddly enough, someone was a little confused by that right after seeing Atlas Shrugged. But I guess you really do have to read the book for full effect.

      1. You lack vision. Personally, I think the federal government should build networks of pneumatic tubes at every university. Pneumatic tubes for human transport, that is.

        1. Hmm. Tubes, interconnecting various buildings and locations. Needs a catchy name. Any thoughts?

          1. TeleTubey

            Tu-be or not Tu-be





            SWAT (school-wide area tubes)

            FECES (faculty & executive communication excellent system)

            1. Tube Transport Network, initiated by the Tube Service Act (TSA).

          2. Multivac.

        2. Big fan of the pneumatic tubes idea, myself not too long ago. Privately-run substitute for the subway, with one in every basement? Or we could do flyovers (that would be ridiculously fun).

          1. Tubes everywhere. Between homes. Underground. Overground. Through the sea. Tubes, tubes, tubes.

            High-speed tubes for long-distance travel. Cargo tubes. Intertubial networks galore!

  4. Porter to faculty: what a bunch of lazy, whiny fucks you are.

    1. Where you the king George that stuttered or the one that was played by Dumbldore?

  5. It’s somewhat ironic that institutes of higher education can never figure out how to do parking correctly. Are there any universities that don’t have significant, if not extreme, parking problems?

    1. Maybe they should just sell bikes to the students. Those take up much less space. And buslines could go bonanza* with special college discounts. That might help.

      *Yes, I am aware that this is a very weird way of putting things. I also don’t really care.

  6. Ok….well, that’s one way to distribute the parking spaces, but how does it actually solve the parking problem? There will still be more students with vehicles than there will be parking spaces.

    Will the extra money made from the auction be reinvested in order to build more parking lots?

  7. Many universities have the parking gridlock, we need a person like Porter professor.

  8. There’s a way to improve parking by a factor of 200-300%, improve safety and traffic on and around campus, create jobs, generate money for both the university and the local economy, and help the environment: electric golf carts, charging stations and dedicated parking for the same, distributed generation plants, and a campaign to encourage students, their parents, and local business to get in on the idea. They could be purchased, leased, or rented on a short-term basis (literally walk into a parking garage, swipe your ID/ATM card, take one of the carts and go, or do a daily/weekly/semester-long deal). If some students absolutely need to have a car, some savvy investor will build a long-term parking facility in some under-used, low-priced area of town and set up a shuttle.

    There is a retirement community named The Villages just south of Ocala in Florida, where the designers planned on everyone wanting to use golf carts. Just about everyone who lives there has one, they zip around in these customised deals (some even look like classic cars, some have truck beds, some are fully-enclosed with windshield wipers), parking and traffic in and around the community is a breeze, no one cares about gas prices unless they are long-distance travelling (and even then, given that they only use gas to travel, it’s not that big of a deal), most couples have cut back to one car, and it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

    The University of Florida has some 50,000 students, a good portion of which live on campus or right on top of it. The scooter trend of the past few years is dangerous, only works for solo riders (unless you’re nuts), and doesn’t help on shopping trips. If done in conjunction with a well-designed rental/leasing program, we would see a boom to the local economy and a huge improvement in traffic and parking around town.

    In all but the biggest cities, the same logic would apply.

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