Replay: Chapman's David Porter on Solving University Parking Gridlock


Original release date: May 4, 2011

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. The problem with congestion pricing is that it assumes there are readily available alternatives. If everyone were out driving or parking at 8 am and 5 pm for entertainment value, then congestion pricing would work marvelously. But of course we are not out there doing that for fun. We are doing it because we have to work.

    To put it in economic terms, the demand for peak parking and peak driving is pretty inelastic. Yeah, some people can change their hours or car pool or whatever, but not enough to make a dent in the congestion. So when you have congestion pricing under those circumstances, it just ends up being a tax. The congestion doesn’t go away and everyone, sans the government, ends up being poorer.

    1. Where I attended college the university sold parking spaces on a semester by semester basis. If you didn’t get one, you could park at the mall and ride the bus. The mall couldn’t (or wouldn’t) tow those who were using their parking becuase they couldn’t be sure that they weren’t legitimate shoopers (either that or it wasn’t worth it to them to pay some security officer to patrol the parking lot to make sure). Parking was a serious issue for students who commuted (this was before online classes or “oputreach” campuses which are both good solutions to the problems of commuter students).

      1. Parking sucks for college students. And for the most part it is unavoidable. Maybe there is good reason to charge for the spots based on congestion. Perhaps it is better that those who have the money to pay get the spots rather than those who are there early. But don’t pretend that congestion parking “solves the problem”. The only way to solve the problem is to lessen the need for parking or increase the supply.

    2. #@%&!”outreach”.

  2. Most universities built facilities with tuition, and alumni funds. It bothers me to pay twice

  3. The problem, as I see it, is that American students are too rich. They all have their own personal cars? Well I never.

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