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Methodology of parking analysis
Abdoulaye Diallo, Jean-Simon Bourdeau, Catherine Morency, and Nicolas Saunier

Abstract: Cities are facing many challenges, in particular in relation to the mobility of people and the structure of land use.
Parking management, which makes the link between land use and transportation, is one of the crucial ways to meet these
challenges. In the Greater Montreal Area, data from origin–destination (OD) surveys is helpful in understanding typical travel
behaviour. This study processes car driver trips from travel surveys to develop vehicle accumulation profiles and derive theo-
retical parking supplies from the observed parking demand, defined as the maximal number of cars parked in an area at a given
time. This research also provides an assessment of the quality of the estimation by comparing the parking supplies derived from
an OD survey to parking supplies estimated from public geographical information systems and field surveys. The paper shows
that parking supply is subject to high variability and highlights that its assessment must take into account regulation data
(obtained from on-street regulation parking signs data) that modulates the availability of the raw parking supply according to
different days and hours of the day.

Key words: transportation, planning, parking, supply, demand, survey.

Résumé : Les villes sont confrontées à de nombreux défis, notamment en ce qui a trait à la mobilité des personnes et à
l’utilisation du sol. La gestion des espaces de stationnement, qui constitue le lien entre l’utilisation du sol et les transports,
demeure l’un des principaux moyens de répondre à ces défis. Dans l’agglomération montréalaise, les résultats des enquêtes
origine–destination (OD) s’avèrent utiles pour comprendre les comportements typiques liés aux déplacements urbains. Dans la
présente étude, une analyse des déplacements des automobilistes à partir des résultats des enquêtes sur les trajets urbains est
faite afin d’élaborer des profils d’accumulation des véhicules et de déterminer les capacités théoriques de stationnement à partir
des besoins en stationnement, définis comme le nombre maximal de voitures pouvant stationner à un endroit et à un moment
donnés. L’étude évalue également la justesse du calcul réalisé en comparant les capacités de stationnement déterminées à partir
de l’enquête OD avec celles obtenues à l’aide des systèmes publics d’information géographique et de relevés réalisés sur le
terrain. Le présent article montre que la capacité de stationnement varie beaucoup et que son évaluation doit tenir compte de
paramètres liés à la réglementation (correspondant aux panneaux de réglementation de stationnement installés dans les rues),
qui fait varier la capacité globale de stationnement selon les heures et les jours. [Traduit par le Rédaction]

Mots-clés : transport, planification, stationnement, capacité, demande, enquête.

Introduction lection and analysis. Also, several authors such as Litman (2013),
The paradox of transportation vehicles is that they are most Mukhija and Shoup (2006), and Guo et al. (2012) have addressed
studied when they are used, i.e., when they are in motion, while the task of determining optimal parking supplies with more flexibil-
they spend most of their time parked. There are several reasons to ity than minimum parking requirements provided by the Parking
that, for example the cost or difficulty to collect or have access to Generation Manual of the ITE (1994); the latter was actually criti-
such data, and the complexity and wide scope of parking studies. cized by Willson (1995) and Shoup (1999).
To address this need, this work illustrates the assessment of Parking users have also been studied. Habib et al. (2012) inves-
parking supply of a given area using data collected in origin- tigate the relationship between parking choice and activity-travel
destination (OD) household surveys. This paper uses a method scheduling behaviour also using the 2008 OD survey data from
developed by Morency et al. (2006) based on vehicle accumulation Montreal (AMT 2009). They show that activity scheduling decisions
profiles (VAP) and proposes two methods to validate the estimates of car drivers are significantly influenced by parking choice (being
of parking supply using data from two types of sources: several reflected in parking type and space availability). Several authors
GIS sources and a field survey. such as Bergman (1991), Badland et al. (2010), Cavaya and Baudouin
(2008), Coates (1997), Darbéra (1999), Engel-Yan and Passmore (2010),
Background Ferguson (2003), Jakle and Sculle (2004), Robert (2008), Willson
In the field of transportation, the phenomenon of parking, al- (1992), and Wilson and Shoup (1990) focus on less tangible areas of
though essential, proves to be one of the least studied. The diver- the parking problem, ranging from the perception of safety or
sity of parking types and the multiple variations of their vocations comfort by the users of parking spaces, the impacts of laws, reg-
contribute to this difficulty. The Institute of Transportation Engi- ulations and parking policies on communities and modal choices.
neers presents several methods of data collection to analyze the Parking management, which is the application of policies and
parking spaces, their usages and their users (ITE 1994). Roess et al. programs, serves the objective to optimize parking resources
(2011) provide a standard textbook approach to parking data col- through various strategies (Litman 2013). The parking policies typ-

Received 2 October 2013. Accepted 19 February 2015.

A. Diallo, J.-S. Bourdeau, C. Morency, and N. Saunier. Department of civil, geological and mining engineering, Polytechnique Montréal, C.P. 6079,
Centre-Ville, Montréal, Québec H3C 3A7, Canada.
Corresponding author: Jean-Simon Bourbeau (e-mail: jean-simon.bourdeau@polymtl.ca).

Can. J. Civ. Eng. 42: 281–285 (2015) dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjce-2013-0458 Published at www.nrcresearchpress.com/cjce on 3 March 2015.
282 Can. J. Civ. Eng. Vol. 42, 2015

ically respond to three distinct and often contradictory objectives: and the parking availability by type (public, private, reserved,
regeneration, restraint, and revenue (Marsden 2006). paid, unpriced, funded).
This work builds upon the research by Morency et al. (2006) who • Surface off-street parking data collection: information is col-
have proposed a methodology to estimate parking supply in var- lected about the areas of parking spaces, the types of parking
ious areas using travel survey data. Their method relies on the available, and the regulation information for the parking.
spatial-temporal monitoring of cars in the region using declared
car driver trips and on declared information on the type of park- The advantage of this method is that it is very accurate and
ing space used at the destination. provides detailed information. However, parking regulation signs
are difficult to collect, because of the large number of signs and
Methodology the large amount of information contained in each. The informa-
tion they provide is nonetheless necessary for the determination
of the actual supply of parking.
Car driver trips observed in the travel survey are sequentially
processed to follow the movement of cars in time and space Data extraction from geographic information system (GIS)
(Morency et al. 2006). The accumulation of vehicles in an area Data are collected in GIS by going (virtually) in every street, alley
follows the principle of arrivals and departures of vehicles. This and other parking spaces available and by identifying any data
allows analyzing the use of parking spaces in a given area during related to the calculation of the parking supply, as done in field
a typical day of the fall period during which the survey was con- surveys. As in field surveys, it is done for both on-street and sur-
ducted. The theoretical parking supply (TPS) of an area is the face off-street parking.
maximum accumulation observed during the day. The advantage of this method is that it is relatively fast and
The validation approach proposed in this work combines sev- cheap. However, the calculation of areas with this method is com-
eral methods, some of which are inspired by well-known tradi-
plex and unreliable.
tional methods (field survey methods, conventional dimensions,
etc.), while others rely on newer tools. For a given area under Estimating the supply from the field data collection
study, it is composed of three steps: The estimation of raw parking supply must be done sepa-
1. Estimate, using car trips from the OD survey, the accumula- rately for on-street and surface off-street parking. The raw on-street
tion of vehicles and the theoretical supply for the area. parking supply is determined by calculating the number of park-
2. Determine, using field survey methods, the raw parking supply ing spaces for each area. The following formula is used:
(theoretical supply without taking into account regulations) and
the actual supply (taking into account the regulation informa- L ⫺ (5b ⫹ 3e ⫹ 15Tc ⫹ 7i)
Nspaces ⫽
tion). a
3. Compare the data obtained in the first two steps to determine
the difference between the actual parking supply and the where L is the average length of the stretch of road (m), b is the
theoretical supply. number of fire hydrants, e is the number of driveways, Tc is the
number of bus stops, i is the number of spaces where there is a
Data sources
strict prohibition of parking, a is the average space (linear) occu-
Direct source: 2008 origin– destination survey of the Montreal pied by a parked car (m).
area The constants used in this formula are the length (in metres) of
Origin–destination surveys are descriptive surveys that aim to street lost by each type of permanent equipment. However, these
provide a picture of the characteristics of individual travel (origin, constants may vary across jurisdictions. The field survey should
destination, modes, trip purposes, etc.) and demographic variables assist in finding appropriate values.
(age, gender, income, etc.) (AMT 2009). Surface off-street parking areas (excluding aisles) are divided by
The 2008 OD survey was conducted during the autumn of 2008, the area required for a vehicle parking and parking manoeuvres.
from 3 September to 18 December (AMT 2009). The parking type The following general formula is used:
classification used in this study follows the OD survey classifica-

关兺 兴
tion. Parking is classified according to the monetary conditions n
linked to it (unpriced, paying or subsidized) and by its location S⫺ (Li li)
(on-street, surface off-street, structured). In this study, all the parking Nspaces ⫽
spaces that are neither on a curb side nor inside a building are
considered as surface off-street.
where S is the area of the parking area (m2), n is the number of
Indirect source: OpenStreetMap, Google Street View, and other aisles, Li is the length of aisle i (m), li is the width of aisle i (m), a is
GIS the average area occupied by a parked car (m2), ␭ is the necessary
Some free services such as OpenStreetMap and Google Street space around the vehicle for parking manoeuvres. The average
View allow access to relevant geographic data. Thus, OpenStreetMap values used for a and a + ␭ in this study are 21 m2 and 25 m2.
was used to find the lengths of streets and area of surface off-street The actual supply of parking is obtained by combining the
parking spaces, while Google Street View was used to manually raw supply and the regulation data for each area.
validate the data obtained from OpenStreetMap.
Data collection methods
The study area
Field survey A central neighbourhood within the Plateau Mont-Royal bor-
Data collection by field survey is made for two types of parking,
ough is taken as a sample, to illustrate the approach. This quad-
on-street and surface off-street parking.
rangle was chosen because it has mixed levels of zoning and types
• On-street parking data collection: all information related to of streets with multiple lanes. The selected area is 1200 m by
parking are noted, among others the lengths of street sections, 650 m. According to data from the OD survey of 2008, it encom-
the number of elements causing parking bans (fire hydrants, passes 2048 households consisting of 3286 people and the number
driveways, etc.), the information provided by regulatory signs, of cars owned by residents is 1190.

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Diallo et al. 283

Table 1. Distribution of capacity occupancy based on parking type in the study area (including the
number of parking spaces).
Types On-street Interior Outdoor Unknown Total
Free 32.8% (607) 10.6% (196) 16.1% (297) 0% 59.4% (1100)
Paying 9.3 % (173) 1.1% (20) 6.9% (127) 0% 17.2% (320)
Subsidized 0% 1.3% (24) 14.5% (266) 0% 15.8% (290)
Unknown 0% 0% 0% 7.5% (140) 7.5% (140)
Total 42.0% (780) 13.0% (240) 37.5% (690) 7.5% (140)

Fig. 1. Vehicle accumulation profiles by type of parking in the study area.

Accumulation profiles and theoretical supply hours. The variations over time of unpriced on-street and unpriced
The theoretical supply derived from the OD survey for the area surface off-street parking can be expected: for example, the peak
is approximately 2783 parking spaces, distributed as follows: in the usage of those two parking types is during shopping hours,
lunch, dinner, and other leisure hours.
• 933 vehicles remained parked all day, on-street;
• 780 on-street parking spaces; Validation of raw supply in the study area
• 240 spaces in parking garages (structured parking);
• 690 surface off-street parking spaces; On-street parking
• 140 parking spaces for which type was not declared (indeter- For on-street parking, the theoretical supply extracted from the
minate). VAP is smaller than the raw supply obtained from the field survey.
This is because, for on-street parking, parking regulations have a
For this zone, the maximum number of cars simultaneously strong influence on the actual supply.
parked is reached at 13h45. The peak of parking for work purpose The observations allowed estimating the raw supply at about
is reached at 10h45, while that for leisure purpose is reached at 4941 parking spaces, from which 3994 were on-street parking spaces.
21h15. The estimated total on-street parking spaces derived from the
Unpriced parking and on-street parking are the most popular OD survey data are considered to be 2053 vehicles. By comparing
parking categories, while work purpose is the reason most cited the two estimations, it can be observed that:
by people as trip purpose, followed by leisure. Table 1 summarizes
the distributions of parking spaces, while Fig. 1 shows the VAP by • In the study area, on-street parking derived from travel survey
type of parking for the study area. The maximum of the VAP in data accounts for approximately 50% of total raw on-street park-
each category is the theoretical parking supply in this category. ing capacities.
Subsidized surface off-street and subsidized structured parking, • The non-mobile on-street vehicles account for about 20% of total
which expand from 6h30 to 18h30, correspond to office working raw parking capacities.

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284 Can. J. Civ. Eng. Vol. 42, 2015

Fig. 2. Variation of the number of unrestricted and reserved parking spaces on the street section under study, by time of the day and day of
the week (note that the number of reserved parking spaces does not depend on the day).

Surface off-street parking The study also shows that regulations are necessary to deter-
The raw supply of surface off-street parking was estimated at mine the amount of on-street parking, since it was found that the
697 parking spaces, while the theoretical supply was estimated on-street parking supply estimated from the OD survey data was
at 690. These results are similar, because parking regulations that equivalent to about half of the raw on-street parking supply mea-
apply to surface off-street parking lots are simpler. sured in the field. In future work, the method will be applied to
other areas to validate the method and develop more robust pro-
The effect of parking regulation on parking supply cesses. This study is a first step in evaluating a method for parking
To evaluate the parking supply variations, caused by parking study. Future work will involve more data collection and integra-
regulations changes, a section of a street was selected for detailed tion, in particular from parking regulations using for example
analysis. The idea is to apply the parking regulation data to the public parking sign databases, to better understand parking sup-
raw supply to determine the supply fluctuations induced by changes ply and its relationship to travel behaviour.
in regulation. The street section under study is a 635 m one-way
street with parking spaces on both sides. Acknowledgements
In general, parking regulations vary according to parking cate- The authors wish to acknowledge the support and contribution
gories (reserved for the residents and unrestricted), the hour, the of the Mobilite Chair partners: City of Montreal, Quebec Ministry
day and the season. The data collected in the field allows us to of transportation, Metropolitan agency of transportation, and
evaluate the raw supply of the studied section at 210 parking spaces. Montreal transit authority. They also wish to acknowledge the
Taking into account regulation, the supply thus varies by category Montreal technical committee of regional travel survey for pro-
of day, hour of the day and parking category and is presented in viding access to data for research purposes.
Fig. 2. The sum of the number of unrestricted and reserved park-
ing spaces is the number of available parking spaces at a given References
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