Commuter Parking Versus Transit-Oriented Development: Evaluation Methodology

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - station, land use - transit oriented development, land use - planning, policy - parking, economics - appraisal/evaluation, place - urban, mode - rail, mode - mass transit, mode - subway/metro, mode - car


Urban planning, Transportation policy, Transit oriented development, Transit operating agencies, Transit lines, Transit, Town planning, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District, San Francisco (California), Ridership, Railroad commuter service, Rail transit stations, Rail transit, Public transit lines, Public transit, Patronage (Transit ridership), Parking places, Parking lots, Parking garages, Parking facilities, Parking areas, Metropolitan area planning, Mass transit lines, Mass transit, Local transit, Land use planning, Decision making, Commuters, Commuter rail, Community planning, City planning, Case studies, Car parks


Transit agencies face a tension between providing commuter parking at rail stations and encouraging transit-oriented development (TOD) on the land the parking occupies. This paper describes a multiobjective model designed to facilitate decision making about TOD and commuter parking. The model, developed by the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) in California to facilitate station planning and development, examines ridership impacts, fiscal impacts, and qualitative factors. The analysis shows the conditions under which positive ridership and fiscal outcomes occur if BART deviates from its practice of requiring one-to-one replacement of commuter parking. Using the MacArthur and San Leandro stations as case studies, the analysis reveals the substantial opportunity cost of retaining transit agency land in surface parking as well as the sensitivity of results to local conditions and policy. The spreadsheet-based methodology is adaptable to a wide variety of situations. The paper concludes with observations about how this model affected perceptions and policy deliberations of transit agency staff and elected officials.