Transit-Based Smart Parking in the San Francisco Bay Area, California: Assessment of User Demand and Behavioral Effects

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - capacity, infrastructure - station, planning - surveys, planning - signage/information, ridership - demand, policy - parking, technology - passenger information, mode - rail, literature review - literature review


Traveler information and communication systems, Travel behavior, Smart parking, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District, San Francisco Bay Area, Reserved paid parking, Real time information, Rail transit stations, Passenger information, Parking demand, Parking capacity, Parking availability, Parking, Literature surveys, Literature reviews


This paper presents early findings from an application of advanced parking technologies to increase effective parking capacity at a transit station during the first half of 2004 in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. It begins with an extensive review of the literature related to transit-based smart parking management systems to illustrate the range of system configurations and their potential travel, economic, and environmental effects. Two important conclusions from this review are that the lack of parking spaces at transit stations may be a significant constraint to transit use and that pretrip information and perhaps en route information on parking availability at transit stations may increase transit use. A survey of commuters at the Rockridge Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station was implemented to gain insight into parking information needs, the travel effects of a new monthly paid parking program, and the potential travel effects of a smart parking service. First, it was found that a potential market existed for a daily paid parking information service among current and new riders with relatively high incomes, high automobile availability, and variable work locations and schedules. Second, the current monthly reserved paid parking service might have increased the frequency of BART use among subscribers, but it might not have reduced net auto travel for two reasons: subscribers appear to have switched to BART for their main commute mode from carpool, bus, and bike modes; and subscribers might have increased their use of the drive-alone mode to access the BART station.