The City of Boston conducted a performance parking pilot in 2017 with the goal of improving the parking experience, lowering congestion, increasing road safety, and generally learning how to implement a performance parking program.
The objective of the price changes was to encourage other modes of transportation as well as encourage parking on blocks that were consistently underutilized, freeing up 1 to 2 spaces on block faces consistently at capacity. The desired effect was limiting the added Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) caused by vehicles circling for available parking and decreasing double parking caused by ride hailing and delivery services. Parking occupancy was measured using sensor technology mounted to parking meters and extracting data from Boston’s parking payment vendors.
The pilot was executed in two downtown neighborhoods, Seaport, with block-by-block dynamic prices, and Back Bay, managed as a zone. Boston’s approach in the Seaport neighborhood was to introduce dynamic pricing by block face (the portion of a street between two other streets), increasing or decreasing prices by 50 cent increments, until demand left 1 to 2 spaces per block available throughout the day. Prices were capped at $4 an hour and the lowest fee was $1 an hour. The Seaport neighborhood prices were adjusted every 2 months between January 2017 and December 2017. The Back Bay neighborhood meters were changed uniformly as a zone from $1.25 to $3.75 and remained that price during the pilot.
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