2017 Semifinalist
City of Los Angeles, CA
January 1, 2017

For years, economists have advocated that parking rates for on-street meters should be set by the demand for those spaces, arguing that on-street parking spaces required an investment by the government and provided value to the public, particularly to the retail merchants. Because of the high cost of gathering demand data and the limits of parking meter technology, very little had been done to demonstrate these theories prior to the start of this century. By 2005, two important technical developments converged to make it possible to do large-scale testing of these theories: new technology parking meters provided real-time payment data and vehicle sensors provided accurate parking space occupancy data. In 2007, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority received a $212 million grant from the United States Department of Transportation as a part of the national Congestion Reduction Demonstration initiative. The city of Los Angeles received $15 million from the grant to fund LA Express Park, an intelligent parking management system for the downtown area, with an additional $3.5 million budgeted by the city for this project. While infrastructure was being installed to support the project, the city engaged city council offices, business improvement districts, neighborhood councils, and other community groups to share details of the pilot and get feedback on how to best tailor policy to meet the needs of citizens. LA Express Park differs from other similar smart parking programs in several significant ways, including a contiguous project area, a more rigorous pricing algorithm, and its policy to make price changes in larger increments. Initiated as a one-year demonstration project, it has proved to be so successful that it is now part of the ongoing operations of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

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