A Goldilocks Gadget: Calculate the “just right” number of parking spaces

King County Right Size Parking CalculatorHow many parking spaces do you need in a given area? And what should it cost to use them? The answers were, apparently, largely the result of professional guestimates.

Now comes a new gadget–that’s my strictly non-technical term–from King County, Washington, which may be a scientific alternative to the old assumption/experience dynamic when it comes to parking planning.

But even the people who came up with The King County Right Size Parking Calculator say it isn’t the definitive answer, just a device to support and guide parking supply and management decisions.

Just how useful is this? You’d have to say very useful indeed because research says that most places actually have more parking spaces than they need, and that is the result of some clearly semi-scientific guesswork which seems to be a fair description of the most commonly used method of working out parking needs. But supply too few spaces and wait for the public frustration to reach your desk in very loud waves.

So we have a Goldilocks Gadget, something to help create the “just right” number of parking spaces.

Developers can use the calculator in project planning; agencies can also plan with it or even work out parking pricing and regulations. It could be a way to adjust rents (if parking is part of the rent) and even track increases, decreases or other changes in parking demand as areas develop and change.