Do parking standards matter? Evaluating the London parking reform with a matched-pair approach

Fei Li, Zhan Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Minimum parking standards, which require developers to build a certain amount of off-street parking spaces, are increasingly criticized for leading to excess parking supply and automobile travel in recent years. However, due to the difficulty in identifying the policy effect, few empirical studies have directly and accurately estimated the effects of parking standards on parking supply. The present study examines a parking reform in London, UK, where minimum parking standards for residential developments were replaced with maximum standards in the early 2000s. Using planning application records, we match neighboring pre-reform and post-reform developments to estimate the effect of the parking standard switch and further identify the "binding" and "capping" effects of minimum and maximum parking standards. It is found that the parking reform in London has led to a reduction of approximately 0.76 parking spaces per unit in residential development applications, or 49% of the pre-reform level. Minimum parking standards seem to have a larger impact than maximum ones on parking supply that fell more upon inner city developments, while maximum parking standards have more influenced suburban neighborhoods. Market forces have played a major role in the decline of parking supply. The findings provide strong evidence for the market distortion effect of minimum parking standards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)352-365
Number of pages14
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • London
  • Minimum parking requirements
  • Parking standards
  • Residential parking supply

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Transportation
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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