Parking Pricing vs. Congestion Pricing: A Macroscopic Analysis of their Impact on Traffic

Manuel Jakob, Monica Menendez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As traffic congestion gets worse year by year in metropolitan areas, cities search for solutions to improve their traffic performance and reduce their environmental impacts. This paper focuses on parking pricing and congestion pricing and their short-term effects not only on traffic congestion but also on the potential revenue for a city. We develop an easy to implement multimodal macroscopic traffic and parking search model for a central area based on aggregated data at the network level. Our methodology allows us to analyze how introducing parking pricing inside a network, or a congestion toll combined with a park and ride (P+R) scheme can affect the drivers’ decision between entering the network by car (private vehicle) or using P+R instead. This decision directly influences the number of drivers using P+R, and this impacts, in turn, the traffic performance. Based on such analysis, a city can get valuable insights to evaluate whether congestion pricing is a necessity or if the traffic improvements resulting from implementing parking pricing strategies are sufficient when combined with P+R facilities. A search algorithm is used to find the best trade-off between the parking fees and the congestion toll. Any additional revenue collected through these schemes can then be used to improve public transport or the P+R facilities themselves. With minor data collection efforts and little computational costs compared to most existing parking and congestion pricing models, we illustrate our proposed framework in a case study of an area with a high parking demand for public parking spaces within the city of Zurich, Switzerland. Results show that parking pricing combined with P+R is indeed a viable option compared to congestion pricing for improving traffic performance, even if parking pricing schemes do not target all the drivers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalTransportmetrica A: Transport Science
StatePublished - 2020


  • congestion pricing
  • cruising-for-parking
  • dynamic macroscopic traffic and parking model
  • park and ride
  • parking pricing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transportation
  • General Engineering


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