Smart Parking Linked to Transit: Lessons Learned from Field Test in San Francisco Bay Area of California


Rising demand for parking at suburban transit stations, such as the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) District in California, necessitates strategies to manage traveler demand. To better manage parking supply, researchers implemented a smart parking field test at the Rockridge BART station from 2004 to 2006 to evaluate the effects of smart parking technologies (changeable message signs (CMSs), Internet reservations and billing, mobile phone and personal digital assistant communications, and a wireless parking lot counting system) on transit ridership and response to service pricing. Researchers employed expert interviews, Internet surveys, focusgroups, and parking reservation data to conduct this analysis. Survey data indicated that the field test increased BART trips and resulted in 9.7 fewer miles per participant per month on average. Key lessons learned include that it would have been beneficial to anticipate additional time for project scoping and permitting, and fixed wayfinding signs were beneficial in both directing vehicles from the highway to the smart parking lot and addressing resident concerns about increased traffic. Additionally, the majority of participants continued to use the service whenfees were implemented. However, the CMSs were not widely employed in users’ decisionmaking processes in this application. Finally, the wireless counting system worked well, with the exception of the in-ground sensors, which were prone to miscounts. This paper provides anoverview of the project and key literature, behavioral effects of the field test, and lessons learned.

Susan Shaheen, PhD and Charlene Kemmerer
Publication date: 
January 1, 2008
Publication type: 
Journal Article
Shaheen, S. A, & Kemmerer, C. (2008). Smart Parking Linked to Transit: Lessons Learned from Field Test in San Francisco Bay Area of California. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2063(1), 73-80. Retrieved from