Parking policy: The politics and uneven use of residential parking space in Melbourne

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Pressures on on-street residential parking in intensifying Australian cities are popularly ascribed to new higher density housing with insufficient off-street parking, underscoring calls to strengthen parking requirements in new developments. Despite the potential impacts of conventional minimum parking policies (on housing, land use, and transport patterns), there is no or little evidence of who uses residential on-street parking. Nor is there clear evidence of to what extent off-street parking, or requirements for it, actually offset on-street parking use. This study examines residential parking use in one Australian city, Melbourne, via two complementary sources: an existing travel survey of 8,994 households, and a custom online survey with 307 local responses. Although they have limitations, the two surveys provide new insight into where and by whom the use of on-street parking space around the home is more common. The study finds the majority (77–83%) of on-street residential parking use is by residents of detached housing. Most users of on-street parking have sufficient off-street parking, and half use garage space for storage or housing purposes. Residents of new flats and apartments account for disproportionately little on-street parking use, are excluded from on-street permits, and have closely controlled off-street parking spaces of which a third are unused. The paper argues uneven use of residential parking reflects household choices, and differing rights to space embedded by zoning traditions that privilege lower density housing. Critical analysis is given both of the capability of conventional ‘predict and provide’ parking policies to manage residential parking, and to cope with urban change.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalLand Use Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • on-street parking
  • car parking policy
  • housing
  • urban containment
  • zoning
  • Australia

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