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Delivering a first-rate transportation system for Seattle Scott Kubly, Director

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Disincentives to Driving

In addition to supplying other transportation choices, part of creating a walkable city is managing the demand for vehicle travel. Discouraging trips by car--particularly unnecessary trips--can be aided using appropriate free-market pricing policies.

Free or below-market-rate parking hides the true cost of driving. Parking spaces, when added up, take up an enormous amount of our city’s most valuable resource: land. Research shows that when parking is subsidized, demand for car travel increases. This in turn requires more land, leading to a vicious cycle. Charging appropriate market rates for parking has been shown to reduce trips by car.

While market rate parking and congestion pricing are effective strategies for reducing car demand, communicating with drivers can also be useful. When air quality is predicted to be poor, air quality alerts can be issued encouraging drivers to either stay home or avoid making unnecessary trips.

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