Member-supported news for Southern California
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Support for KPCC comes from:

Parking woes rob Angelenos 85 hours per year

Los Angeles
Stock photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid via Flickr Creative Commons
Angelenos spend 5 times more energy looking for parking, according to Inrix, a transportation analytics company. Time, fuel and emissions cost $1,785 per person per year.

Finding a place to park is one of the most painful parts of getting around in Los Angeles. And now a new study has quantified it.

Inrix, a transportation analytics company, found that on average Angelenos spend 85 hours per year looking for parking. That's five times more than the national average.

It also quantified the cost associated with wasted time, fuel and emissions. Estimates suggest looking for parking costs Angelenos $1,785 per person per year — about $3.7 billion citywide.

“There are a lot of great qualities about our city, but certainly ample parking is not one of them,” said Doug Shupe, spokesperson for the Auto Club of Southern California.

Los Angeles’ parking problem is second only to New York City. A driver in New York wastes 107 hours per year looking for parking.

Researchers analyzed a survey from 6,000 drivers in the 10 biggest cities in the U.S. This chart summarizes their findings.

Rank U.S. City Average 2-Hour Parking Cost (One mile of city center) On-Street Search Time (mins/trip) Off-Street Search Time (mins/trip) Annual Search Time (hours/driver/year) Annual Search Cost Per Driver Annual Search Cost Per City
1 New York $33 15 13 107 $2,243 $4.3bn
2 Los Angeles $14 12 11 85 $1,785 $3.7bn
3 San Francisco $12 12 11 83 $1,735 $655m
4 Washington, D.C. $18 10 9 65 $1,367 $329m
5 Seattle $10 9 8 58 $1,205 $490m
6 Chicago $22 9 8 56 $1,174 $1.3bn
7 Boston $26 8 8 53 $1,111 $262m
8 Atlanta $6 8 8 50 $1,043 $251m
9 Dallas $6 8 8 48 $995 $726m
10 Detroit $9 6 6 35 $731 $209m
  US $4 2 2 17 $345 $72.7bn

The Auto Club of Southern California has a few tips on improving your parking experience.  You can:

  • Arrive early. If you’re going to a parking trouble spot, budget extra time to find parking. You’ll have less stress if you’re not arriving last minute.
  • Choose a row and stay put. "It’s really best to find one parking row and wait for someone to come out and leave that space, rather than driving around and wasting money and gas,” Shupe said.
  • Consider the periphery. It may be faster to park farther out and walk a couple minutes, rather than taking a chance on something closer but then waiting or circling around for a spot that may not materialize.
  • Plan your exit. If you’re going to an event where everyone is leaving at the same time, park close to the exit. You’ll get out faster if you have fewer streams of traffic to merge into or crosswalks to navigate.