Parking & Travel Demand Management

With TOD, parking is a limited and managed resource. Surface parking typically uses large amounts of land, reduces the overall density of an area, and can dominate a neighborhood. On the other hand, structured or underground parking can be costly and make it more difficult to finance a project. In many places throughout the region, land values and rents may not yet support densities that make structured parking feasible.

Planning for TOD means planning for parking when more people will be walking, bicycling, and using transit. As car-sharing services, such as HourCar or Car2Go, become more common, the number of parking spaces needed will lessen in developments. Planners can engage their communities and identify opportunities to reduce the need for parking, increase the efficiency of its use, and reduce the impact of its presence.

Updating parking regulations is an essential part of TOD planning. Parking regulations should reflect transit service and expected changes in market demand and how people travel. Parking requirements should not discourage development geared toward households that are more likely to use transit, walk, or bicycle.

Lower Parking Minimums

Parking requirements can discourage development of low- or moderate-income housing. It can also raise the cost of all housing. One approach is to reduce parking requirements as much as possible, letting the market decide how much parking is needed. In many cases, investors will require a certain amount of parking for a project. Some developers and investors, however, are becoming more familiar with the value of transit and TOD. For developers, lower parking requirements could reduce development costs and increase the feasibility of development. Cities can encourage developers to provide less parking, but they can also require that developers provide evidence of the amount of parking needed.

Parking Caps

In areas with the highest levels of transit service, cities should consider placing a cap on the amount of parking for a new development. One question for TOD is whether new households will value transit as an amenity, but will not make transit part of their daily routine. These households may be able to afford multiple off-street parking spaces. Placing caps on the amount of residential parking (e.g., a net of 1.25 spaces per unit) can help reserve the supply of residential land for households that are more likely to walk, bicycle, or use transit on a regular basis.

Shared and Unbundled Parking

Shared parking and unbundled parking are two approaches to increase the efficient use of off-street parking. Different uses with different peak periods of demand (e.g., daytime office and nighttime venue) can share parking. “Unbundled parking” means that parking is purchased or rented separately. Households or employees may opt in to parking by paying a fee, or opt out of parking and save money. Shared or unbundled parking increases complexity, but uses land more efficiently.

On-Street Parking

People who currently live in TOD areas may be concerned about parking spilling onto neighborhood streets. Communication among planners, developers, and neighbors can help ease concerns. If a project is marketed to people who may be attracted to nearby transit, neighbors may be less concerned about parking. Cities can also use tools that minimize or mitigate the impact of additional on-street parking. These include parking restrictions and residential permit parking programs.

Case Studies:

  • Minneapolis Parking Regulations (COMING SOON)



We Can Help!

Lucy Galbraith, Director
Metro Transit – TOD Office
[email protected]

Minneapolis, Whole Foods on Hennepin Avenue. Site plans can incorporate convenient locations for short-term bicycling parking.This section is UNDER CONSTRUCTION. Do you have information to share or a particular interest in this topic? Please let us know at [email protected].

Parking districts consolidate and manage parking as a shared resource within a walkable area. This is important for TOD as density and walkability mean that parking is a more limited resource. Parking districts may include publicly owned facilities as well as the management of on-street parking. Parking districts are usually created to increase the function and economic viability of areas developed with little or no off-street parking. It can also be implemented in districts planned for new development or redevelopment.

Efficient Use of Space

Shared parking minimizes the physical impact of parking by consolidating it into specific locations, which may include structures or surface lots. It is a more efficient use of space, and uses with different peak periods can share the same spaces. Drivers who use these facilities, however, may need to walk further to destinations. As a result, a successful parking district strategy will also address the walkability of an area.

St. Paul, Grand at Victoria. Shared parking is located behind and above storefronts.Impact on Businesses and Neighbors

Parking costs may be covered through assessments or fees, but charging for parking may only work in areas in high demand. Businesses may be concerned that charging for parking will discourage customers, and residents may be concerned about customers looking for free parking in front of their homes. Planners should consider parking districts along with other ways to encourage walking, bicycling, and transit.

Case studies:

This car sharing vehicle is located in a commercial parking lot, along a transit route, and next to a bicycle rack.Car sharing and bicycle sharing programs complement and support the transit network. They make living in areas well-served by transit more convenient and cost-effective. If a car is available for occasional use, or if a second car is available as needed, some families may not need to buy a vehicle. The economics of car sharing work best in more dense, walkable areas where there is a greater density of people with fewer cars.

Bicycle sharing programs also support the use of transit. They can replace short automobile trips, or they allow people to travel longer distances in less time than walking. Many people find bike sharing more attractive than relying solely on their own bicycle, which they must store or lock.

With the support of TOD, as the transit system matures, car and bike sharing programs may expand outside of the central cities and along transitways. Metro Transit is working on a system so transit riders can use transit passes to conveniently access car and bicycle sharing. Cities may consider how to integrate car and bike sharing into parking regulations and travel demand management (TDM) programs. For example, a city might allow a development to reduce some of its parking by having a car available for residents or employees.

Nice Ride stationCar Sharing Resources: 

Bicycle Sharing Resources:

We Can Help!

Employer programs / car and bike sharing

Theresa Cain, Manager
Metro Transit - Commuter Programs
[email protected]

Travel demand management, or TDM, implements strategies that reduce the need for parking and encourage transit use, ridesharing, bicycling, and walking. TDM programs typically focus on large employers who have direct access to a large group of employees and information on their commuting needs. TDM programs can be a voluntary or a required condition of a city’s approval of a development proposal. TDM programs can be administered by an individual employer or through a group of businesses and property owners called a Transportation Management Organization (TMO).

TDM is especially relevant for areas that are increasing density, walkability, and transit use. TDM programs encourage employees to try an alternative to driving alone. The best time to encourage people to change how they travel is when employees are anticipating a move to a new location. TDM programs typically offer subsidized transit passes. Programs can complement other strategies. For example, TDM can complement a project that uses development approvals to  reduce the amount of parking, provide secured parking for bicycles, and include locker rooms.


We can help!


Theresa Cain, Manager
Metro Transit - Commuter Programs
[email protected]


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