In the 2011 book The High Cost of Free Parking Professor Donald Shoup thoughfully walks the reader through the history of parking in the United States into the present situation in which we find ourselves. Everyone wants a free parking space; but as Professor Shoup explains, there is no such thing as a ‘free" parking space. Parking is a resource which should be treated like any commodity and priced accordingly.
The concept of "dynamic" pricing (ala airline seats and hotel rooms) should be applied to street and off street parking according to Professor Shoup. He calls this "performance" parking. He argues that street parking should be high enough to keep one or two curb spaces open during most times. This will prevent the circling the block syndrome and create efficiencies. San Francisco has adopted such a model in their SF Park program. Take a look at their website for details.
If parking costs rise and become an efficient economic model as opposed to a subsidized one less time will be spent looking for parking and ridership of public transportation will increase, thereby creating better economic benefits for that public resource.
Professor Shoup advocates for the removal of parking requirements in our new development zoning codes and return meter revenue to the neighborhoods which generate the same.
According to Collier’s International 2012 Parking Rate Survey (a copy of which can be downloaded by clicking on the link) identifies Cincinnati’s parking costs as relatively low as compared to other major metropolitan areas.
A concertive effort must ne made by city governments, transportation officials and developers to reverse to expectations and effects of "free" parking.