skip to main content

Crazy About Parking

Don't let your brain fool you-there's a spot for your car.

by Tom Vanderbilt
Original Publish Date - November 2011

Parking is a bit like milk: We don't think much about it until it's not there. But the humble place of parking in our lives should not be underestimated. When we talk about driving, for example, we're really talking about parking-the average American car sits parked more than 90 percent of the time. And you might be surprised at how much city driving is actually the search for parking: Studies have shown as much as a third of downtown traffic is simply drivers looking for on-street spaces.

In most places, it’s actually not that hard to find a spot. A Purdue University geographer mapped his local-and fairly typical-county and found that there were three times as many parking spots as there were people.

Tom Vanderbilt is author of Traffic: Why We Drive The Way We Do (And What It Says About Us). Visit his Website at tomvanderbilt.com/traffic.