graphing parking:

Architects sometimes joke (or lament) that “form follows parking”, but there could be another way if we are willing to work for it. Currently there is an exciting but small movement to reform or repeal the pervasive regulations which leave us with little choice but to design our built environment for cars instead of people. Reforming parking policy is an urgent imperative which could have significant positive effects on the natural environment, our cities, the economy, and our society. For many issues, from affordable housing to carbon emissions, it is an obvious solution that has remained hidden in plain sight for too long. The objective of this blog is to produce infographics that are expository, accesible, and accurate. Over time I hope to accumulate a cache of materials to educate and motivate. You are invited to use them as you see fit.* Your criticism is welcomed towards the goal of improving the legibility, accuracy, and persuasiveness of the work.


My name is Seth Goodman. I currently work for an architecture firm in Austin, Texas. I graduated from the Rice University School of Architecture in 2011. Like many others, I was inspired by Professor Donald Shoup’s pioneering tome, The High Cost of Free Parking. It is my hope that the work contained in this blog will help bring further attention to this important but decidedly unglamorous issue. I can be contacted at: goodman.seth.b@gmail.com

* I request that you ask permission before including my work in any publication. Slideshows or presentations given to city councils, planning commissions, etc. do not require permission so long as credit is given.



  1. Also, your sources page is unbelievable. May well plunder it at some point if it’s OK by you – that stuff is hard to come by. Did you select cities according to which ones had this information easily accessible, or apply some other criteria (population, etc.)? Also, we may be interested in putting these up on our site – I don’t have your email address, but would you be willing to drop a line so we can discuss?

    • Thanks! You are welcome to plunder the sources page, that’s what it’s there for. It’s still a work in progress so certain cities are more complete and organized than others. I selected cities based on wikipedia’s top 50 cities by population, then subtracted a few from California because that part of the map got too crowded. Finally I added a few cities with a large metro area but a small city proper (Boston is a good example I think). Also, I added my email address above. It probably should have been there to begin with. Feel free to get in touch!

    • St. Louis has a large metro area but a small city proper which is why it was excluded. It is however the largest metro area not represented, (other than NYC which is kind of in a league of its own) so I’ll see if I can squeeze it in on the last two graphs of the series.

  2. Just wanted to say how much I appreciate this work, I dream of living in a place that is built primarily for pedestrians and cyclists rather than cars.

  3. Surface parking also adds to flooding. The asphalt causes the rainwater to run off faster and not allow it to filter down into the ground. Any dirt, debris, animal dropping, and litter is collected into the storm sewers to be added to downstream streams and rivers, increasing their flow with contaminants. If there was no asphalt, the rainwater would pool and slowly be absorbed by the ground, instead of rushing off.

    • Thanks Grant! I found your post to be really interesting and I encourage others to check it out. In fact, I’d really love it if more people would do something like this so there could be more international comparison.

  4. Hey Seth – Would you be interested in contributing your research to the International Parking Institute publications (Parking Professional article or Parking Matter’s Blog), or conference presentation? Thanks. Jeff

  5. I love the infographics! *Please* consider doing one on parking requirements for bars/nighclubs. I find it absurd and dangerous that some cities encourage people to drive to bars when they drink, and some of the parking ratios make it clear that they’re assuming nobody will have a designated driver. We need partners like MADD to pay attention to how destructive these policies can be.

  6. Seth,

    You have done a great service here. I work for a company that uses automation to shrink the size of structured parking (http://www.boomerangsystems.com) so that parking garages can be wrapped with usable activated retail, office or residential space rather than the hulking “cheese grater” parking podiums that create dead zones in cities. We always struggle to find this data. Thank you!

    • Thanks Karen! I have some graphics that have been on the back burner for a long time now, but alas they will have to wait a few months longer as my wife and I prepare to move to Boston. I’m hoping I’ll have some free time to catch up once we’re settled in.

    • That is the most recent. It is a couple of years old. You are free to use it as part of any presentation. I would like to know more if it would be part of a publication for mass consumption. Just reference graphingparking.com. Thanks!

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