Parking-Cruising Caused Congestion

101 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2017 Last revised: 31 Jan 2017

See all articles by Rachel Weinberger

Rachel Weinberger

Weinberger & Associates

Adam Millard-Ball

University of California, Santa Cruz - Environmental Studies

Robert Hampshire

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Transportation Research Institute

Date Written: March 1, 2016


Searching for parking, colloquially known as cruising has been a concern almost since the beginning of automobile mass production; two of the first known studies of cruising date to 1927. Problems associated with cruising include an excess of vehicle miles traveled, i.e. after arriving at their destinations drivers continue to drive searching for a parking space. This excess travel implies additional congestion, air pollution, time wasted, and driver frustration which could translate to increased risk of accidents and loss of economic competitiveness at destinations where parking is hard to find, especially if alternative access options are also scarce.

The extent of cruising, however, remains unclear. Several attempts have been made to quantify how much cruising takes place, and how much it contributes to vehicle travel, congestion and air pollution, but such research, understandably, has been conducted in the locations where cruising is known to be an issue. Unfortunately, results are then extrapolated across wide regions.

For the project documented in this report, we have worked with GPS traces derived from several sources with the goal of using such traces to develop nuanced understandings of cruising for parking. The work builds on an increasingly rich body of research and provides a promising path forward for the creation of robust tools that any city can employ at any level of geography to better understand parking search behavior and, in turn, create better policy responses than have been available to date.

Preliminary results show the extent of cruising in San Francisco,CA - between 5%-6% citywide, and Ann Arbor, MI - about 3%-4% in the downtown core.

Keywords: Parking, Cruising, Parking Search, GPS Data Processing

JEL Classification: L91, Q52

Suggested Citation

Weinberger, Rachel and Millard-Ball, Adam and Hampshire, Robert, Parking-Cruising Caused Congestion (March 1, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Rachel Weinberger

Weinberger & Associates ( email )

Brooklyn, NY
United States

Adam Millard-Ball

University of California, Santa Cruz - Environmental Studies ( email )

1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
United States
1-831-459-1838 (Phone)


Robert Hampshire (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Transportation Research Institute ( email )

2901 Baxter Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics