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Center Identification Number: 527-10


Project Title: Evaluation of Shared Use Park & Ride Impact on Properties


Principal Investigator: 


Francis Wambalaba, Senior Research Associate


Graduate Research Asst:


Julie Goodwill, Graduate Research Assistant




Center for Urban Transportation Research
University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida


External Project Contact:       


Jon Ausman

Transit Planning Program Manager


I.  Project Objective


This research shall to quantify the level of benefits relative to costs based on feedback from commercial area shared-use Park & Ride (P&R) properties, users, and transit service providers. These results will benefit both transit service providers and P&R providers by increasing the potential for improving their customer service and customer base, respectively while enhancing their determination of the feasibility of making such arrangements


II.  Project Abstract


A shared (or joint) use P&R involves sharing a private parking lot with commuters, usually provided by shopping centers, churches and others. While there appears to be a growing need for P&R facilities throughout the U.S., review of literature indicates a limited amount of research available on shared-use lots and their effectiveness. There is also limited quantitative data to support or refute the benefits of shared-use P&R, including reducing traffic congestion and Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT). Transit agencies tend to approach potential providers with emphasis on benefits to the providers including shopping, while providers tend to stress problems like liability and vandalism. In the Tampa Bay area, the University Mall has welcomed the program while the New International Mall would not even allow a bus on the premise at its inception.  Without objective research on this topic, these issues remain inconclusive. This research will attempt to quantify the level of benefits relative to costs of commercial area shared-use Park & Ride (P&R) accruing to property owners, P&R users, and transit service providers.


III. Task Descriptions


Task 1: Research Review


This task shall involve a comprehensive review of past research into efforts to document benefits of primary stakeholders (i.e., service providers[1], facility providers[2], and P&R users[3]) for shared-use P&R programs. This literature review shall identify methodologies and findings, if any, from past studies to serve as a starting point for the research[4]. This shall help avoid "reinventing the wheel" and refine specific gaps and deficiencies in the existing body of knowledge. If not available, the study shall develop such a process.

The review shall include an examination of research conducted on the benefits of P&Rs to stakeholders as well as any changing trends in the industry[5]. Similar other studies which shall be reviewed include park and ride arrangements among individual institutions, shuttle programs and informal P&Rs.


Task 2: State of the Practice of Business Benefits Measurement


The current literature is very scanty and most businesses rely on intuition and informal observations.  The study shall identify and document specific study methods that have been used with the goal of replicating suitable methodologies for comparative purpose. So far, few quantitative surveys appear to show financial benefits for businesses.  One article appeared in the 1978 Newsletter of the Office of Highway Planning, entitled “Shopping Centers Make a Profit on Park-and-Ride.[6]  Similarly, in a 1983 study entitled “Park-and-Ride at Shopping Centers:  A Quantification of Modal-Shift and Economic Impacts,” the study showed that 25-45% of users shopped at the shopping center before or after work on a usual day, two-thirds of the shopping that took place was either diverted from other shopping centers or was induced shopping and that the shopping centers experienced an average sales increase of $5 per P&R user per day.[7]  The Principal Investigators shall consult with and shall get approval from the FDOT Project Manager on this Task.


Task 3: Surveys of P&R Users and Primary Stakeholders


CUTR shall gather information from actual P&R users.  CUTR shall intercept park and ride users as they leave or depart the high occupancy vehicle (or on board for University Mall).  This information shall be used to contrast with perceptions gathered from the surveys of service providers and P&R owners (primary stakeholders).  CUTR shall seek the cooperation of public agencies that are or were responsible for implementing shared-use P&R programs. CUTR shall survey or interview stakeholders about the perceived and actual costs and benefits of a commercial area shared-use P&R facility. The research shall: one, determine if persons parking in park and ride spots are in fact park and ride users; two, if not park and ride users, why they are parking in that location; three, if park and ride users then determine their spending habits at stores served by the park and ride lot; four this survey of spending habits shall include, but not be limited to, the amount spent, the store patronized, the item bought and whether they are regular shoppers at this mall; five, interview park and ride providers, such as mall property managers, what benefits and problems park and ride lots provide on their property; six, interview local transit agencies regarding their estimates as to the number of park and ride users boarding their bus as stops served by park and ride facilities; and, seven, seek data to support these ridership estimates by local transit agencies.  This analysis shall identify gaps in current efforts to promote shared-use P&R programs by service providers to facility owners.  The Principal Investigators shall consult with and shall get approval from the FDOT Project Manager on this Task.


Task 4: Analyses of Findings


Findings from the literature review and surveys shall be analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively to support or refute some of the perceptions surrounding the shared-use P&R arrangements.  The Principal Investigators shall consult with and shall get approval from the FDOT Project Manager on this Task.


Task 5: Final Reports


The product of this investigation shall be a description of current perceptions of the costs and benefits of a shared-use P&R in comparison with actual findings from the study, including measurement tools available, data collection needs, analytic tools, level of accuracy, and reporting of results. The product of this investigation shall include the results of the research conducted in Task Three.  Additionally, recommendations for next steps to take will be made.  The Principal Investigators shall consult with and shall get approval from the FDOT Project Manager on this Task.


IV. Project Timeline


Project Start Date: August 1, 2002


















Review literature
















Confirm agencies, parking lots etc
















Confirm with businesses, clear permissions etc
















Survey instruments, USF review process & survey logistics
































Data tabulation
















Follow ups and verifications
















1st Draft/reviews
















2nd draft/reviews
















Complete report
















Publish report
















Annual Report

















V.  Project Budget


The Florida Department of Transportation Public Transportation Syntheses Series

Budget Categories

State Share

Center Director Salary


Faculty Salaries


Administrative Staff Salaries


Other Staff Salaries


Student Salaries


Staff Benefits


Total Salaries and Benefits




Permanent Equipment


Expendable Property/Supplies


Domestic Travel


Foreign Travel


Other Direct Costs  -Surveys


Total Direct Costs


Indirect Costs


Total Costs





Notes: This budget does not reflect any federal participation.  The project team will

 include faculty, students, and secretarial and other support staff who will work directly

on the project and whose costs are reflected in the direct costs of the project as listed above.


VI.  Student Involvement


Graduate students may play a role in the research and data collection process along with other students who may be hired to collect data.  Other anticipated student benefits will include synthesis of information and technology transfer support.


VII. Relationship to Other Research Projects


An earlier attempt to research the benefits of shared-use P&R programs was documented in an article entitled Park-and-Ride at Shopping Centers:  A Quantification of Modal-Shift and Economic Impacts.  The aim of the research was to study how P&R facilities located at shopping centers affected commuter travel and shopping behavior.  Surveys were given to P&R commuters at two malls and one shopping center in Montgomery County, Maryland, which questioned the users about their travel and shopping habits.  The findings of the research showed that having P&R facilities located at shopping centers can have a significant economic impact on those shopping centers.  Of the users surveyed, 25-45% indicated that they shopped at the center before or after work on a usual day.  Further, around two-thirds of the shopping that took place was either diverted from other centers or was induced shopping.  The research found that the shopping center experienced an average sales increase of $5 per P&R user per day.  Also, 10-30% of the P&R users chose to use transit or form a carpool simply because the P&R facility was present.


In a report entitled Public Transit Access to Private Property, similar research focused on the legal rights of public transit agencies to access private property as well as major concerns of private property owners relating to public transit access.[8]  To identify concerns of private property owners, written surveys were administered to public transit providers and private property owners, developers and managers.  Interestingly, the surveys revealed that the perception transit agencies had regarding the concerns of developers/private property owners and transit providers were not the kind of incentives that developers/private property owners desired.


Currently, most service providers rely on their own parking facilities or the State P&R lots, especially for transit and rideshare service. Information in this area appears to be limited regarding the level of coordination between parking and commuter choice managers in Florida. Literature includes a procedures manual for the state park and ride lot program, and a regional Park and Ride Lot Plan for FDOT district 7.[9]

Other related studies include:

  • The Coordination of Parking with Public Transportation and Ridesharing[10]

  • Ridesharing Element of Parking Facilities for Industrial Employment Centers[11]

  • Proceedings of the Commuter parking Symposium, ACT and Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle[12]

  • Reducing Parking Demand Through Ridesharing[13]

VIII. Technology Transfer Activities/Peer Review


This research project is designed to increase the knowledge of public transit officials, TDM professionals, and employers about shared-use P&R benefits to primary stakeholders. Any documentation that is prepared will be made available at conferences and, in Florida, through independently scheduled and funded training sessions. Information will also be made available through TDM Review, the quarterly publication of ACT. In addition, CUTR staff will participate in local conferences and workshops such as Florida Public Transit Association, Institute for Transportation Engineers, and similar others to present and discuss the findings.


IX. Potential Benefits of the Project


Shared-use P&R facilities enhance the performance of transit ridership and overall service satisfaction.

The study will be widely applicable to determining the feasibility of shared-use P&R lots. Given that the average cost of a parking lot space ranges from $5,000 to several thousands of dollars, transit agencies will experience the greatest savings. Malls may also experience an increase in sales. 


Research into current methods of measuring shared-use P&R benefits should result in TDM and other transportation agencies having a clearer understanding of the value of commercial area shared-use P&R programs. This, in turn, will allow agencies to improve levels of facility providers and participation of users in the program, thereby reducing congestion and air pollution.


X. TRB Keywords


Business Benefits

Commuter Assistance Programs

Coordinated P&R

Joint Park & Ride

Parking Facilities

Parking Management Strategies

Park & Ride Programs

Public Transit

Public Transit Amenities

Rideshare Assistance Programs

Rideshare Parking

Shared Use P&R

Transit Benefits

Transit Parking

Transportation Demand management


[1] Trout, N.D. and Ulman, G.L. Special Event Park-and-Ride Shuttle Bus Success Story. ITE Journal: 38-43, 1997.

[2] Frederic R. Harris, Inc. State Park & Ride Lot Program. Florida Department of Transportation, 1989.

[3] Foote, P.J. Chicago Transit Authority Weekday Park-and Ride Users: Choice Market with Ridership Growth Potential. Transportation Research Record: No. 1735, 158-168, 2000.

[4] Allen, W.G., Modeling Carpool and Transit Park-And-Ride Lots. Sixth TRB Conference on the Application of Transportation Planning Methods, 1997.

[5] Spillar, R. Smart Parks: The Next Generation in Park-and Ride-Facilities. National Parking Association: 30-31, 1999. 

[6] Shopping Centers Make a Profit on Park-and-Ride, Newsletter, Office of Highway Planning, FHWA, Issue No. 5, Sept. 1978.  

[7] Dansker, B. and M. Laube, Park-and-Ride at Shopping Centers: A Quantification of Modal-Shift and Economic Impacts. Transportation Research Record: No. 908, 1983, 27-31.

[8] Hinebaugh, D., Land, L. and Staes, L.  Public Transit Access to Private Property. Center for Urban Transportation Research, 2000.

[9] ICF Kaiser Engineers and Moore/Bowers. Regional Park and Ride Lot Plan. Florida Department of Transportation District Seven, 1994.

[10] Public technology Inc., The Coordination of Parking with Public Transportation and Ridesharing, Urban Consortium Bulletin, USDOT, June 1982 

[11] Carter, C.C.,  and O’Connell, Ridesharing Element of Parking facilities for Industrial Employment Centers, USDOT & FHA, September 1982 

[12] Association for Commuter Transportation and Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle, Proceedings: Commuter Parking Symposium, USDOT, December 1990 

[13] Anderson, S., Modarres, A., Valk, P., Reducing Parking Demand Through  ridesharing: A Developer’s Perspective, Transportation Management Services, 1991


National Center for Transit Research · at the Center For Urban Transportation Research · University of South Florida · 4202 E. Fowler Ave., CUT100 · Tampa, FL 33620-5375 · (813) 974-3120 · (813) 974-5168 · · Comments: