Skip to main content

SFpark Pilot Projects Implementation Assistance

San Francisco, California
Firm Role
Parking policy, data collection & evaluation
2008 – 2013
815,000 residents, 46.9 square miles
Honors & Awards
  • 2013 Top 25 Innovations in Government Award, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
  • 2012 Sustainable Transport Award, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy
  • #1 Most Innovative US Parking Program, International Parking Institute, 2013
  • 2013 Public Parking Program of the Year, California Public Parking Association
  • Top 10 Innovations in Cities, Sustainia100, 2013
  • 2012 Living Labs' Global Award.
  • 2012 Excellence in Motion Award of Merit, Metropolitan Transportation Commission
  • 2012 Good Government Award, SPUR
Place Type

San Francisco’s SFpark program has been described by the United States Department of Transportation as “the nation’s largest and most sophisticated performance-parking program”. The program set out to make it easier to park – while also reducing double parking, congestion, and pollution – by charging rates that vary by block and time of day.

Patrick Siegman served as an advisor to the program while a Principal at Nelson\Nygaard Consulting. SFMTA hired Nelson\Nygaard to help develop the SFpark pilot program, which encompassed 6000 metered spaces and 12,250 off-street spaces.

The work included assisting SFMTA in creating an evaluation framework and developing survey instruments and survey implementation plans, including merchant and shopper/visitor surveys. We provided detailed input on the SFpark data collection plan, suggesting methodologies and measures to provide reliable, cost-effective measures of success. We conducted data collection, including surveys of parking search time, spillover parking into residential areas, instances of double parking and use of disabled placards.

We researched and recommended reforms to the management of disabled parking and residential parking districts, both of which are critical components of San Francisco’s parking system. Lastly, we provided support with public outreach, framing sometimes controversial policy reforms in ways that highlighted the tensions and tradeoffs of implementing changes versus doing nothing.

The project’s evaluation found that SFpark achieved its key objectives. In the pilot areas, parking availability improved. Parking search times fell by 43%. Double parking and parking citations declined. Vehicle miles travelled, congestion and pollution decreased. Transit speeds improved. Overall, it became easier to find a parking space, pay for parking, and avoid citations. Thanks to the program’s success, it has now expanded citywide.

Images courtesy of the City of San Francisco