Boston’s Performance-Based Meter Pricing Pilot Results

The City’s year-long parking pilot has found increased meter pricing to be the most effective strategy to reducing congestion, improving parking availability, and increasing roadway safety.

The pilot, which began back in April 2017 as one of the Go Boston 2030 action items, tested two parking approaches in the Back Bay and Seaport:

1) Increased Meter Pricing  – In the Back Bay, all parking meters were priced at $3.75 per hour for the whole year. This neighborhood saw an 11% increase in available metered spaces, and a 14% decrease in double parking. In addition, illegal parking in a resident spot declined by 12%.

2) Flexible Meter Pricing – In the Seaport, each block was priced independently and the price was changed every two months based on space availability. Meters started at $1.50 and were increased by 50 cents on blocks with 90% or more occupancy, and decreased by 50 cents on blocks with 70% or less occupancy. This neighborhood saw a 1% increase in parking availability and a 35% decrease of illegal parking in a resident spot.

The results of these two approaches showed the Back Bay strategy was more successful at opening parking spaces and reducing congestion.

“The performance parking pilot program has proven to be an effective tool to reduce congestion, improve safety, and open up more parking in our busiest neighborhoods. This program makes better use of our limited curb-space and helps our businesses districts and neighborhoods thrive by making sure drivers can easily find a spot and that pedestrians and cyclists are not adversely impacted by double parking.” – Boston Transportation Department Commissioner Gina N. Fiandaca

All additional revenue as a result of the program will be reinvested into street, sidewalk, and transportation infrastructure projects in those neighborhoods and around the City. The Boston Transportation Department will now analyze the pilot results and determine whether the program should be expanded to other parking meters throughout Boston, including those in the North End.

See the full action item from the Go Boston 2030 report here:

4 Replies to “Boston’s Performance-Based Meter Pricing Pilot Results

  1. I’d love to know the correlation between raising meter prices/ the decline in illegal resident parking and decline in double parking.

    Maybe it was because enforcement was too busy with the meters or the continued disregard for enforcing almost all parking regulations other than street cleaning?

    1. I think the idea is that the higher meter prices encourage people to take other forms of transportation (bus, bike, walk, etc) or at least park for shorter amounts of time because it’s more expensive. The higher pricing is also supposed to be comparable to garage prices, so drivers will consider using a garage instead of on-street parking. All of these result in more metered spots available, and so there are less drivers leaving their cars in places they shouldn’t, such as resident spots or double parking.

  2. I have some troubles concerned to the idea that someone says “I must do this or I must’n do that”. How can we treat it as way of social welfare improvement (if it exists!) in spite of particular interests or knowledge problems (planners do not have full information about choices and consequences…..full effect of public policies are unknown)?

  3. Just another way to control parking. Those workers that would run to feed the meters all day because garage parking was too expensive now need to find a better way to justify the cost of their compute versus their wage.

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