Global Parking Survey: Drivers Share Worldwide Parking Woes

IBM has just published its “Global Parking Survey: Drivers Share Worldwide Parking Woes” which surveyed 8,042 commuters from around the world.

The survey found that drivers in 20 international cities face a daily struggle in finding a parking space. In the past year, nearly six out of 10 drivers have abandoned their search for a space at least once, and more than a quarter have gotten into an argument with a fellow motorist over a parking space.

In addition to the typical traffic congestion caused by daily commutes and gridlock from construction and accidents, reports have estimated that over 30 percent of traffic in a city is caused by drivers searching for a parking spot. Not only do inefficient parking systems result in congestion and increased carbon emissions, they also waste commuters’ time, lead to lost productivity and economic opportunities and can lead to inefficient city services.

(Robotic Parking Systems has seen other traffic studies which show that between 30% to 50% of traffic in city centers is generated by drivers searching for a parking place. Click here for more information.)

Interestingly, IBM’s global parking survey showed that drivers in both developed and emerging economies face many of the same parking frustrations. Drivers in Nairobi averaged 31.7 minutes in their longest search for a parking spot, and commuters in Bangalore, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Mexico City, Paris and Shenzhen all reported means significantly above the worldwide average. Seventeen percent of drivers in Milan and Beijing and 16 percent of drivers in Madrid and Shenzhen spent 31 to 40 minutes looking for parking. Globally, drivers spent an average of nearly 20 minutes in pursuit of a coveted spot.

In fact, over half of all drivers in 16 of the 20 cities surveyed reported that they have been frustrated enough that they gave up looking for a parking space and simply drove somewhere else. 

IBM compiled the results of the survey into its first-ever Parking Index that ranks the emotional and economic toll of parking in a cross-section of 20 international cities with the highest number being the most onerous. The Index reveals a wide range in the parking pain experienced from city to city. Here’s how the cities stack up:

The IBM Parking Index is comprised of the following key issues: 1) longest amount of time looking for a parking place; 2) inability to find a parking place; 3) disagreement over parking spots; 4) received a parking ticket for illegal parking and 5) number of parking tickets received.

“Clearly, drivers worldwide are facing frustration and pain, not only during the daily commute, but also when searching for a parking spot,” said Vinodh Swaminathan, director of intelligent transportation systems, IBM. “It’s easy to see how this parking ‘pain’ can impact productivity of citizens and economic opportunities in a city.”

Source: IBM (

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