Date of Completion

Spring 5-11-2013

Thesis Advisor(s)

Norman Garrick

Honors Major

Civil Engineering


Civil Engineering | Economics


It has become increasingly apparent that providing copious off-street parking has deleterious effects on urban form and function. This study compares parking policy in New Haven, Connecticut and Cambridge, Massachusetts that have pursued very different types of parking policies that have resulted in different outcomes in terms of land use. Since 1951, off-street parking provision has increased by nearly 400% in New Haven, meanwhile both employment and residential population have declined in the city. In contrast, off-street parking provision in Cambridge has risen around 140% since 1952, while employment and residential populations in the city have increased by 50% and 67 % respectively. The turning point in these trends occurs in the 1980’s, when the city of Cambridge adjusted its transportation priorities. Cambridge had been following a similar trajectory to New Haven in terms of parking provision and automobile dependency until this point in time. From the 1980s onward, parking facility proliferation stabilized or decreased in Cambridge while residential and employment populations became denser and automobile dependency decreased. New Haven exhibited the opposite trends; residential and employment populations became more sparse while automobile dependency increased. This study builds on these alarming observations by analyzing the financial aspects of parking facilities in New Haven and Cambridge. The paramount finding of this study was the wide disparity in the property taxation of parking facilities in the two cities. In illustrating this finding, this study aims to alert cities to the incentivization of parking facility proliferation ingrained within parking tax policies.