Carnegie Mellon University

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February 04, 2013

Faculty Work To Optimize Street Parking Rates

By Mark Burd

At 50 cents per hour, street parking near the Tepper School of Business was very tough to find. But, today, at $2 per hour, many spaces, particularly in Schenley Park, are unused.

Two faculty members are working with the City of Pittsburgh to optimize the street parking in the area by instituting a rate schedule that fluctuates each month based on usage. Initially, the hourly rate will drop from $2 to $1 on Margaret Morrison Street and portions of Schenley Drive adjacent to Carnegie Mellon. The rate will remain unchanged on Frew Street and Tech Street.

Mark Fichman, an associate professor of organizational behavior and theory, and Stephen Spear, a professor of economics, said they will use economic principles to research the "ideal" rate, which will balance commuter usage with parking revenues.

"Ideally, slightly more than three quarters of available parking spaces should be utilized during normal business periods," Fichman said.

The researchers will monitor parking usage during normal business periods for a year and will determine, on a month-to-month basis, whether street parking rates should be raised or lowered to achieve optimal usage.

Optimal parking rates near Schenley Park are the subject of an ongoing Tepper study. Comments and suggestions for the study can be sent to