Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School




First Advisor

Ju-Chin Huang


Parking is a scarce resource; like any other, subject to the laws of supply and demand. Yet it is not often provided in a free efficient market. Not that it should be provided solely by profit maximizing entities, in fact that would be disastrous for semi-rural environments like the University of New Hampshire, where alternatives are limited and people commute from distances over 50 miles regularly. There is a middle ground, a socially efficient optimum that matches people with spaces based on their needs and ability to pay.

This paper was inspired by numerous complaints from across all areas of campus that something about our current parking system is not working. Too often people report being late to classes or meetings, or being forced to arrive hours earlier than desired to avoid that fate. Couple this with an emerging literature discussing how decades of auto first planning have created markets that are far from socially optimal, and it became clear that deeper consideration of the problem at the University of New Hampshire was necessary. The purpose of this research is to evaluate the efficiency of the parking market place on campus. Specifically, we first intend to investigate if users are experiencing shortage conditions in their search for parking. Second, if such a condition exists we will use willingness to pay data to explore if price changes could help to alleviate this condition.

This examination is divided into four parts; Part one discusses the literature in this area and details some of the models and tools that can be used to establish effective parking markets. Part two discusses the data and methods used in this study, part three discusses our findings and part four will outline the way forward for the institution to potentially correct problem areas that have been identified.