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UCLA Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning Donald Shoup?

Another domain where optimal stopping problems abound
—and where looking back is also generally ill-advised—is
the car. Motorists feature in some of the earliest literature
on the secretary problem, and the framework of constant
forward motion makes almost every car-trip decision into
a stopping problem: the search for a restaurant; the search
for a bathroom; and, most acutely for urban drivers, the
search for a parking space. V\Tho better to talk to about the
ins and outs of parking than the man described by the Los
Angeles Times as “the parking rock star,” UCLA
Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning Donald Shoup?
We drove down from Northern California to visit him,
reassuring Shoup that we’d be leaving plenty of time for
unexpected traffic. “As for planning on ‘unexpected traffic,’
I think you should plan on expected traffic,” he replied.
Shoup is perhaps best known for his book The High Cost
of Free Parking, and he has done much to advance the
discussion and understanding of what really happens
when someone drives to their destination.
We should pity the poor driver. The ideal parking space,
as Shoup models it, is one that optimizes a precise balance
between the “sticker price” of the space, the time and
inconvenience of walking, the time taken seeking the space
(which varies wildl_v with destination, time of day, etc.),
and the gas burned in doing so. The equation changes with
the number of passengers in the car, who can split the
monetary cost of a space but not the search time or the
walk. At the same time, the driver needs to consider that
the area with the most parking supply may also be the area
with the most demand; parking has a game-theoretic
component, as you try to outsmart the other drivers on the
road while they in turn are trying to outsmart youf That
said, many of the challenges of parking boil down to a
single number: the occupancy rate. This is the proportion
of all parking spots that are currently occupied. If the
occupancy rate is low, it’s easy to find a good parking spot.
If it’s high, finding anywhere at all to park is a challenge.
Shoup argues that many of the headaches of parking are
consequences of cities adopting policies that result in
extremely high occupancy rates. If the cost of parking in a
particular location is too low (or—horrors!—nothing at
all], then there is a high incentive to park there, rather
than to park a little farther away and walk. So everybody
tries to park there
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ZAKARIA AL BAZZAR, 19 yo, university student. love everything about new tech, and I'm sharing it with you :)
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