Demand responsive parking charges vary during the day and aim to impose the lowest possible fee that’s necessary to keep 15% of parking bays vacant. In other words, a couple of spots are always available on each block. This helps keeps supply and demand in balance and makes our streets better for parking. Parking can be free during off-peak times and becomes more expensive during peak times. Occupancy is measured and the charges are adjusted over time so that occupancy rates remain on target.

Councillors don’t set parking charges

Importantly, demand responsive charges prevent Councils from increasing parking charges to raise revenue. This is because the parking charges are determined by an occupancy target, not a revenue target.

Example from Port Phillip

The City of Port Phillip uses demand responsive parking charges:

Excerpt from Port Phillip Parking Strategy. Image credit: City of Port Phillip.

Example from San Francisco

San Francisco uses demand responsive parking charges, the system is called SFpark.

Support from Auckland

Image credit: Greater Auckland

It’s ethical to charge to park on the street

It’s ethical for the City of Yarra to apply demand responsive parking charges because it would help deliver more mobility and access for more people, including people on low incomes, if the revenue was used to improve infrastructure for walking, cycling, public transport and car sharing. For more detail refer to our page on ethics and our page on better for people on low incomes.

Demand responsive charges for annual permits

Demand responsive pricing can also be applied to the fee for annual parking permits. The price for a residential on-street parking permit can be adjusted each year until demand and supply are in balance.For more detail refer to our page on better for parking.


Once parking supply and demand are in balance, it becomes possible to re-locate parking from shopping streets to the first 5-10 spots on each side street. Smartphone apps guide patrons to the closest available free spot. This frees up space on shopping streets for level access public transport stops and protected bicycle lanes, which can bring more customers to shopping streets as congestion worsens.

Other information on parking

Learn more from our collection of pages related to parking:

Or from these websites: