Demand responsive parking charges vary during the day and aim to impose the lowest possible fee that’s necessary to keep a few parking bays vacant. This means that people who need to park are able to find a vacant bay. 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.

Demand responsive pricing. Image credit: City of Melbourne Parking Management Plan.

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.

Image credit: City of Melbourne Parking Management Plan.

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:

  • some people need to drive and park, and this helps ensure that they are able to find a park, and
  • some people prefer to walk or bike, and this helps deliver revenue to improve footpaths and bike lanes.

For more detail refer to our page on ethics and our page on better for people on low incomes.

Demand responsive charges for residential parking permits

Demand responsive pricing can also be applied to residential parking permits. The price for an annual permit can be adjusted each year until demand and supply are in balance, thus helping to ensure that people who need to drive are able to find a park when they get home. As the price rises, some people may choose to clear our their garage and park off-street instead of on-street; while others may choose to downsize from two cars to one. 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, as congestion worsens, are better placed to bring more customers to shopping streets.

Other information on parking

Learn more from our collection of pages related to parking:

Or from these websites:

How you can help

You can help by appearing on the Streets Alive Yarra website as a champion for your local street, neighbourhood, or school.

Let’s build a beautiful, liveable and accessible city