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.

Proven & accepted around the world

Demand responsive parking charges have been successfully introduced in many cities because people are the same the world over – their behaviour is responsive to the law of supply and demand. A good example is SFpark in San Francisco.

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 charge for on-street parking because it helps deliver more mobility for more people. If Council increased parking charges it would represent a transfer of wealth and mobility from people on high incomes (who dominate the cohort of people who drive and park) to people on lower incomes (who dominate the cohort of people who use walking, cycling, public transport and car sharing). For more detail refer to our page on ethics.

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.


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.