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The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy has published an intriguing report on parking reforms throughout year designed to reduce car use. While many of the reforms are standard economics tools like taxing car use and regulating available spaces, some cities have also used innovative physical choice architecture.

Striped Lines: (In Stockholm)…Entire sections of curbside are demarcated with one large box sometimes taking up an entire street as the latest practice. One large box encourages smaller vehicles to squeeze into the limited space. In this way the city optimizes revenue from its pricing program.

Street Geometry: Strategically arranging existing parking spaces can help make other street users more comfortable. In Zurich, alternating parking spaces on two sides of a narrow street act as a chicane that slows vehicle speeds. Amsterdam has zones called woonerfs that use parked cars to create a winding passage which forces vehicles to move at a pedestrian’s pace. Paris and Copenhagen have bike lanes that are protected by parked cars—these act as a barrier between the cyclists and moving traffic. Copenhagen and Antwerp have play-streets that allow children to safely spend time on the
street without the threat of getting hit by a car—trees, benches, and other physical obstructions cue vehicles that they are guests in the space.

Article and full report are here. Hat tip: Impossible Software.

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1) Do Republicans respond differently than Democrats when their utility bills tell them how much energy they are using? Hat tip: Danny Vincent.

2) Remember the alarm clock that donates money to organizations you despise when you don’t get out of bed? How about a web site that donates money to those organizations when you procrastinate online. Hat tip: Gilad Buchman.

3) Do cities make signs about neighborhood parking confusing as a way to nudge people to park at meters and free up more space for neighborhood residents? Hat tip: Lou Wigdor.

4) Another web application for scoring your home’s energy efficiency. This one just raised $315,000.

5) PBS special Mind Over Money is available online (filmed, in part, at the University of Chicago).

6) The NCAA makes sickle cell testing the default option. Hat tip: Robert Barricelli.

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Reader Richard Whittington passes along an interesting idea he has for revising parking lot choice architecture. The basic proposal is to narrow the parking spaces closer to store entrances. Whittington explains two benefits.

Make parking spaces that are closer to store entrances narrower for the first 20 spaces, then get progressively wider up to the standard width 40 spaces from the entrance. People would park further out from the entrance because it would be harder to exit the vehicle close in and they would not care to have an older banged up vehicle bang up their nice vehicle. It would get people to walk more for better health. Handicapped spaces would continue to be the same large size but would have to monitored much more closely by parking violation dept. This would increase revenue to the city or county. Two, I think, good results from this small action.

There are many ways to tweak this idea for different types of stores and communities. There are also many behavioral consequences, pro and con, to consider. The Nudge blog thinks the heart of the matter is whether a parking lot painted in this way would alienate customers. Let us know what you think by voting in our online poll below.

[polldaddy poll=2272326]

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