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Parking Model and Approach

One of the unique challenges parking administrators face is that virtually everyone is their customer. As much as they would like to, not everyone can park at the front door. When planning for parking there is a built-in conflict, and this conflict revolves around three primary factors: COST, CONVENIENCE, and SUPPLY (Walker, 2005).

Parking Model Triangle

The principles of convenience, inexpensive and sufficient/supply at each point are in direct conflict. Only two principles of the parking triangle can be met, but not three.

  • If the parking is inexpensive and convenient, it will not be sufficient.
  • If there is sufficient parking and it is inexpensive, it will not be convenient.
  • And if there is sufficient parking and it is convenient, it will be expensive.


Parking can be shared among a group of employees rather than assigned to specific individuals. Shared Parking takes advantage of the fact that most parking spaces are only used part time by a particular motorist or group, and many parking facilities have a significant portion of unused spaces, with utilization patterns that follow predictable daily, weekly and annual cycles. For example, 100 employees or residents can usually share 60-80 parking spaces without a problem since not all employees will drive to work at one time. A clear example of the difference between restrictive and shared parking is seen in shopping center parking lots. The stalls that are the least utilized are the disabled stalls because they are the most restrictive. The more restrictions we place on stalls, the more costly those stalls become since fewer people can use them. Specific to UC Irvine, creating a shared system (not a 1:1 ratio) allowed UCI T&DS to delay building, while keeping rates as low as possible. Shared parking allows for the most efficient use of parking facilities.

Shared Parking can be applied in many situations. It is particularly appropriate where:

  • A specific parking problem exists.
  • Land values and parking facility costs are high.
  • Clustered development is desired.
  • Traffic congestion and/or vehicle pollution are significant problems.
  • Excessive pavement is undesirable.

Shared parking allows for the most efficient use of parking facilities.


A goal or benchmark for “reasonable convenience” for all is defined as parking within a 10-15 minutes walk from one’s destination.


Present parking fees are consistent with this model. T&DS’ budget would benefit from an extended budget and planning cycle allowing long-range savings to off-set the cost of campus growth.

Transportation Systems and Parking Program Principles

The University of California, at each of its ten campuses, operates a comprehensive transportation system to support its faculty, staff, students, and visitors in the pursuit of the University's core academic mission: instruction, research, and service. Transportation systems are designed and operated within the context of each campus's Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) to support and enhance the physical setting and design, environmental protection measures, and accessibility needs. Transportation systems are designed and operated to meet the current and long-term needs of the campus community (faculty, staff, students, and visitors).

Parking is a Fee-Based Transportation System Service

  1. Within the context of the University’s transportation system, each campus provides limited parking facilities for its faculty, students, staff, and visitors. In conformity with the University’s implementation of the 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education in California, parking is offered as a fee-based service and operated as an auxiliary, self-supporting enterprise.

  2. Parking facilities are a fundamental part of the transportation system. The University recognizes that automobile access to each campus is a transportation alternative for faculty, students, staff, and visitors.


  1. Transportation systems are a critical component of each campus’s Long Range Development Plan which provides for various forms of campus access. These systems must be consistent with and support Long Range Development Plans.

Rate Structures

  1. Each campus establishes and implements a parking facility use rate (fee) structure that supports the campus transportation system.

  2. Parking fees are consistent with these principles and information regarding the campus transportation system programs supported by parking fees is publicly available.

  3. Parking fees may differ according to different types of access, proximity to various buildings and locations, use patterns, etc. Parking fees for the same access shall not differentiate according to groups of individuals (i.e. faculty, students, or staff).

  4. Parking fees shall not support non-transportation system-related expenses.

  5. Employee parking fees shall not be paid for by funds available to the University.

  6. Chancellors may grant exceptions on the basis of highly meritorious academic recognition such as the Nobel Prize.

Capital Costs

  1. The cost of capital and operating expenses related to the parking system shall be recovered from the users of the parking system.
    Campuses may include other access costs related to vehicle operation on the campus, costs of projects that mitigate the adverse impact of parked vehicles, and costs of programs that may reasonably be expected to reduce the demand for parking on campus.

  2. Where parking facilities are not operated by the campus parking system and are developed by campus auxiliaries such as housing, athletics, and dining, these auxiliary services charge users for all or a portion of the capital and operating expenses related to those parking facilities.

  3. The use of University-owned land is considered a subsidy to the transportation system. Parking fees do not normally pay for rent of University-owned land as a cost to the parking facility in its rate structure. In the past, one campus has charged the transportation system for the cost of land but no new projects shall be assessed for land costs.
    Exceptions may be made for parking facilities owned and operated by third-party vendors on University-owned land, or where non-University-owned land is rented or leased for parking facilities. In these instances, the payment of rent may be calculated into the rate structure.

  4. Consistent with Principles 1, 9, and 11 above, the University uses only non-state funds to finance the capital costs of parking facilities. The University has not sought state funds for parking because of the critical need of state funds for academic facilities.
    Parking in the core campus is an interim land use, subject to displacement by essential core facilities as the campus grows. The University views the use of this core campus land for parking facilities as an interim subsidy.
    When academic buildings (essential core facilities) replace these parking facilities, the University does not use state funds to replace these displacement costs. Because of this, the cost of replacement parking facilities is normally borne by the parking system. On occasion, where non-state funds are available, they may be used to pay replacement costs.
    Similarly, parking revenue funds may be charged when construction of new parking facilities causes other facilities to be displaced.
    The value of parking and other facilities (replacement costs) varies according to the University's calculations of capital costs, and each campus will use a model for replacement costs that reflects a consistent application of campus facility replacement costs.


  1. Each campus has in place a procedure for the review and approval of parking programs and fee structures. This procedure should include input from campus advisory committees made up of members of the campus community who participate in the campus consultation structure.

  2. Campuses should provide access to information about plans for Parking Program services, including projections for rate increases in future years.

  3. [Click here to download 2002 UC Parking Principles]

University of California, Irvine, Campus Principles

Policy Statement Regarding Parking Fees

Transportation and Distribution Services is established as a self-supporting auxiliary enterprise (receiving no state appropriations) in accordance with UC Business and Finance Bulletin, BUS 72.

University parking fees shall provide sufficient annual revenue to support the cost of operating, maintaining, and developing University parking and alternative transportation programs, traffic control, and related services. Parking fees shall be set to retire debt obligations and to meet debt coverage requirements.

No person or organization shall be permitted to use University parking or transportation facilities or services without payment of the appropriate fee. Displaying a parking permit in the vehicle is evidence of payment.

It is University policy that every user of campus parking facilities pays the appropriate parking fee. Event sponsors may make arrangements to cover parking fees for their patrons. The event sponsor pays the fee normally charged to event patrons plus the labor costs associated with stationing attendants to distribute parking permits. The status of the event sponsor, whether for-profit or non-profit, has no bearing on charging the appropriate parking fees.

Laws and Enforcement on the UCI Campus

The vehicle code laws of the State of California, the ordinances of the City of Irvine, and the parking and traffic regulations of the University of California, Irvine are in effect on University property 24 hours daily and are enforced by Transportation and Distribution and the UCI Police Department.

Responsibility for Compliance

Parking on the University of California, Irvine campus or on properties owned, leased, or contracted for University use is a privilege available only as provided by the parking policies and regulations of the University of California, Irvine. Transportation and Distribution may revoke this privilege because of theft or misuse of parking facilities or services.

The operator of a vehicle on property owned by the University of California, Irvine is responsible for complying with all parking and traffic laws, ordinances and regulations and is subject to the established penalties for violation. If a vehicle owner's identity cannot be determined, as in the case of a parked vehicle, the University considers the vehicle's registered owner responsible for the violation.

Parking Facility Use, Designation, and Closure

The University reserves the right to limit the use of parking areas to specific vehicle types as required by facility design or other considerations. The University may change any parking zone designation. The University may close, either temporarily or permanently, any parking area. Advance notice of parking area changes or closings is provided whenever practical.


The University of California, Irvine assumes no liability or responsibility for damage which may result from the use of parking facilities or services, or enforcement of regulations.

Parking Policy and Regulation Notification or Changes

Parking policies and regulations are public information and are available in hard copy from Transportation and Distribution Services.

Changes in parking policy or regulation are effective upon approval by the Chancellor or the Vice Chancellor - Division of Finance & Administration. Whenever possible, the UCI community is notified in a timely manner prior to implementation of changes.

Disabled Parking

Parking in disabled spaces is restricted to those individuals who have secured an authorized disabled placard from the state, and to faculty, staff, and students who have a medical authorization form on file with Transportation and Distribution Services. Faculty, staff, and students who are disabled are not exempt from the payment of fees for parking a vehicle on campus. Faculty, staff, and students who have DMV-issued disabled parking placards must bring their placards to the T&DS Office when purchasing permits.

The number and dimensions of disabled parking spaces and van-accessible disabled parking spaces are determined by ADA guidelines and specifications.

Fines and Forfeitures

Section 21113a of the California Vehicle Code authorizes the University of California to issue parking citations (tickets) and to establish penalty amounts.

Administrative Review of Citation (Parking Ticket) Issuance

A vehicle owner/operator who believes that a violation notice has been issued in error or in an improper manner may request an administrative review of the conditions for issuance of the citation.

Towing and Impounding Vehicles

Transportation and Distribution Services is authorized by Sections 21113a and 22651 of the California Vehicle Code to tow and impound (immobilize) vehicles.

Alternative Transportation and Ridesharing

Transportation and Distribution Services supports the use of ridesharing and other alternative modes of transportation as a means of limiting vehicle trips made to the campus by employees and students, thereby reducing pollution and helping the University to comply with South Coast Air Quality Management District Rule 2202.

UCI Transportation and Distribution Services
200 Public Services Building
Irvine, CA 92697-4525
Phone: (949) 824-7275
Office Hours: Monday - Friday 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM
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