On Feb 24 2022 / by Wyoming Paul

The environmental cost of congestion

Parking with Parkable means less driving, less frustration, less time waste - and less pollution

See how your business stacks up when it comes to sustainability with our FREE sustainability checklist

While we’re circling the block in town, trawling the congested streets for a parking spot and getting increasingly cranky, we’re also doing something else - polluting our environment. The ugly truth is that 30-40% of urban congestion in major cities is caused by people searching for a park, going in circles sometimes for five minutes, sometimes for far longer. That’s a lot of time and fuel spent on a totally joyless activity.

We did the maths,* and you can reduce your carbon footprint by 227kg of greenhouse gases every year simply by ending your search around the block. How to end the search? With Parkable, of course!

  • Parkable shows you car park availability in real time
  • The app allows you to reserve a bay 30 minutes in advance
  • Plus, if you want a long-term parking spot for guaranteed parking each day, you can easily find and pay for a parking subscription through the app

All of this means you can go straight from your front door to your guaranteed parking spot with no (stressful, lengthy, unproductive and pollutant) searching for a park in between. In fact, if just 10% of Auckland’s 118,000 CBD employees did this, that would be a GHG saving of over 4000 tonnes each year. And if 10% of Australia’s 10.7 million employees followed suit, our atmosphere would be saved from 242,523 tonnes of greenhouse gases annually.

In addition to the environmental benefits, there are a few more added bonuses to cutting down the commute:

  • Time: If you have a 25 minute commute (which is about average for New Zealanders and Australians), over the course of the year you spend 9 whole days driving to and from work. If 5 minutes each day are spent looking for parking, that’s 20 hours each year spent peering around for a parking spot. I think we can all agree… you have better things to do with your time.
  • Productivity: In 2015, congestion cost Australia an estimated $16.5 billion in lost productivity. That cost is predicted to reach up to $37.3 billion by 2030, unless something drastic changes. And in Auckland alone, congestion costs the city $2 billion per year.
“...commuting does not just take up time; it can also be stressful, tiring and expensive. Indeed, it seems that commuting to work is the daily activity that gives the least amount of enjoyment, with commuting home from work only marginally more enjoyable.”
- How’s Life? Measuring Well-Being, OECD 2011
  • Wellbeing: The average commuter certainly doesn’t need the OECD to tell them that driving to work is the worst part of the day. However, you might not realise that a long commute (and therefore less time away from work) can increase stress, reduce productivity, and worsen health outcomes.

In the cities we currently live in, not all of us can access efficient public transport, realistically walk or cycle to work, or afford an electric car. But what we can do is eliminate the time that we spend circling the block, searching for a parking spot.

At Parkable, we want every parking space to be book-in-advance, so there’s less congestion, and less of all the bad stuff that comes with it. Reducing parking-related congestion may be a small step, but it’s a step in the right direction, and one that we’re proud to be part of.

Know someone who may want to share their parking space with the community? Encourage them to list their car park on Parkable and earn income when they’re not using their space, and get a dose of dopamine for being part of the solution!

*The amazing congestion maths:

  • A 227kg reduction in GHG is based on 5 minutes spent searching for a parking spot each day, 260 times per year.
  • According to this academic article, in congestion the average driving speed is 35.5km per hour, and the average fuel consumption is 11.8l per 100km.
  • In five minutes of driving through congestion, that’s 2.95km driven and 0.348l of petrol used.
  • Every litre of petrol produces 2.5kg of greenhouse gases. That means that 0.348l of petrol creates 870g of GHG.
  • Over one year (260 days) of commuting, that’s 227kg of GHG produced while searching for a car park.