Analysis of Parking Programs and Policies in Providence

By Amelia Murray-Cooper

In Associate Professor and MetroBridge Faculty Director David Glick’s 2022 Local Policy Analysis Lab course undergraduate students performed an analysis of Providence’s residential parking permit program and researched how other cities’ policies and programs compare. They explored inequities in car ownership and usage, community participation in overnight parking programs, incentives to reduce car use, and the value of off-street parking. One student team took a trip to Providence, talking to residents about their experiences with the City’s parking programs, while another interviewed market experts to understand the relationship between parking and real estate. At the end of the semester, each team presented to City of Providence staff and finalized reports summarizing their findings.

When asked to describe what he hoped students gained from the MetroBridge course, Professor Glick said, “Three related things: 1) Further appreciation of all of the dimensions and moving parts and ambiguity there is in even relatively mundane real world problems, 2) a sense of how valuable clear thinking and clear application of their skills can be in these situations, and 3) realization of how many judgment calls you have to make in any research, especially the applied kind, and how to make those in a thoughtful but confident way that you can explain and justify.”

students presenting their work at the IOC
Students presenting their findings on curbside management policies in Providence.

The MetroBridge Program is the Initiative on Cities’ experiential learning program, which helps connect BU students and faculty to local governments in a series of real-world projects. These projects provide students the unique opportunity to work on impactful projects with neighboring cities, while also offering partner organizations valuable insights for addressing urban challenges.

Liza Farr, City of Providence Curbside Administrator, shared her experience working with the MetroBridge Program and Professor Glick’s class: “I hope I get to do this every year. The students and staff for the Initiative on Cities were professional, organized, thoughtful, and creative. They helped me to see the problem we were trying to solve from new angles and with renewed energy. I will be drawing directly from their findings as I move this work forward.”

Students Marilyn Rutecki, Katherine Sabido, Jinge Cao, Nick Marshall, and Kathleen Grasso were awarded the MetroBridge Student Prize for their work analyzing Providence’s residential parking program, with particular emphasis on pricing. They compared Providence’s parking program to cities across the U.S., presented case studies of parking policy reform, and used a regression model to estimate the value of a residential parking space in the City. Read their report here

Learn more about other spring 2022 MetroBridge projects here, and find the fall 2022 course list here! To stay up-to-date, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter.