Unbundled residential parking

Unbundled residential parking detaches the cost of parking from the cost of renting or owning a home. For example, condominiums often include a parking space in the price of the home. Detaching the cost of the residence from the parking space allows buyers to pay for parking only if they need it.

Key characteristics





WSDOT regions

Other names

  • parking cash out

Strategy description

Often local governments require developers to provide a minimum number of parking spaces for residential units.The cost of these parking space(s) are folded into the cost of rent or purchase price. If the number of parking spaces exceeds the need, this inflates rent and purchase costs.  

A minimum number of parking spaces per unit requirement can result in higher housing costs, underused parking spaces and/or higher car ownership (if you give people the space they may be more inclined to own a car). Unbundled parking can result in:  •    Reducing the cost of housing •    Building parking spaces based on need versus regulatory requirements •    Reducing car ownership •    Incentivizing people to use transit, walk and/or ride a bike   

When to use this strategy

Unbundled parking makes sense:

  • In urban areas where there are multiple multimodal transportation options available such as walking, biking and public transit in close proximity.
  • In communities frustrated with paying high costs for parking spaces they don’t use.
  • To offset property costs in mixed income communities.

A study in New York City found “provision of residential off-street parking effect(s) community behavior. Thus decreasing the amount of off-street parking, which unbundling encourages, is likely to result in decreased vehicle trips among commuters.” (FHWA, Contemporary Approach to Parking)

What you need in order to implement

Policy needs:

  • Often requires changing regulatory parking policies from parking minimums to maximum parking requirements.
  • Requires working with local planners and elected officials to change regulatory statutes in the zoning codes to allow unbundled parking. 
  • Can consider policies that allow “cash out” options for the buyer when not purchasing parking spaces.

Planning needs:

  • Requires collecting data to determine actual parking needs based in part on the availability of other transportation options.

Coordination needs:

  • Requires working with local planners and elected officials to change their regulatory statutes (often zoning codes) and establish parking maximum requirements. 
  • Often requires educating elected officials and developers on the benefits of unbundling parking, such as reduced construction costs for not building parking spaces.

Learn more about this strategy

Contemporary Approaches to Parking Pricing: A Primer, Transportation Research Board: Unbundled Parking.

Parking Links, Donald Shoup: Resource for parking related topics including case studies on parking policies

About key characteristics

Location notes:

Highly urbanized, suburban and downtown centers with multimodal options including robust transit service pedestrian and bicycle facilities. 

Cost notes:

Unbundling parking may require changing local and/or state laws to remove parking minimum requirements. 

Technology notes:

No technology is required for unbundling parking requirements.

Collaboration notes:

Unbundling parking requires working with local agencies, elected officials, and developers to establish policies and consensus on parking maximums.