In this great, sprawling country of ours, there are simultaneously too many parking spaces and never enough. But with 800 million spaces out there — about three per car on the road — it stands to reason that at any given time, many of those parking spots are empty. One company is trying to change that, though, by helping average human beings turn into small, hyperlocal parking garage operators, i.e. rent out their parking spaces when they’re not using them.
A single space in a driveway or backyard is hardly worth marketing, but if an online service can drastically simplify the discovery process, then suddenly “hidden” parking capacity can be unlocked. And it’s not just residential homes. Few companies’ parking facilities are precisely calibrated to the exact number of people who work there. With Parking Panda, a spare space or five can become a small extra revenue source.
Besides making money for people, peer-to-peer parking could provide all the normal benefits of improved parking efficiency — less gas wasted endlessly circling the block, less demand for more, more, more parking spaces. Yglesias thinks it could even create a political constituency to keep parking scarce (more money for the parking space owners!). And in theory, you could also rent a space to do something other than park a car in it — pop-up parking space park, anyone?