How does parking interplay with the built environment and affect automobile commuting in high-density cities? A case study in China

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3299-3317
Journal / PublicationUrban Studies
Issue number14
Online published27 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


This study investigates an important but often overlooked problem – the interaction between parking and land use – to examine the effects of the built environment on car commuting. Using the case of Shenzhen, China, a structural equation model is employed to examine the tripartite relationship among the built environment, parking supply and car commuting. The parking–built environment relationship partly reflects the parking supply mechanism that is collectively influenced by the parking market and regulations. The results indicate that, because of the high cost of constructing parking, property developers are reluctant to build sufficient parking spaces for the residential population in densely built neighbourhoods with small lot sizes. However, minimum parking standards often lead to more parking provisions in dense central locations. Therefore, the benefits of compact land use and transit-oriented development (TOD) for reducing car use are either reinforced or offset depending on the various interrelationships between parking and the built environment. In the context of policy implications, a fine-grained urban fabric should be particularly supported, considering its significant effects in reducing car commuting, as well as its potential role in fostering a well-functioning parking market. Meanwhile, imposing parking caps in dense and central areas would be wise because parking oversupply encourages more car trips, which counteracts the sustainable merits of dense developments.

Research Area(s)

  • car commuting, China, intermediary effect, parking availability, parking–land use interaction