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Just looking for parking

just looking

Looking for parking is just part of driving in busy cities. But do you know how much time you spend looking? In fact, you can spend 14 hours each year just looking for a parking space. It’s ironic that a machine built for travelling spends 95% of the time parked.

Just looking

According to a Here Technologies survey in 2017, 80% of Australians drive to work and each driver:

  • Spends 14 hours per year looking for parking
  • Travels an extra 560 kilometres each year at 40kmh, just looking
  • Spends $70 on 59 litres of fuel, which is $1.3 billion per year for all drivers.

Unfortunately, most Australian cities have fewer than 20 parking spaces per 100 CBD workers. The cost of parking all day can be prohibitive, sometimes $50.

More spaces

One way to meet the problem is to create more spaces. For example, the Australian start-up, Parkhound, came up with the idea of space-sharing. It works like AirBnB, where owners of parking spaces rent them out when they are not using them.

Parkhound claims we spend a whopping 3,120 hours of our lives just looking for parking.

If you drive a vehicle for 60 years of your life, that equates to 52 hours per year! The company also claims 43% of drivers spend over 15 minutes looking for a parking space, each time they travel.

These figures may sound overblown. But a US study found most US drivers spend 17 hours per year looking, while New Yorkers spend 107 hours. The British government says drivers spend 5.9 minutes each journey, which equates to 90.5 hours or 4 days a year looking for parking.


These figures are alarming. It doesn’t matter where you live, the process of looking for parking is rarely enjoyable. London drivers, for example, have these common attitudes:

  • 44% are stressed
  • 59% are frustrated by drivers who park badly and take up two spaces
  • 48% are annoyed by lack of spaces
  • 27% don’t like car parks that are difficult to navigate.


Another symptom of parking trouble is overpaying because you can’t predict how long you will stay. Start-up CellOPark says Australians pay $15 million too much because they overfeed meters. (Its phone software allows you to pay only by the minute.)

None of these solutions gets to the nub of the problem. Owning a vehicle that spends most of its time stationary is inherently wasteful. Remember, the fixed costs of maintaining your vehicle – registration, CTP insurance – are the same whether you drive or not.

  • Vehicle sits in garage 95% of the time (49.4 weeks a year)
  • NSW drivers can pay over $1,200 per year for rego, CTP, pink slips
  • 5% of time you need it (2.6 weeks a year) costs $462 per week plus petrol and parking.

Perhaps the convenience of owning is well worth the price. Or you might think twice about owning a vehicle. Tell us on Facebook.

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Corrina Baird

Writer and Researcher, greenslips.com.au

Corrina used to lend her car to her kids and discovered what Ls, Ps and demerits mean for greenslips. After 20 years in financial services and over 8 years with greenslips.com.au, she’s an expert in the NSW CTP scheme. Read more about Corrina

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