Parking tickets are an important part of city revenue — so big that the 16 major U.S. cities we studied collectively pull in over $1.4 billion in annual parking ticket revenue.
U.S. drivers spend an annual average of $20 billion in over parking ticket payment costs. On average, U.S. drivers spend 17 hours per year searching for a parking spot at a cost of $345 per driver in wasted time, fuel and emissions. Of course, when you focus on the top 10 cities, those numbers skyrocket. New Yorkers spend roughly 107 hours searching for a parking spot and average 85 hours of wasted driving time at an individual cost of $1,785 each year.
- Street sweeping is the most commonly issued ticket, representing 41% of all parking citations from coast to coast.
For example, the City of San Francisco issued almost 540,000 street cleaning tickets for a value of $36,718,640.
- The other most common offenses are expired meter (24%), red zone (%), permit only parking (%), receipt not displayed (8%), and no parking zone (6%).
There’s no doubt that parking rules are complex. It’s almost natural that we get them wrong. In fact, confusing parking signs and rules bring in millions of dollars in city revenue each year.
Take San Francisco for example — some drivers have reported seeing red no-parking curbs with a parking meter. What about those signs that read “No parking 2 am – 6 am, except Sundays and holidays,” or the 1-hour pay-to-park sign followed by another that reads “3 1/2 hour parking after 6 pm”? The list goes on and it only gets more confusing.
Parking Fees across some major cities in the US:
- You can learn more about the total costs of tickets for major cities across the USA here.
- San Francisco has a $1,000 fine for obstructing traffic without a permit, a $110 fine for blocking a charging bay and an $83 fine for parking in a truck-loading zone.
- New York has a $115 fine for stopping, standing or parking where signs, street markings or traffic control devices do not permit you to do so. It has a $65 fine for standing or parking at an angle to the curb and a $165 fine for parking in front of a pedestrian ramp.
- In Chicago, you can get a $150 fine for blocking a fire lane, a $150 fine for parking or standing in a bicycle lane and a $200 fine for parking in a disabled parking zone. The city of Boston boasts an $83 per capita ticket revenue.
Whether it’s forgetfulness or inability to pay the fines, late fees on parking tickets are especially common among 25–34-year-olds. Millennials are most likely to leave a parking ticket unpaid for an extended period of time with 40% neglecting to pay their parking tickets until 60 days have passed, and another 30% saying they wait at least 30 days to pay — accruing one or more late fees.
New York and Colorado residents are also notorious for accruing late fees, with 22% of drivers waiting at least 30 days to pay their tickets. Meanwhile, Massachusetts drivers had the longest outstanding parking tickets of all the states surveyed — 14% of the drivers said they’ve left at least one parking ticket unpaid for 10+ years.
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