Los Angeles. CA. Here in the city of Angels driving is the only way to get there, and when you get there you have to put your car somewhere. The University of California at Disneyland has conducted a three-year study of parking lot dynamics that will be published in the June edition of Parking Monthly. The startling results of the study are that human behavior and parking lot inefficiencies permeate through society and negatively affect Gross National Product and National Productivity. Preliminary results estimate that a 1.3% negative impact on GNP, and that costs the country billions of bucks.
The negative effects aren't news to most drivers because they feel the costly delays every time they drive somewhere. The largest component of the draw on GNP comes from drivers who cruise lots looking for the closest spot to their destination. The study termed these drivers 'optimum destination seekers' but for the purposes of this article we will call them 'parking lot vultures'.
This relatively small cross section of drivers waits for spaces that possibly will become available by blocking the way for those behind and others leaving. Each car blocked is consuming gas and wasting valuable personal time, and thanks to the behavior an additional 0.5% of national gas consumption is added. The behavior of the parking lot vultures contributes indirectly to numerous societal problems; waste of fossil fuels, increased driver rage, depression, obesity, late for dentist appointment, miss the opening of the movie, and terrorism.
Human nature and laziness gravitate the driver to park as close as possible to where ever they are going. However the UC Disneyland study determined, adding all variables, that the search for the closest spot by proximity is counter intuitive and that the closest parking space is really the farthest one available. The far space is arrived at and departed from much quicker, and that saves minutes, gas, frustration, and adds a modicum of healthy exercise.
The findings of the UC Disneyland are unlikely to change the parking lot vulture but for the few who actually understand the conclusions life will be more rewarding.