Have you ever thought about how many miles you log while you’re looking for parking? In just one day near the UCLA campus in Los Angeles, drivers rack up more mileage looking for parking than the distance of a trip across the United States.

An article in March’s Time Magazine (available here for Time subscribers or on newsstands) cites research done by UCLA urban-planning professor Donald Shoup to show how much waste is generated by cruising for parking.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Studies suggest that up to 30% of downtown drivers may just be looking for a place to park their cars. Shoup’s research, conducted on 15 blocks near the UCLA campus, illustrates how a little cruising can add up. He and his students found that the average time a driver spent hunting for parking was 3.3 min.; the average distance covered was a half-mile. That means that over the course of a year, the search for parking around just the Los Angeles campus would add up to 950,000 miles of travel, along with 47,000 gallons of wasted gas and 730 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. “In a day, the amount of cruising was more than the distance across the U.S.,” Shoup says.

But to cut down on cruising and price parking spaces so people will want to pull into them, we need data. That’s where Fybr comes in. As an example of how data can help, the Time piece points to SFPark, a San Francisco smart-parking project we’re very familiar with. Why? Because we provided the sensors for it, the world’s single biggest parking-sensor installation.

So what happened when our sensors went in and the data was made available? Let’s go back to the article:

“By the end of the test, drivers were spending only half as much time – about five minutes – looking for parking as they had before.”

Whether it’s the time spent searching for parking, the miles of driving saved by having more available spaces, or the countless gallons of gas not burned by circling, we’re committed to helping people live their lives better by improving our communities. SFpark was just the beginning for us.

Spend less time in traffic and more time enjoying your day. We can help.