The Cost of Parking: A Preliminary Analysis of Parking Tickets Data in Austin, Minneapolis, and Portland


Across all parking ticket types, the average amount for Austin was $35, compared to $53 in Portland, and $80 in Minneapolis between 2018 and 2019.

Parking tickets can serve as an entry point to the criminal legal system when left unpaid, causing lifelong financial burdens. Additional consequences include suspended driver’s licenses, loss of voting rights, and incarceration in some states. This report analyzes parking tickets’ location, dollar amounts assessed, and the type of violations for which tickets are assessed in three major cities–Austin, Texas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Portland, Oregon– between January 2018 to December 2019.  Each city issued millions of dollars in parking tickets without accounting for a motorist’s ability to pay.  Although this study did not find a significant correlation between demographic disparities and parking enforcement, the authors highlight other reports which found that tickets issued often concentrate in low-income neighborhoods and those with majority Black residents.

You can read the full text here.  

Key Findings:

  • Between 2018 and 2019, Portland and Minneapolis each issued $37 million in parking tickets, and Austin issued $9 million. 
  • Austin issued just over $9 per city resident, Minneapolis issued almost $89 per city resident, and Portland issued over $57 per city resident between 2018 and 2019.
  • Austin transfers unpaid tickets to a collection agency which may increase the fine by 30 percent and tack on fees. 
  • The leading cause of parking tickets by type included expired/missing meter receipts, failure to display registration, and parking in a no-parking zone.
Livia Mucciolo, Fay Walker, and Aravind Boddupalli
Urban Institute