Park and Ride Investment Strategies

June, 2014

In 2013, VDOT completed a statewide Park and Ride Lot Inventory and Usage Study, which included, but was not limited to, a full-scale audit of all of Virginia’s P and R lots, a new set of web pages to help users find P and R lots to use and a compiled list of recommendations for new, expanded or enhanced P and R lots.

During this study, it was determined that approximately 75 percent of Virginia’s P and R lot spaces were being used, with some lots not having enough spaces to accommodate all of the demand. With a high percentage of the P and R spaces being at or near capacity, VDOT recognized a potential need for additional P and R lots across the state.

In order to provide P and R lots that are conveniently located and feasible for commuters to use, VDOT conducted a data-driven study to determine where investments in P and R facilities are needed throughout Virginia. The goal of this effort was to develop a P and R investment strategy for each of VDOT’s nine construction districts.  

The recommended investments range from newly constructed lots, to additional capacity and improvements to safety and visibility at existing lots to make the lots more user-friendly.

The compiled list of recommendations from the 2013 VDOT Park and Ride Lot Inventory and Usage Study was the starting point for the analysis used in VDOT’s Park and Ride lot investment strategies. The approach, methodology and outcomes of the study are summarized below:

Goal: To develop a commuter Park and Ride investment strategy for each VDOT construction district to guide funding for demand-management strategies to address congestion in Virginia.

A compiled list of recommended Park and Ride lot projects identified in the Park and Ride Lot Inventory and Usage Study was used as the starting point for the data-driven analysis conducted to help determine where investments in Park and Ride facilities are needed throughout Virginia. In collaboration with VDOT District Park and Ride coordinators, the following methodology was used:

Step 1: Compile recommendations by VDOT District

District staff assisted in the further refinement and compilation of Park and Ride recommendations to be considered in the development of the investment strategies. A total of 140 projects were identified for review and prioritization. The recommended projects included the construction of new lots, lot expansions and enhancements to existing lots.

Step 2: Develop project prioritization process

The project prioritization process was developed to give consideration to projects that:

  • Serve the greatest commuter or roadway demand
  • Provide the greatest benefit to the transportation network and/or
  • Are located in a Priority Investment Area (PIA)

Step 3: Define Priority Investment Areas

Priority Investment Areas (PIAs), those that may benefit most from an investment in Park and Ride facilities and/or other travel demand management practices, were identified based on the convergence of  population density, traffic volumes, traffic congestion, and proximity to existing Park and Ride facilities were the major factors used in defining the PIAs. A map of the PIAs defined in Virginia is shown here:

Step 4: Collect and analyze project data

The following data was collected and analyzed

  • Population density1
  • Commuter trends1  
  • Average daily traffic2
  • Roadway performance** from VDOT’s statewide planning system

Step 5: Score and rank projects

Projects were scored based on the following criteria:

  • Average Daily Traffic (ADT) – recommended locations with higher traffic volumes received more points to indicate a greater potential need for a Park and Ride lot.
  • Level of Service (LOS) – recommended locations with a lower LOS received more points to indicate a greater need for congestion relief.
  • Number of workers who travel greater than 25 miles from their home (50 miles was used in Bristol, Culpeper, Lynchburg, and Salem districts) – locations wherein the majority of commuters travel 25 miles or more received more points to indicate a larger number of potential Park and Ride lot users who may benefit from a Park and Ride lot.
  • Percent of workers who travel greater than 25 miles from their home (50 miles was used in Bristol, Culpeper, Lynchburg, and Salem districts) – rural locations tend to have a higher percentage of residents commuting longer distances.
  • Located inside a Priority Investment Area (PIA) – locations that fell within the designated PIA areas received additional points to indicate the convergence of higher population density, higher traffic level and a demand for additional Park and Ride facilities.

The recommendations were then ranked by score, for each VDOT Construction District. Up to 10 of the highest scoring recommended projectswere selected; resulting in 84 recommended priority investments projects. 3

Step 6: Create district investment strategies

Project data sheets were created for each of the 84 recommended priority investment projects to summarize key information related to the proposed project such as:

  • Project type, description, and location map
  • Project support
  • Commuter/roadway demand data
  • Transportation network benefit
  • Planning level cost estimate

An overview map of the VDOT Park and Ride Investment Strategy and project data sheets can be reviewed at

Project data sheets by VDOT construction district

Next Steps:

The investment strategies developed for each District will undergo further review to consider additional factors such as alignment with local/regional priorities, available funding and local support.

Over the next year, VDOT will look for opportunities to get these projects funded and implemented.  VDOT’s Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program plans to conduct this pro cess annually, in order to provide the Department with a technical analysis of Park and Ride lot needs throughout Virginia and to track success in implementing improvements.


  1. From the U.S. Census Bureau’s On The Map website
  2. From VDOT’s Statewide Planning System (SPS) database.
  3. Not all construction districts had 10 recommendations.
Page last modified: Feb. 26, 2019