Consulting / Studies

Navy Pier Parking Operations Review

Navy Pier


Originally constructed in 1916, Navy Pier is a 3,300-foot long pier that was a part of the Plan of Chicago developed by architect and city planner Daniel Burnham. Navy Pier consists of year-round entertainment, shops, restaurants, attractions and exhibition facilities. There are more than 10 distinct user groups each of which have different needs and expectations. Cultural attractions at Navy Pier include: the Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the Chicago Children’s Museum. Currently attracting over 9 million visitors annually, Navy Pier is Illinois’ most popular tourist and leisure destination.

In 2019, Navy Pier retained DESMAN to review, in coordination with partners and stakeholders, the existing parking operations and pricing strategies and provide recommendations for a sustainable and profitable parking pricing structure and management solutions for the future. Additionally, the assignment also required basic research on the cultural and commercial activities that generate visits to the Navy Pier, an understanding of the market pricing for each use, understanding of the impact of parking on the attendance at Navy Pier, recommendations to increase attendance, revenue and other identified objectives, keeping in mind the impact of public transit, ride-share and pre-purchased parking options that might affect parking on-site on Navy Pier.

The study effort resulting in a series of recommendations to improve communications between Nay Pier and its partners, rationalizing of parking discounts, Visitor single use pre-purchase options, Annual permits, special theater parking packages, additional employee parking, improved technology to control parking, incentives to partners to increase ticket sales and variable parking rate schedules. For each recommendation DESMAN analyzed the impact on attendance, revenue, costs and customer service for each of the use groups on the Pier. Overall, the recommendations were refined into a concise package to be implemented over a year long period. The improvements are expected to improve customer service increase attendance, simplify the rate structure, increase use of technology, and increase revenue.

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