The next time you’re trying to find a parking space you may want to break out the calculator.
In a paper published by the Santa Fe Institute, the team presented three typical approaches drivers use as they are searching for a space, the goal of all of them being to save the most time while minimizing the amount of walking required to reach the final destination.
The Meek strategy is simply grabbing the first empty spot you find; the Prudent strategy involves parking in the first space you come across that’s between other parked cars; while the Optimistic strategy is to go all in looking for the closest space to the entrance then backtrack to the last one you passed by.
Multiple equations were required to determine which strategy was the most efficient, but the result they came up with was that the Prudent strategy was best, followed by the Optimistic one.
However, the study does come with a very big grain of road salt: It didn’t take into account competition with other drivers, something the authors said will need to be addressed in a future report.