Department of Parking and Traffic_Introduction


The Budget Analyst of the City and County of San Francisco has performed this Performance Audit of the San Francisco Department of Parking and Traffic (DPT) pursuant to direction received from the Board of Supervisors under the authority granted by Charter § 2.114.

Project Scope

The scope of this performance audit included a comprehensive audit survey and selection of specific subject areas for detailed examination and analysis.

In addition, the Budget Analyst performed a follow-up review of the status of findings and recommendations resulting from our separate performance audit of City Parking Garages, which we conducted in 1993.


This Performance Audit of the DPT was performed in accordance with standards developed by the United States General Accounting Office, as published in Government Auditing Standards, 1994 Revision by the Comptroller General of the United States. Accordingly, this performance audit included the following basic elements in its planning and implementation:

Entrance Conference: An entrance conference was conducted with the DPT Executive Director and management staff to discuss the performance audit scope, procedures, and protocol.

Pre-Audit Survey: A pre-audit survey was conducted to familiarize the performance audit staff with the operations of the DPT, interview upper management, and collect basic documentation regarding DPT operations. As a result of the work completed as part of this pre-audit survey, areas of DPT operations requiring additional review and analysis were identified.

Field Work: Field work was conducted in the specific areas which we determined would be included in this study. Middle managers, supervisors, and line personnel were interviewed to obtain details regarding DPT operations. In order to complete the analysis contained in this report, we also conducted extensive sampling of DPT records.

Analysis and Preparation of Draft Report: At the conclusion of the field work phase of this study, we conducted detailed analyses of the information collected. Based on these analyses, we prepared our findings, conclusions, recommendations, and estimates of costs and benefits from implementation of our recommendations. This analysis was incorporated into a draft performance audit report, which was then provided to the DPT for review.

Exit Conference and Preparation of the Final Report: An exit conference was held with the Executive Director and other upper managers of the DPT to review the details of the report, and to identify any areas of the report requiring clarification or correction. Based on this exit conference, and further discussions, we considered the comments and clarifications provided by DPT management and this final report was prepared and issued to the Board of Supervisors.

Current Organization, Budget and Staffing of the Department of Parking and Traffic

The primary operating divisions of the DPT are:

  • Enforcement and Parking Services - including Enforcement, Citations Division, Residential Permit Parking and Adult School Crossing Guards;
  • The Bureau of Traffic - including Traffic Engineering and Traffic Operations; and,
  • The Parking Authority - which oversees and operates City-owned Parking Garages.

Other operating and support functions include Administrative Hearings, which adjudicates parking citations, and the Budget and Finance Bureau which includes Personnel and Information Services.

The total Fiscal Year 1998-99 budget of the Department of Parking and Traffic is $53,352,523, funded from the following sources:

General Fund
Offstreet Parking Fund
Road Fund
Project/Grant Funds

The budget summarized above does not include a General Fund reserve in the amount of $1,660,000 for the electronic parking meter replacement program. As discussed in this report, these funds will not be expended in the current Fiscal Year because the DPT is now preparing a request for proposals to implement the electronic parking meter program through the use of contractual services.

FY 1998-99 expenditures and budgeted programs are displayed below.

Departmental Administration
$ 2,646,163 
Parking Citation Division
Residential Permit Parking
Traffic Engineering and Operations
Departmental Transfer Adjustment
$ 53,352,523 

The DPT budget includes 638.1 funded positions, distributed among budget programs in accordance with the following table.

Departmental Administration
Parking Citation Division
Residential Permit Parking
Traffic Engineering and Operations

As can be seen from the table above, the vast majority of the DPT"s personnel are assigned to enforcement. Of the Enforcement Program"s 378.7 total positions, 337 are Parking Control Officers (305), Senior Parking Control Officers (27) and Parking Enforcement Superintendents (5).


Performance audits by nature focus on opportunities for service improvements, greater operational efficiencies and enhanced effectiveness. We must note however, that the Department of Parking and Traffic should be commended for its accomplishments as well. This report includes many examples of such accomplishments.

In addition, it should be recognized that the DPT is in the middle of a process of significant change and faces many challenges. Early in 1998, a new Executive Director was appointed for the DPT, the Department"s seventh (including interim Executive Directors) since its formation approximately ten years ago.

In July, 1998, the Budget Analyst presented a detailed report to the Board of Supervisors Finance Committee concerning a proposed contractual agreement with a private vendor to provide parking citation processing services. The implementation of the contract and resulting significant changes in departmental operations, which have been ongoing during our performance audit project, are discussed in Section 5 of this report.

In January the DPT received Board of Supervisors approval to accept and expend $3.54 million in Federal grant funds for implementation of the first phase of a state-of-the-art Integrated Transportation Management System (ITMS). The ITMS is intended to use "intelligent transportation technology" to provide significant, measurable improvements to enhance traffic safety, improve transit operations, reduce congestion and travel time, improve responsiveness to special events and/or incidents, keep travelers informed of traffic conditions, and enhance operations and communication among DPT, CalTrans, the Department of Public Transportation (Muni) and other transit and transportation agencies.

The ITMS will include many technological innovations including:

  • Automated traffic volume and congestion monitoring;
  • Remote monitoring (closed circuit television cameras) to provide real-time data collection at key intersections and on critical street segments;
  • Variable message signs, internet displays and direct links to the media to disseminate information concerning street closures, roadway construction, parking availability, and alternate routes;
  • Automated traffic signal operations that would detect signal malfunctions and notify maintenance personnel of such malfunction, thereby decreasing repair response time and improving traffic safety and flow.

DPT estimates that implementation of the ITMS project on a City-wide basis will eventually cost $43,000,000.

Also, as mentioned above, DPT will soon be submitting a proposal to the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors for installation of electronic parking meters City-wide and implementation of related operational systems. This proposed project is further described in Section 4 of our report.

Organization of this Report

This performance audit report is organized into seven sections.

The subject areas addressed herein are as follows:

Section 1 - Enforcement
  1.1 - Parking Control Officer Productivity
  1.2 - Parking Control Officer Deployment
Section 2 - Workers Compensation
Section 3 - Fleet Management
Section 4 - Parking Meter Program
Section 5 - Implementation of the PRWT Contract for Parking Citations Processing
Section 6 - Adult School Crossing Guard Program
Section 7 - City-Owned Parking Garages

The Budget Analyst would like to acknowledge and thank Executive Director Stuart Sunshine, his deputy directors and the management and staff of the Department for their cooperation and willing assistance during this performance audit

Without the assistance and cooperation of all members of the Department of Parking and Traffic who we worked with, our task would have been extremely difficult.