The Future Of Parking Experts Roundup

2nd January 2019

Technology is advancing at an incredibly fast pace. Only a few years ago, most people hadn't heard of AI nor machine learning.

What about the future of parking? Do you think parking will become smarter? Greener? More efficient? What about parking in a driverless world, where AI, the cloud and blockchain have become the norm?

We asked top experts in the field to offer their opinion on the future of parking in this roundup. What about you? What do you think will happen?


#1 Autonomous vehicles will make a difference


There are many ways in which I believe parking will change in the futureThe first big change for parking is going to be the growth of autonomous vehicles. In the future when all cars are autonomous car parks will need no facilities like lifts or stairs as people will be dropped off at their destination before reaching the car park. However, before we get to this point car parks design will need to reflect the needs of both standard and autonomous vehicles as the space required and payment methods will be very different.

The issue of disabled parking and Blue Badges may become obsolete when cars become autonomous as nobody will need extra space to get out of their cars. There is also going to be a significant increase in vehicles needing EV charging points and some car parks may become just charging stations for cars. There may be a significant reduction in the need for parking as more people work from home and shop online as well as generation Y not owning cars like past generations did. However, we won’t see the disappearance of car parks any time soon as there are still many cars on the roads that still need to park.

-Helen Dolphin,

#2 It is important to enable car parks to operate digitally and with digital marketplaces

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The way consumers purchase services is changing fast. They demand visibility of all products on offer, transparency in pricing and the convenience of simple and quick (read cashless) payments. The parking industry has responded with unprecedented levels of investment from Silicon Valley in digital-first parking marketplaces, while major car manufacturers are supporting new digital parking startups, but operators must seize the opportunity.

It is important to enable car parks to operate digitally and with digital marketplaces, as I believe the future will be one in which marketplaces play a significant role. To claim otherwise is to be in denial of the disruption we have seen elsewhere – and we at NCP would rather be part of the disruption than attempt to stand in its path.

-Max Crane-Robinson, Commercial Director at NCP


#3 I foresee carparks changing into “Service Car Parks”


As people are increasingly moving around the world, there is more necessity for different modes of transportation. If you think about the difference in demand for transportation between day and night you will understand that all these cars, buses, vans, motorbikes and bicycles will need a parking space when they are not in use.

As autonomous driving and car sharing is becoming more and more popular, I foresee a different need while these vehicles are being parked. Think about parking spots as a service point, or as a point to load the groceries. Car sharing will decrease the amount of cars in a city, which is good as the amount of parking spaces are limited. Autonomous driving will lower the time taken to reach your destination and will decrease the time to find a parking spot due to IoT solutions. This lowers the CO2 emissions. In summary, I foresee carparks changing into “Service Car Parks” but don’t forget that this might take 20-40 years, as we still have so many car owners who don’t want to get rid of the driving experience. Furthermore, don’t forget that all car owners have made a big investment to drive their car.

- Jorrit Weerman, CEO Parking Network


 #4 The future is enabling travelers to reserve parking spaces at the airport while booking their trips


Travelport and The Parking Spot have partnered on a solution for travel agents across North America that would enable travelers to reserve parking spaces at the airport while booking their trips. In an effort to further simplify how travelers prepare for their upcoming trips, travel agents and corporate travel managers that are already using the Travelport Smartpoint booking system can easily install a new plug-in that offers access to The Parking Spot’s inventory of near-airport parking properties.

This ability to reserve a space at the point of booking eliminates one more necessity in the booking process for a complete trip.

-Simon Ferguson, President & Managing Director, Travelport Americas


 #5 Driverless vehicles will change everything


With the rise of driverless vehicles, car ownership is expected to drop and the ability to have your car park itself a few blocks away will be commonplace. This will leave many urban and suburban areas with lots and lots of available parking lots. After all, most areas currently have laws and regulations that dictate a parking lot of a certain size must be built to accompany any new building based on its square footage.

When the trend of driverless cars leave many of these parking lots largely empty, we’re likely to see many cities or municipalities relax their requirements for parking lot area to make way for additional businesses or micro-parks.

- Jim Milan,


#6 Tech will reduce the time drivers spend looking for parking

Michael_Satterfield_The_Gentleman_RacerCompanies like Bosch and Delphi are working on a number of new solutions that will change the way we park in urban environments. Last fall I spent a few days with Bosch at their proving grounds testing some of the latest technology, ranging from self-driving cars to pedestrian avoidance. But the parking technology that they are working on was the most interesting. Driving a Tesla Model S around Detroit, a secondary screen with a GPS like function was showing in real time all of the available parking spaces in the immediate area. As we drove, or as parking spaces were filled, the map would update.

Users could even select the type of parking, based on free or payed, parallel or pull in, street or parking garage. We should start seeing this technology being integrated into factory GPS systems shortly. The reduced time drivers spend looking for parking will not only make navigating the urban jungle much less stressful, but it will reduce emissions and cut down on commute times.

- Michael Satterfield,


#7 Autonomous vehicles will have a positive impact

Bryce-JohnstoneToday, approximately 30% of all car journeys are to find a parking space. This is frustrating for the driver and damaging to the environment. Looking to the future, with the application of crowdsourced information, camera and sensor data, and edge and cloud-based AI, we can reduce this burden on the driver, car and city.

Autonomous vehicles will be able to go off and park themselves, either in a specialist car park, space or parking zone. This will have a positive impact on the user in terms of productivity as well as benefit the environment and help reduce congestion.


- Bryce Johnstone,


#8 Driverless vehicles will change the car ownership model + the parking industry will need to evolve


The advent of autonomous vehicles is going to dramatically change the parking industry - especially as we look out into the 10-year plus future when fully autonomous vehicles become the norm. If things continue in their current direction, car ownership will start to become less and less common, especially as driverless vehicles are able to pick up and drop off people on demand for a fraction of the cost that services like taxis, Uber, Lyft and others charge today - because there will be no need to pay salaries to drivers. The main costs will be owning the robotic vehicle fleet, servicing the fleet, insurance, and likely just topping up the vehicle with “fuel” from an electric energy source, which might even be solar panels on a vehicle's roof.

Not only that, but even where people still own their own vehicles, they will increasingly be controlled by AI’s that are capable of taking the car into ride-sharing mode whilst not in use by the owner, or even returning to home base if it makes sense from a distance perspective. Of course, all of this will take place over a period of time - as many of today’s car owners will be reluctant to give up the freedom of having a vehicle that they fully control.

Nonetheless, car park owners will need to radically change their mode of operations. We are already seeing ticketless car parks, and this will be a given going into the future. And, all car parks and outdoor parking spaces will be armed with sensors that are able to direct vehicles to vacant spaces - or use robotic parking machines to place cars into their slots. And, it’s likely that these sensor outfitted parking spaces will be broadcasting their parking fees as well - in effect bidding for patronage. Car parks will also need to be outfitted with electric charging stations - as most future vehicles will be electric or hybrid-electric. And, car park owners will need to think about value-added services that can be provided - such as washing and polishing vehicles as part of the standard parking service (perhaps using “soft” robots that are even gentler than a human hand).

And, some forward thinking car park owners with large assets in office buildings are already looking at ways of re-utilising building space such as pop-up farms, green 'living'' walls, community gardens and greenhouses. Entrepreneurial car park owners may find that instead of being a place to park vehicles, they’ve created a community hub for fresh produce!

- Shara Evans, Technology Futurist and Keynote Speaker,


#9 Phone apps and integrated GPS will become even more popular


I see phone apps and integrated GPS being more and more common, with the ability to pay instantly when you parked after being sent a notification. As well as GPS systems being able to highlight free parking spaces using sensors to save you driving around and around carparks. 
As we become more and more environmentally friendly, I also see the possibility of a charging system based on how eco friendly your car is, with those that are better for the environment having a reduced rate.

- Corinne,

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