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?
What is the future of parking?
#1 Autonomous vehicles will make a difference
There are many ways in which I believe parking will change in the future. The 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.
#2 It is important to enable car parks to operate digitally and with digital marketplaces
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.
#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, autoaccessoriesgarage.com
#6 Tech will reduce the time drivers spend looking for parking
Companies 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, thegentlemanracer.com
#7 Autonomous vehicles will have a positive impact
Today, 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, imgtec.com
#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, Sharaevans.com
#9 Phone apps and integrated GPS will become even more popular
- Corinne, skinnedcartree.com
#10 Space will be of the utmost importance
- Darren Cottingham, trgroup.co.nz
#11 No parking?
The cheapest parking structure is the one that you don’t build. In tech-boom cities where the workforce wants to live, work, and play within the urban core, parking is a lesser necessity because cars are a lesser necessity. Cities are investing in improved transit infrastructure while approving more housing to be developed without off-street parking.
There are creative solutions to the parking problem including: parking lot owners can rent out unused parking spaces; apartment operators can unbundle parking from rent; developments near mass transit are approved to build without parking; and cities like Philadelphia are implementing more challenging review processes for conventional parking structures.
Another future-proofing technique is to design parking structures for future adaptations. For example, the 1029-foot tower at 4thand Columbia in Seattle has 8 floors of underground parking, as well as four levels of above grade parking. And if the plans are approved, the above grade parking will be designed to someday take on a new life as apartments and offices. This is one way that designers are future-proofing their parking designs and building adaptable and sustainable infrastructure.
- Deborah Hanamura, paladinoandco.com
#12 Parking and the smart cities of the future
Urban areas are trending towards mechanical and automated parking structures as sustainable solutions to parking demand due to the shift in costs, land values, limited space, as well as a reaction to how parking evolves in our Smart Cities of the future. Consideration must be made for how buildings and their uses will change over time, and how the garage (or storage facility) should be able to be designed for adaptive reuse.
The emergence of the autonomous vehicle and growth of ride-hailing services will dramatically alter the design of the curb: on-street parking areas will be replaced with dropoff/collection areas and new urban amenities, and parking will be pushed into off-street high-density vehicle storage facilities.
These systems allow for the condensation of parking area, reduce carbon footprints, reduce the urban heat-island effect, provide greater security for people and vehicles, and are more cost-effective in the built environment. They offer better use of space in areas for parked cars that are generally underutilized or have low human occupancy at any given moment, thereby providing a sustainable approach to parking cars.
- Ryan Astrup, parkplusinc.com
#13 Parking spaces will need replanning and reconstruction
Over the next decade or two, the experience of parking will be redefined, and parking operators need to be alive to the challenges and opportunities this transformation will bring about. Those changes are already happening, and car park design needs to be responsive to that fact.
Some parking spaces are going to be located in the wrong place for continued use for parking, particularly in town/city centres, where vehicle access will become more restricted – but that offers great scope for repurposing and turning those spaces into vibrant community hubs. The widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles will mean that parking spaces will need replanning and reconstruction to alter how those spaces are used. This will allow for a more efficient use of those spaces, lower overheads and improved revenue intake. All of these phenomena will require efficient management and technology systems, but they will first need well-considered and informed design.
- Adrian Griffiths, Main Board Director, Chapmantaylor.com
#14 It's not about the technology but about the vision
I can only speak from my own experience. I do not make predictions that well. So the BIG question for me is: How do we help cities become loved by their residents? Even further, How do we help residents enjoy where they live. After pondering on this a lot, it became clear to me. If we want to make cities that are loved, we need to begin at the street level where people live. So we came up with a Smart Parking Bay sensor system to find a parking spot through an app, and we have generated some successes with this system. But it kept bothering us. Since parking bays sensors are expensive, hard to install and they are not always effective (for instance at lane parking).
We knew we had to take it a step further to come up with a genuinely encompassing solution, one that would rule them all and not only solve parking. That is why at Parkeagle we've built the StreetEagle Smart Road system. The wireless sensor system is installed at the beginning and the end of a street to count and analyze ingoing and outgoing vehicles. When it comes to parking, the system can accurately measure parking occupancy (for drivers to find a spot) in real-time for the entire street, but that's not all. It also measures traffic intensity, car speed and detects differences in types of cars. And finally it monitors road temperature, and in the future, it will be able to predict when maintenance is needed or when visual inspection is required.
All of this is available now, and pilots are on the way in the largest cities of the Netherlands. If we want to create cities that are loved we need to solve multiple problems at once using hardware combined with cloud-based software. But at the end of the day, it's not about the technology but about the vision and who benefits from this vision. That is where I stand.
#15 It's not about the technology but about the vision
When Amazon introduced the world to Kindle that has not killed the paper book industry. Instead, publishers have moved to promote the difference between books and e-books and reported a 31% rise in hardback book sales income from last year.
Just like publishers have embraced the challenges facing them with the move to digitization by engaging with their customers and promoting the benefits of analog media, parking management professionals need to meet the needs of the drivers by ensuring that modern parking technologies are effective and usable.