A couple of months ago I was lucky enough to attend the International Parking Institute’s conference in Las Vegas. There is a lot of talk around smart cities at the moment, and smart parking should be front and centre. Here are the 5 key trends I observed from around the world.
1. Big Data
The integration of intelligent transport solutions, geospatial and parking data from sensors, meters and cameras helps predict demand and helps improve commercial opportunities as well as improve a city’s management.
In one example an Authority mapped parking and travel patterns to time of day and weather data. This allowed for dynamic pricing. E.g. sunny Friday’s showed excess capacity and an opportunity to lower prices to encourage demand. Another example mapped demographic and survey data to parking data, and found a mix of theatre goers and baseball fans simultaneously using a parking facility. The car park offered theatre patrons premium spaces for $20, whilst the fans parked further away for $5.
Mobile cashless parking is a very fast growing category and is transcending the dated SMS and IVR phone solutions in favour of GPS/Cloud based solutions such as SPOT. The jury is out on using apps to discover spaces, as many of the authorities were cautious to encourage mobile phone use whilst driving. Integration with smart vehicle navigation systems such as BMW was also showcased.
3. Intelligent Transport Solutions (ITS) & Smart parking integration
It was often lamented that in many cities, the management of the roads and the management of parking is managed by separate and silo-ed entities. As we move to more ITS implementations such as driverless vehicles, connected vehicles, automatic number plate recognition and intelligent traffic signals, we can extend the prediction and risk management of traffic to the parking availability and access. After all, the transport journey doesn’t end until you’ve parked.
4. Green/ Community
Sustainable solutions from everything like the construction materials of carparks, to better navigation thus burning less fuel while looking for parking was a growing market. In line with the growth of mobile solutions, the requirement for environmentally unfriendly meters, machines and paper tickets is reducing. Community access to a city car park for events was also trending, for instance a community fete in a car park that is disused on weekends or after hours.
5. Social applications for wayfinding/collaborative consumption
Everything from apps that let you warn others in your area when a parking inspector is approaching, to “Airbnb” type schemes where you can rent out your parking space, the share economy has come to parking. Apps like Waze, where simply by having it on whilst you drive contributes to real time traffic data for everyone set the tone for a share economy based on minimising dwell time to commute and park.