Let’s face it, most parking lots aren’t that attractive and take up a ton of space. As transportation trends evolve, a serious discussion about the amount of necessary parking is also occurring.
Parking has always been such a boring subject. Not anymore! The future of parking will require a more diverse and innovative approach than ever before.
According to a survey by the International Parking Institute, (IPI), technology and the desire for more livable, walkable, sustainable communities continue to transform the parking industry. Many of the trends shaping this industry directly correlate to changes in transportation, urban planning, and lifestyle preferences of Millennials.
Parking professionals are looking beyond parking cars and are changing their programs to consider improved conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians, bike/transit integration, car-sharing, park and ride, ride-sharing, and other alternative modes of transportation.
“Once we accept in urban land use, parking and transport that urban centers are here to stay, we will absolutely start designing for fewer cars, more pedestrians, and accommodations for shared use and autonomous cars,” says Michael Klein, CAPP, owner of Klein & Associates and a former IPI board member. Experts foresee parking spaces and garages being repurposed for housing, retail, and other public spaces.
Don’t expect them to go away anytime soon - but do expect them to change and even shift purposes. In an article he wrote for IPI’s magazine, Thomas Curtis, CAPP, a division manager for Platinum Parking in Houston, says autonomous cars with drivers will still need parking close to their destinations. When autonomous cars become more popular, he expects these cars would be restricted to “driverless zones” and garages could be built outside of the city center where “drivers send and summon their cars or driverless vehicles go to charge their batteries.”
How might the changing parking industry impact those who work in snow and ice management? A few things to consider:
- Increased pedestrian and biking traffic could increase liability and the potential for accidents
- Ride-sharing traffic, dropoff and pickup zones could increase congestion
- Conflicts between technology and real life. What happens when a patron comes to a site you service, uses an app to find an open parking spot, only to find your operator has piled snow there for staging?
- Servicing parking garages is already fraught with hazards. Adding technology (like sensors, robotics, etc.), can further complicate matters.
Now more than ever, it’s important for snow & ice management professionals to not only educate themselves on the trends that directly impact our industry but also those that will one day impact how companies service these areas.
Better use of parking
In 2011, the Cincinnati Zoo covered its Vine Street parking lot with 6,400 solar arrays. At peak operation, it supplies 20% of the zoo’s electricity. According to the EPA and Department of Energy, shaded parking also contributes to increased vehicle fuel efficiency.
A Netherlands scientist created bio-concrete that blends biodegradable capsules filled with bacteria and calcium lactate into wet concrete mix. When the concrete cracks and water enters, the capsules open and the bacteria feed on the lactate, producing limestone, which closes the cracks.
The way we think about parking may change in the decades to come thanks to emerging trends in urban design, technology, and the desire for more pedestrian-friendly throughways.
The parking industry is adapting technology at a rapid pace. Automated pay stations are now the norm, and it’s not uncommon to pull into an airport parking garage to find rows of green lights overhead indicating available parking spots. Growing use of sensors may one day allow you to look on your dashboard and be directed to an open spot anywhere in the city.
- Parking professionals who outsource facilities maintenance (international parking institute)
- The amount of time that cars sit unused and parked (UCLA Professor Donald Shoup)