At the 2018 International Parking Institute (IPI) Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida, we’re learning a lot about where the future of parking could be taking us. Just as new technology has paved the way for more municipalities to bloom into smart cities, it’s also transforming parking from a singular activity into part of the larger picture of transportation and mobility. And with the rise of autonomous vehicles, bike share systems, and ride share programs, the way we view parking and the capacity in which we need it is changing.
RISING NEW MODES OF TRANSPORTATION MEAN PARKING NEEDS TO EVOLVE
Joshua N. Kavanagh, CAPP, Director of Transportation, University of San Diego and L. Dennis Burns, CAPP, Regional Vice President, Kimley-Horn and Associates
Mobility as a service and shared mobility are part of a sharing economy, which is leading to less car ownership and, in turn, less of a need for parking. Some say the demand we see for parking could be reduced as early as 2030, but in places like airports and some municipal parking venues, the impact is already being felt.
The rise of the smart city has brought with it the technology to introduce other modes of transportation. There are so many options for those who no longer feel the need to own their own vehicle: carsharing programs that allow you to drive by the hour or the day, ride-hailing apps, peer-to-peer programs, on-demand carpooling, and autonomous vehicles. While these modes of transportation all require a place for the vehicle to be parked at one point or another, there’s no telling whether that vehicle will stay inside the city and require on-street parking or space in a parking garage.
There are also other modes of transportation on the rise: bike sharing apps and personal electric transport, like electric scooters, bikes, unicycles, segways, and skateboards. Again, all of these modes of transportation will require a place to park them eventually, but the traditional parking garages and metered parking won’t fit the bill.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
Looking towards the future, it’s clear that these different modes of transportation are likely going to continue to grow as we see the smart city trend continue to grow. While change is difficult and it’s unclear how quickly autonomous vehicles will continue to enter the market, it is apparent that we need to start implementing changes now to prepare for this shift in how we look at transportation as a whole.
One option as we look towards the future is adaptive reuse parking. This is the idea that we can design new parking garages to be adaptable to other uses to account for parking demand reductions in the future. There is also a lot of speculation around re-purposing old parking garages that aren’t being used anymore and turning them into more productive and community-friendly spaces.
The idea of adaptive reuse parking was nothing but a theory until a few years ago, and as you can see, it’s now a certainty. So no matter what the future of parking holds, it’s clear it’s going to move quickly.