Create flexible and futureproof parking
Provision of parking and its subsequent management is a topic never far away from the top of the agenda for a Local Authority. Parking requirements vary greatly depending on how an area has been built, what amenities are nearby, what other transportation is available and how the local population chooses to use the road network. It can provide a means of revenue or encourage the use of local services, but it is often a source of frustration that will never please 100% of the public.
If you are responsible for parking, you face the daunting task of maintaining a system that has to work for the majority of users, while also keeping an eye on future needs and the changing way drivers will be using the road network and supporting infrastructure over the coming years.
One way that journeys are changing is how members of the public now look for more of an all-round experience to their day out. This might entail a combination of shopping, a visit to the cinema with perhaps lunch or coffee as well. This type of experience can be seen in full effect in destination locations where a combination of shops, restaurants, cinemas and even sporting arenas can be found all together on one site.
This means the parking arrangements around these types of venues need to cater for different types of use which raises a number of questions. Do you need short term parking when a driver simply needs to pop into a shop? Is there a need for longer parking when a cinema visit and dinner are combined? Decisions need to be thought through over issues such as is it free or chargeable?
Is there need for enforcement? How can the parking spaces be as fully utilised without over capacity issues? And are there new ways for a Local Authority to cater for these very different needs outside of the traditional pricing per bay mechanisms?
So how do you make sure your parking provision is flexible enough to accommodate all uses?
It may be that the continued introduction of technology will start to help solve the challenges of requirements in car parks. Driver are increasingly using technology to plan their days, including journeys to and from destinations. Many of us already use our satnav or Google / Apple maps to check the current state of the roads for the journey ahead. Why not add into this picture the current availability of parking? A local authority providing a heads up on where there are parking spaces available as part of a driver’s planning is clearly beneficial to the driver’s overall experience—getting them to their destination quicker, with the added benefits to the local authority of a reduction in congestion, pollution and most likely an increase in revenues through greater utilisation of parking spaces.
Clearview understand that it’s not a case of simply switching on the data feeds tomorrow morning, but if the parking strategy and plans for future years start from a consideration of how best to utilise current parking to the maximum and how this may change in future years, then plans can be put in place to accommodate new ideas and new technologies.
As the global parking industry matures, new technology is developing rapidly with lots of focus on monitoring usage and providing connected data and information flows out to the road users through websites, apps and signs displaying live information. It’s not just using single bay sensors and in – out counting, as new video analytics and radar monitoring are developing their accuracy, they are moving into serious consideration for certain types of car parks. It’s worth pointing out that there is no one solution (not yet) that works for all circumstances, but there are enough options out there that combinations can provide a very good car park monitoring and information solution.
Don’t look for the final perfect solution, look for partners that can grow and change with your changing needs. Look for solutions that can work with other technology and can plug into existing ideas as well as future changing needs.