technology make quantum leaps over the
next decade as it did with smartphones over the
Parking – the neglected ugly sister
Parking has reached a crunch-point as we head
for the smart city of the future. Car parks are
invariably dirty, smelly, expensive – and full.
You wouldn’t leave your car in most car parks
unless there was no alternative and, in
almost every city around the world,
parking remains a grudgepurchase.
claimed, “I love parking,” just
as few people ever professed
their love for taking a taxi.
But people do love Uber,
and the question is why?
A lot of it has to do with
the human element. “Bob,
4.9 stars, will pick you up
in two minutes,” injects a
real driver into the equation.
Bob likes conversation and
has completed 4,300 trips.
The year by which one 1890
pundit calculated that horse
manure would be piled up
to third floor windows in
Manhattan, unless another
form of transport could
His photo suggests he’s a
nice guy, which leads to a,
“Hello Bob!” when you enter the car, and
a great chat all the way to the airport
ensues. If only parking were the
same (it will be).
Parking marketplaces such as
Kerb are changing the face of
parking as most of us know it. Why
park in a commercial car park
when you can now book a
space in a church or a hotel or a
driveway for half the price, and
with a single click via an app on
your phone? The parking sector is where
the taxi industry was 10 years ago: a low-tech,
last-century mindset that has led to high prices,
high tempers and high blood pressure. The
more progressive car parks are removing their
gates and replacing them with Pay-by-Phone
and Pay-by-App solutions, but the real revolution
is yet to happen.
There is a huge opportunity to personalize
the parking experience in ways not dissimilar
to those adopted by Uber and Airbnb. Someone
who addresses you by your first name
and who greets you on arrival might
seem like a world apart from
the barrier-heavy parking
experience of today, but
it wasn’t that long ago
when there was a human at
the entrance to just about
every car park.
The future of parking
will be gateless, ticketless
and cashless. Most car park
operators just haven’t
realized it yet.
Claiming back cities
Up until the late 18th century, the
centre of urban civilization had always
been the marketplace. As the authors of The
Cluetrain Manifesto so colorfully put it in 1999, “A
few thousand years ago there was a marketplace.
Never mind where. Traders returned from far
seas with spices, silks, and precious, magical
stones. Caravans arrived across burning deserts
bringing dates and figs, snakes, parrots, monkeys,
strange music, stranger tales. The marketplace
was the heart of the city, the kernel, the hub, the
omphalos. Like past and future, it stood at the
crossroads. People woke early and went there for
coffee and vegetables, eggs and wine, for pots and
carpets, rings and necklaces, for toys and sweets,
for love, for rope, for soap, for wagons and carts,
SMART CITIES & PARKING |
has helped make
driving easier –
such as Kerb
(below) are making
parking easier, too
060 Intertraffic World | Annual Showcase 2020