Advances in technology and focus on sustainability are transforming the parking industry: International Parking Institute

According to a just-released survey on parking trends , while parking professionals are finding increased pressure to boost parking revenue, significant trends centre on demand for sustainable parking solutions and advances in new technology that are revolutionizing the industry.

These changes are taking place at a time when the expertise of parking professionals is gaining recognition as integral to urban planning, development and transportation solutions.

The 2011 Emerging Trends in Parking survey was conducted online among members of the International Parking Institute (IPI) and released at IPI’s Conference & Expo, the world’s largest gathering of parking professionals with more than 225 exhibitors and nearly 2500 attendees from 25 countries.

The survey reveals that the need to generate more parking revenue is the top trend impacting the industry. Nearly half of professionals (44 per cent) placed increasing revenue at the top of their list of significant parking trends.

IPI executive director Shawn Conrad explains that parking professionals “are being asked to do more with less as cash-strapped cities tap parking revenues once re-invested into parking and transportation-related services to fund non-related services.”

An increasing demand for green and sustainable parking solutions is the second leading industry trend, cited by more than one-third of survey respondents. 

In a related concern, 19 per cent of respondents specifically identified the need to provide accommodations for alternative fuel vehicles, including charging stations for electric cars, in the near future.

Conrad explains that parking is more compatible with sustainability than most people realize. A critical element of the transportation equation, well-planned parking can increase use of mass transportation, reduce the number of commuters and decrease cruising for parking.

He adds that many parking garages today are using energy-efficient lighting, solar panels, and innovative water and waste management systems to reduce the carbon footprint.

In addition to parking revenue and sustainability, survey respondents signalled that new parking technologies belong atop the list of emerging trends.

About one-third of IPI’s survey respondents see an increasing demand for cashless or electronic payment methods.

More than one-quarter anticipate an increase in the use of smart phone apps to find, reserve and pay for parking, and a similar number see a move toward innovative technologies to improve access control.

Industry professionals also cited other emerging parking technologies such as automatic vehicle identification and wireless sensing devices for traffic management.

These technologies are already revolutionizing the industry.

About 23 per cent of the survey respondents cited an increased need for improved customer service as an emerging trend.

“Parking matters to people and we never lose sight of the need for customer service,” Conrad says. “The industry is focused on ways to make the parking experience more efficient, more environmentally-friendly, and more satisfying.”

The complete list of trends with the most impact on the parking industry is:

  1. Increased demand for finding ways to increase parking revenue (44 per cent)
  2. Increased demand for green parking and sustainable parking solutions (36 per cent)
  3. Increased demand for cashless or electronic payment (32 per cent)
  4. Increased use of cell phones to find, reserve and or pay for parking (27 per cent
  5. Increased move toward innovative technologies to improve access control (24 per cent)
  6. Increased need for improving customer service (23 per cent)
  7. Move toward more public-private partnerships (23 per cent)
  8. Improving accommodation for electric cars/charging stations (19 per cent)
  9. Increased appreciation for integration of parking in project planning phase (16 per cent)
  10. Increased use of wireless sensing devices for traffic management (14 per cent)
  11. Increased need for improving security (10 per cent)
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