Will microtransit services reduce parking demand? Are they shifting trips from transit or using a personal bike? Are these inducing travel by making it easier and faster to travel short distances? Dockless electric scooters are making inroads in some cities and are becoming more regulated. Perhaps converting or adding dockless device parking where bike parking is located is prudent. It remains to be seen if these microtransit services will be profitable and worth incorporating into planning processes. When mobility-as-a-service becomes possible, microtransit should have a place in travel planning and seamless paying.
LPR and Gateless Parking
Can parking garages and lots be operated with license plate recognition (LPR)-based payment and enforcement exclusively? Have we seen the end of parking meters, pay stations, and gate arms? Can parking be factored into emerging mobility-as-a-service solutions via LPR? When parking facilities become staging areas for TNCs and/ or autonomous vehicles, automated vehicle detection and payments will be needed. While vehicles could be equipped with a device like an E-ZPass, all vehicles have a license plate that is valid everywhere. Perhaps LPR becomes a way for AVs to pay for parking/staging/charging at a parking facility. If that is the case, will gates and pay stations be necessary? Until cash is gone and humans no longer drive and park, parking equipment should continue to be useful. However, the day is coming when barrier-free, LPR-based parking payment and enforcement will be the norm.
Amplification of Transportation
Is it possible to crack the challenge of real-time ride-sharing—trip, location, and time? Is this service best accomplished with TNCs and ride-matching apps versus dedicated vehicles and routes? When AVs can carry larger passenger loads, perhaps services such as Chariot and RidePal will be economically viable. Until then, daily ride-matching apps seem to have found a viable place. Combining daily ride-matching with LPR-based parking management should allow use of preferred carpool parking and sharing commuting costs for daily carpools. Transit agencies have begun considering using TNCs to provide on-demand trans-portation, particularly for lightly used routes or during offpeak service hours. Arguably, TNCs can be a more cost-effective way to provide needed transportation when ridership loads are low.
Under what conditions does it make sense to pay the extra upfront costs for adaptive reuse (see p. 36 of the May 2019 issue for more)? Depending on the location of the facility, age, design, and ownership, it may or may not make financial sense to build a parking facility to accommodate an autonomous vehicle future. Can the property be redeveloped? If so, perhaps when parking demand declines to the point where a garage is no longer needed, it may be best to redevelop the property.
A growing aspect of our roles as parking and mobility professionals is to stay aware and informed of these and other trends and advances in our profession. In some cases, our best approach is to wait and see how the trend plays out.