Sachin Naik: So, enforcement is a problem. I have spoken to people in the government who said that the recovery process costed them three times the amount for the parking fine to be collected. One the point on parking revenue, you often think about revenue being deployed for better use of the city but the problem really is that for any road space, these are multiple agencies responsible for construction, development, revenue collection, parking space allotment and the recovery process. Coordinating between all of these authorities is a huge challenge and all of these are government departments but everyone wants a slice of the revenue because often they are under-budget on various things. Unless you actually figure out where the parking revenue is going to go in the first place, it can be a bit of a challenge.
Harmeet Malik: I think, the government must first give it a human approach and create some harmony. That is possible by having an effective system of public transportation and by discouraging people as far as possible from using the private vehicles. Some cities have had haphazard growth and it is difficult to create space for parking.
In on-street management, there is often the dominance of unauthorised groups. This has to be solved. An atmosphere where people have the confidence that they won’t be bullied into things, has to be created.
Rajesh Krishnan: Corruption is of course a problem that we will deal with and that is an entirely different topic altogether and that is not easy to solve. The concept of maximum parking is very, very interesting from a policy perspective. Now we need to enforce to make sure that people are not flouting the rules, whatever policy the city comes up with and that is where technology comes into the picture. So, what is the technology that will probably work in India to ensure that we can implement a policy and run a system.?
Sachin Naik: One approach would be using sensors. But the challenge in India is that most people may not park right on top or right under a sensor which is a real problem. Or imagine five bikes on one car parking spot. If sensors are used effectively, it can solve many problems but they can be expensive. Especially if you have one sensor for each parking spot then that is not really financially viable, so the challenge is finding capital for that. Ultimately, it is the integration and the experience that you create around a sensor that can create new habits but it has to be at an affordable price.
– Sachin Naik
D Grunzig: My impression is the whole world is talking about smart cities and smart mobility. But a city is not going to be smart because of the usage of high quantity of technology. The city is only going to be smart by the selection of the right technology for the right application. Smart parking means it is fixed to the requirements of the society or of the city. In this case whether we are using sensors in the ground, whether we are using cameras, sensors or smartphones, it doesn’t make a difference; these are just enabler.
Wilfred Menezes: Before anything else, we require to get our parking a little bit more organized. If we go to any parking, we don’t see the parking base. Now technology will work subjective. Technology will never work if you don’t follow discipline. For example, you have ground sensors to send the data whether there is a car or the spot is empty. Now for example, if this guy is parking the car in between the two sensors, the purpose of putting the sensors will be defeated. In India, the markings are ignored and even if there are markings, people don’t follow them; they park over the lines. So, first of all, we need to accept that we need to redefine our policies, then in our smart cities all concepts will work very well.
RM Alagappan: It is important to have integration. First of all how do I know whether this car is parked in a legal parking lot or in an illegal parking lot. This can be known only when the major stake holders’ database is getting integrated. For example, I would say the integration should happen with the transport authority, the space creation is with the civic authority and the enforcement is with the police authority. So, these three should sit together and data sharing should happen first, only then we can come to a conclusion whether it is in the right space or it is in the illegal parking. Yes, technology is important; before that integration should happen.
Malik: So, the government has to think of having one body that has all the power to take all the decisions to decongest the roads and create those parking spaces, however or whatever the situation is of that area.
Alagappan: What you call Unified Mass Transportation Authority can be an umbrella body which will have all the major stakeholders within the city level and then the state level also. Say for example, for a good public transportation system, the major stake holders I would say, the transport authority, concerned metro officials or STUs and third would be the civic authorities who create the infrastructure facilities and then the fare. So, not only the public transportation, but also the managements of IPTs – autorickshaws, taxis. Now we are working with many Indian cities to form an umbrella body wherein it is going to have some powers also to fix up and decide the routes on the public transport operation and what kind of system is required.
– Harmeet Malik