One problem is there are no citywide solutions across fragmented public and private parking providers. Occupancy data, if it exists, tends to have many owners and is not standardized or accessible in a way that would allow software developers to turn it into user-friendly applications. Thus, individual smart parking efforts so far have been locally successful but uncoordinated, operating in their own bureaucratic or entrepreneurial vacuums without taking advantage of universally-applicable insights to scale their operations citywide or globally. The gap between existing smart parking programmes and more widespread transportation system planning is, at the global scale, a massive missed opportunity for cities to reduce transportation-related emissions.
In addition to the challenges associated with multiple data owners and lack of standardization, smart parking solutions have been hindered by a lack of insight into the full benefits of smart parking programmes, particularly when compared to the cost of building additional parking spaces. Lack of collaboration among communities with smart parking pilot programs and lack of coordination among software developers, hardware providers, and municipalities also contribute to slower adoption of smart parking.
Developing smart parking solutions within a city requires data standardization and management; mobile phone integration; hardware and software innovation; and coordination among various stakeholders (on and off street parking facility owners, business owners, municipalities, transportation authorities, customers, and software developers). These technical solutions and stakeholders are the same data structures and development groups integral to making a smartphone-enabled, multimodal, fully integrated transportation solution a reality.
The future of parking
The next step in this emerging trend may be in-car services that allow drivers to find and pay for parking spaces. When you are in your car, it is not legal and it is dangerous to stop, pull over and start typing or texting. Companies like Parkopedia and ParkMobile have partnered with automakers like Ford and Volvo to allow drivers to access parking services, some of which are voice-activated from inside the vehicles.
With the advent of smart parking and more mobility alternatives to personal vehicles, better use of existing parking will drive decreased demand for parking – a move that encourages more varied development options..
- Chicago (US) based ParkWhiz allows to shop for, reserve and pre-pay for aa parking spot near your destination. Even generates a scan code where available. Promises savings of up to 60 percent.
- North America based ParkingPanda app sets itself apart by partnering with a slew of professional sports leagues, stadiums and family attractions so you can find a spot near your event. A referral program lets users earn free parking.
- BestParking app claims to have 850,000 monthly users, and originally focused on helping drivers find parking at off airport lots at 105 North American airports.
- AirportParkingReservations app is all about airport parking in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom, promising discounts of up to 70 percent at partner facilities. The site also operates ParkSleepFly, a site devoted to said deals, where travelers pay for a single night’s stay at an airport hotel in a package that allows them to leave their vehicle at the hotel’s parking facilities until they return (usually includes a shuttle to the terminal).