The 2012 Emerging Trends in Parking Survey from the International Parking Institute (IPI) has seen increased demand for technology-related innovations account for half of the top ten trends in today’s $30 billion parking industry. Among these trends include, cashless, electronic, and automatic payment systems; real-time information about parking rates and availability via mobile apps; and wireless sensing devices for improved traffic management.
According to a press release from the IPI, the survey results reflect the demand for technology, sustainability, revenue-generation, and customer service that are converging, as planners come to the realisation that parking matters to the design of more walkable, livable communities and to broader transportation issues.
More than one-third of respondents surveyed see the demand for green or sustainable solutions as a top trend affecting the parking profession. It is estimated that about 30 percent of the cars circling a city at any given time are doing so as drivers look for parking. This traffic congestion is viewed by survey respondents as being the single most significant societal change affecting the parking industry, and translating to incalculable amounts of wasted fuel and carbon emissions from an environmental viewpoint.
In terms of technology, the number one strategy for making parking more sustainable is energy-efficient lighting, followed by parking space guidance systems that aid in finding parking faster, encouraging alternative travel, automated payment processes, solar panels, renewable energy technology, and accommodating electric vehicles.
A chief problem identified by respondents is one which those in the parking profession are working hard to correct: decision makers need to consult parking experts earlier in the planning process to prevent a myriad of expensive retrofits and ongoing customer service issues.