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New Technologies, Mobile Apps, and a Focus On Customer Service and Sustainability Are Transforming the Parking Experience
Contact: Helen Sullivan
While it's no surprise that IBM's recently released global parking survey found commuters in 20 countries frustrated with their daily hunt for parking spaces, parking industry insiders say things are looking up on a number of fronts, including mobile apps that make parking easier to find, better collaboration with cities and urban planners, use of smart parking technologies, and an increased focus on customer service.
"There is increasing recognition that parking needs to be part of transportation planning," says Shawn Conrad, CAE, Executive Director of the International Parking Institute (IPI). "If we want to solve parking problems, then parking expertise needs to be tapped early in the planning process. This new study confirms what we know: parking matters. "
According to Conrad, the parking industry is committed to transforming parking into a positive experience. IPI's 2011 Emerging Trends in Parking Survey found that technology, sustainability, and increased customer service were among the top trends in the parking industry.
Some of the frustrations associated with parking will ease with expanded use of cashless parking, innovative technologies and intelligent parking management systems. Mobile apps, hi tech signs, lights and other devices now make it possible to locate available spaces, making parking operations and traffic flow more efficient. In addition, greater cooperation between parking professionals and transportation and city managers and planners will lead to progress.
"The benefits of getting parking right go beyond convenience," explains Casey Jones, CAPP, IPI Chair and Director of Transportation and Parking at Boise State University in Idaho. "The economic vitality of communities depends on access. What's more, 'cruising' for a spot is reduced when parking is readily available, which greatly reduces carbon emissions and contributes to sustainability, another area where parking is undergoing a transformation."
Jones says the number of parking garages that meet environmental standards is on the rise with increased use of such innovations as energy-efficient lighting, solar panels, innovative water and waste management systems, and recycling, as well as accommodation for bikes, car-sharing and electric vehicles.
As a recently released parking video explains, "Parking isn't about staying in one spot, it's about moving people forward."
The International Parking Institute is the world's largest association of parking professionals and the parking industry. www.parking.org