Driving Today

Parking Lots Want More of Your Money

Raising revenue and going green are major initiatives for the parking industry.

You probably don’t think about it much, but parking is big business. It has its own industry group (the International Parking Institute), it holds a conference and exposition, and it looks to the future with studies and surveys. In fact, the most recent study -- The 2011 Emerging Trends in Parking -- has identified the industry’s hot-button issues, and No. 1 is “More revenue.” Parking professionals are not only finding increased pressure to boost parking revenue, but also looking for sustainable parking solutions. Cities are beginning to recognize that parking lots aren’t just vacant lots; instead, parking is gaining recognition as integral to urban planning, development and transportation solutions.

The survey revealed that the need to generate more parking revenue is the top trend impacting the industry, and IPI Executive Director Shawn Conrad explained that parking professionals “are being asked to do more with less as cash-strapped cities tap parking revenues once re-invested into parking and transportation-related services to fund non-related services.”

An increasing demand for green and sustainable parking solutions is the second leading industry trend, cited by more than one-third of survey respondents. Nineteen percent of respondents specifically identified the need to provide accommodations for alternative-fuel vehicles, including charging stations for electric cars, in the near future. Many parking garages are using energy-efficient lighting, solar panels, and innovative water and waste management systems to reduce carbon footprint.

More than one-quarter of survey respondents anticipate an increase in the use of smartphone apps to find, reserve and pay for parking, and a similar number see a move toward innovative technologies to improve access control. Other emerging parking technologies include automatic vehicle identification and wireless sensing devices for traffic management.



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