Sometimes it feels like technology works against us. When it comes to parking, a variety of providers in the market can complicate travel from A to B. We may find ourselves downloading or redownloading different apps for payment, then spending time retyping card details, personal information and location data.
A trip into town can snowball into something stressful, all before we even leave the car park. In fact, research shows that half (50%) of motorists admit to avoiding particular retail parks or shopping centres because they think they’re likely to encounter parking issues there.
But technology shouldn’t be a source of frustration. The advent of an open market in parking, with multiple providers available in one location, can empower motorists with wider choice, and bypass some of these historical inefficiencies.
Europe is ahead in the parking game—and it’s making other regions envious. In turning our gaze towards European cities, we can find some great gems, case studies of parking done right. And Copenhagen is one of these cities.
In Copenhagen, during the IT boom of the early 2000s, the city tried to implement SMS and IVR parking. Despite massive funding with a rigorous tender process, the project ultimately failed. In 2010, only 10% of the total revenue came from the mobile payment system. So, the city changed tack. Copenhagen opened up a free market strategy in the 2010s for smartphone apps to pay for parking. New choice for users, coupled with growing competition in the industry, has made Copenhagen a shining beacon for multivendor success.
Uptake of smartphone payments helped facilitate the removal of parking machines, and in merely two years, the mobile payment usage rates climbed over 50%. Copenhagen is a great model for what could happen in cities like London.
The potential benefits of an open market prove that properly managed parking experiences are about so much more than a rectangle of asphalt and a few white lines
With other regions moving again, providing digital convenience will be a huge revenue driver for councils. The UK is a case in point. On Friday 28 May 2021, according to data from the Department for Transport, car traffic hit 101% of the average level seen in the first week of February 2020. The increase in traffic coincided with the start of some school holidays, good weather, and the bank holiday weekend. With added traffic, councils need to be strategic about managing their roads and car parks. Local authorities can reap huge productivity and efficiency advantages from open market solutions.
In an open market councils benefit from data-driven insights, with aggregated reporting across providers and machines, reduced costs and increased uptake of cashless parking. This creates competition and increases focus on innovation for councils and end-consumers.
The potential benefits of an open market prove that properly managed parking experiences are about so much more than a rectangle of asphalt and a few white lines. By going open market, we can follow in Europe’s footsteps and ultimately improve the overall transport experience.
The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Automotive World Ltd.
Peter O’ Driscoll is Managing Director at RingGo
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