Parkpnp Blog

Why Empty Car Parks Are Harming Communities…

Parking is a massive global issue. By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in cities, yet our cities don’t have enough space to grow? The fact of the matter is that there are 100 football pitches worth of land in Manhattan alone, crying out to be developed and the beauty is that developing them into housing, community facilities, sports pitches and transport infrastructure and nobody will even notice.

Where is all this land? It’s currently designated as under-used car parking space. In every city in the developed world, experts estimate that there are 3 parking spaces for every 1 car. Every time I tell this to someone, they say “Well not in my city, parking is a nightmare”. I can tell you it is in your city. Every day as you desperately look for somewhere to park you will drive past business, homes, office, apartment blocks with empty parking space at their building, you just aren’t allowed to park there.

The reason this happens is historical. Cities were planned and evolved without the understanding of the technological advancements of the last 20 years. This means that cities planners but parking everywhere to cover all scenarios. Let’s take a theoretical example which will sound familiar to everybody:

  • Apartment block with 100 apartments is designated 100 spaces.
  • An office block with 250 staff is designated 100 spaces.
  • A shopping mall is designated with 200 spaces.

It all makes sense right? Ultimately people need somewhere to park?

SO HOW IS THE SPACE WASTED?

Now let’s say that all these buildings are within 200m of each other.

In the apartment block, only 70 of the spaces are ever used because a significant number of residents don’t own a car. Of the remaining 70 people, 40 of them use their cars every day from 8 am – 6.30 pm to travel to and from work.

UNDERUSED SPACE ALERT:

  • 30 Spaces empty all the time.
  • 40 Space empty during working hours Monday-Friday.

The office block has more staff looking to park than spaces available, one day the CEO arrived and had nowhere to park. He gave HR an earful, so they introduced a system where they designated 50 of their spaces to senior management to ensure they all get a space.

There are 50 spaces available on a first come, first serve basis for the rest of the staff. A surplus of roughly 25 staff each day having to park in the shopping centre. The ironic thing is that the senior staff with designated space are super busy and don’t tend to be in the office too often. In fact in keeping with industry average, they are out of the office roughly 25% of the time, meaning that around 12 designated parking spaces are lying idle at any given time but nobody is allowed park in them because they are “reserved”.

The office only work Monday to Friday 9am until 5.30pm, so all their spaces are empty during the evenings and at the weekend.

UNDERUSED SPACE ALERT: 

  • Average of 12 spaces empty at any given time during the week.
  • All 100 spaces lying empty at the weekend.

The car park is quite during weekdays, with occupancy regularly dipping under 40% as the mall is quiet with people working. The shopping mall is quite busy during weekday evenings and often reaches 60% capacity. During the weekends it’s often at 80% capacity and coming up to big holidays it hits 100% capacity every weekend. They’ve thought about reducing their parking in the past but tenants were not happy, they need to maximise football in the busy periods especially to ensure profitability.

UNDERUSED SPACE ALERT: 

  • During weekdays (daytime) you’ll find 100 empty spaces. During the weekday evenings you’ll find 80 free spaces and at weekends you’ll only find maybe 40 free spaces.
  • Roughly 6 weekends a year there are no free spaces.

Logic has been applied to the size and management of all the car parks but still there seems to be a lot of empty spaces right?

SO WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?

Now imagine if technology could join the dots in real-time.

Imagine if the office could use a system like ParkOffice to forecast the number of staff who need parking and allocate them space accordingly, ensuring they only use the space they need at any given time.

Then imagine, that a service like Parkpnp became widespread where residents in the apartment block rented out their parking space to the office block and the shopping mall when they weren’t being used.

All of a sudden you are in a place where technology is optimising the organisation of parking.

Everyday, 70 cars from the office park at the apartment. 30 cars park in the shopping mall. This allows the office to sell their office car park which is bought by the city council and is now being developed into a new school.

Even with the extra 30 cars from the office, the shopping mall never has more than 100 cars parked there during working hours. In the evening times and at weekends, 30 visitors are now parking in the apartment block. Meaning that during the year there are only 12 days where there are more than 130 visitors in the mall car park at any given time. Recognising this the city council signs a deal to lease a third of the car park of the shopping centre for pop-up basketball courts. All facilities are movable, meaning that coming up to holidays each year the basketball courts are closed temporarily and made available as parking space again.

LET’S MAKE A LONG STORY SHORT…

In the sample above, simply by using technology, a city has gone from having three “busy” city centre car parks to now having space for a new school and new basketball courts in a really densely populated area. This could happen without having any negative impact on the local community. It’s really win-win.

It might sound idealistic but this is how parking will work in the future. The technology is almost there, it’s simply a case of showing people that there is a new way of doing parking and it’s better.


Daithí de Buitléir

Daithí de Buitléir