The best of parking 2021: The journey begins where the journey ends

Tuesday, 14 December 2021
parking Intertraffic spoke to five parking experts to find out what innovations caught their eye in 2021. A new product? Thoughtful utilisation of existing space? A ground-breaking project? A risk-taking city? Ivo Cré (POLIS), Martijn Pater (Fronteer), Neil Herron (GRID Smarter Cities), Jesse Heitlager (WPS), and Mike Strahlman (JustPark) provide the insight into the year in parking.

Best of parking 2021

1.Reshaping the public space according to Ivo Cré
2.Net zero cities and parking according to Martijn Pater
3.Reimagining kerbspace according to Neil Herron
4.Parking space according to Jesse Heitlager
5.EV charging according to Mike Strahlman

1.Reshaping the public space: E-charging and PaaS

Ivo CreIvo Cré (Deputy Director, POLIS) ‘To put 2021 in perspective, it followed 2020! Last year was there was a lot of focus on re-spacing and with COVID, of course. I think for a lot of cities this idea of re-spacing has been acquired as an objective, or it's part of the common practice now that we need to think about the usefulness of storing vehicles on-street, specifically in city centres.’

‘I'm not going to focus too much on re-spacing, but I think it's part of the deal now and it's also quantified in certain cities. Oslo, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris have stated objectives of cutting parking spaces, Utrecht also has joined that league of cities wanting to remove a number of parking spaces from the street. Against that background, the big challenge that has entered the minds of our audience, so parking professionals in cities, is electric vehicle charging and parking. So the idea that there are at the European level, and also at the national level, much clearer timelines for electric vehicle deployment. A good example of this is my own country Belgium, where the company car fleet will be electric from 2025.’

‘This has put a lot of pressure on local authorities to think of charging schemes to make the link between home charging and parking close to home. It adds to the complexity of parking because parking professionals are entering a new field with new stakeholders, new companies, new procedures, new technologies, new choices to be made. I think that that's really challenging.’

‘We are seeing a sector that is initiating the rapid deployment of charging infrastructure for principles such as "the right to plug". This means that if you requested the installation of a charging point at your home there would not be any objection from the grid provider or the local authority . However, that of course can also mean that you might change that request from "the right to plug" to "the right to park" and the notion that you can use a public space close to your home to charge your own private vehicle.’

‘We want to see a high rotation and a high value use of public space like ride-hailing drop-offs and pickups, or parcel or logistics functions for a short time, whereby others can use that same space when the need arises. This challenge is clearly complex.’

‘One last thing for me, is that I didn't really see the great leap in digital parking that I was expecting this year. We are in a year of consolidating basic digital functions, and then seeing how the innovations might build on that in future years. What’s also important is the idea of the parking space as the hub for the next leg of an intermodal journey. I have different operators who are looking for mobility hubs in their locations, and the inclusion of bicycle parking in municipal parking strategies, but also in the operations of private parking providers. This is the basis of the entire interconnection through MaaS as parking as part of the intermodal journey. I think that's also quite important and it’s something that is really happening.'

2.Net zero cities and parking: the end of the parking space?

Martijn Pater

Martijn Pater (Founding Partner, Fronteer)
‘For me, maybe it’s not an innovation as such, but the most significant development is the net zero cities movements. The ambition is by 2030 to have 100 cities in Europe that are net zero in terms of carbon. I think that is massive, that will give the world billions of euros invested. That will drive so many innovations, because it's simply a super big, audacious goal. Let's call it public innovation, or public intervention, or even policy intervention but whatever we call it I think it will mean a lot.’

‘A smart city is only possible when you create a wall around it, in this case a digital city wall, around city centres or entire cities. So actually, our vision is that the entire inner city will become a smart zone. We talk about parking spaces, or parking spots, but I think that concept will gradually disappear as traditional parking spaces become much more fluid. So we are talking to cities about a new idea that is actually a Dutch pun! “Parkeerplek”, which is parking spot, will become “Parkeervlek”, which is a painted space. So from a fixed coordinate space, it will become like a painted space. It doesn’t really work in English, I realise, but I think it will dramatically change the parking landscape.’

"We talk about parking spaces, or parking spots, but I think that concept will gradually disappear as traditional parking spaces become much more fluid."

‘Also, from a policymaking point of view if you move away from rigid parking spots in the inner city you create digital environments where you can actually regulate who's coming in. So if you’re a light vehicle or a green vehicle you can enter the city and you are guaranteed a parking spot, otherwise you can't.’

‘This is also social innovation. The funny thing is, when you look at kerbside management or parking management, in the end, it comes down to streets where people live and work. And how cool would it be if they could create the most optimal situation? So they can utilize the streets in the best way? This allows for city rules to be obeyed, but also for local application and it's all available on one platform.'

3.Reimagining kerbspace: EVs and CAVs

Neil Herron (CEO, GRID Smarter Cities)
‘Just imagine a world where, as a delivery driver you knew that space was available to deliver before you set off. How more efficient would your journey be? How much more could you deliver? How much money would the company save from operational efficiencies?’

‘Then imagine a world where such efficiencies would lead to fewer miles driven, reduced circling and idling. Thus reduced congestion would lead to air quality improvements from reduced emissions and climate change impacts from reduced CO2.’

‘That new world is not some utopian aspiration years in the future. It is achievable today and able to be implemented, following successful trials of the technology and policy considerations.’

"Dynamic management of restricted kerbspace is now going to be a ‘thing’ that will start to complement the concept of parking"

‘Dynamic management of restricted kerbspace is now going to be a ‘thing’ that will start to complement the concept of parking. It is the ‘other’ part of kerbspace that is not about cars and not about parking. It is about the ‘other’ road users whose activities are often placed in the too difficult to deal with box – freight, delivery and servicing.’

‘With rapidly diminishing kerbspace and increased demand the bookable bay is going to be an absolute necessity to effectively manage capacity. It is also going to be a brand new revenue stream for local authorities to flexibly manage and monetise this new three dimensional asset and offer up to the commercial vehicle sector who are willing buyers of this space as their operational efficiencies outweigh the cost of booking.’

‘Parking will come to be seen more as an integral part of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle interaction with infrastructure, whether that be via a digitised kerb or off-street car parking space. Parking and charging are going to need to be able to work in tandem especially if we are transitioning 35m+ vehicles to EVs (or zero tailpipe emissions) by 2035. The question is what is needed to unleash this revolution? Necessity.’

Integrated solutions

As for the technology providers themselves, Intertraffic looked at six exciting developments to look out for in 2021 in the summer and this makes for interesting reading half a year later. However, WPS and JustPark are just two of a whole host of companies trying to revolutionise the notion of parking, and not just in the concept of leaving a car in a designated space for a period of time. Jesse Heitlager, WPS Parking’s Technology Director, and JustPark’s Marketing Executive for Electric Vehicles Mike Strahlman provide an insight into how their companies are addressing two important facets of the parking sector: changing demands and providing sufficient space for electric vehicles.’

4.Parking space 2021: seamless solutions

Jesse Heitlager (Technology Director, WPS Parking)
‘There are new developments in parking being worked on right now that will change the way the industry operates. We are focused on creating a seamless parking platform that provides partners, operators and the end user with an efficient and effective service. We want to create one that reflects the changing demands and needs of what is required as we travel in different ways compared to before as well as to meet advancements in mobility solutions that help create better places to live, work and travel. Efficient and sustainable parking is a vital part of that.’

‘Management of parking spaces is becoming more and more complex for a variety of different reasons. But WPS is working with its partners to simplify that process for both our customers-the operators, and the end users.’

"For many years, parking operators have had to make investment in both hardware and software even though the results produced data that was not always easy to understand or simple to analyse"

‘For many years, parking operators have had to make investment in both hardware and software even though the results produced data that was not always easy to understand or simple to analyse in order to make a necessary decision. We are focused on changing this with a new subscription model so that operators receive regular, automatic updates that ensure their systems are always up-to-date. This avoids any unnecessary or disruptive changes, while also eliminating the need to have to re-train staff again.’

‘Customers will now manage their parking systems via a central cloud environment, which means data is available to them in real time and we can spot any potential challenges ahead of time. All data from car park garages can now come together in a uniform manner, allowing us to optimise the customer experience but in a secure way that still guarantees the privacy of the end users.’

5.EV charging: breaking down barriers

Mike Strahlman (Director of EV, JustPark)  

‘Renting out parking spaces and driveways to drivers is a relatively new way for homeowners to generate additional income while utilising unused space and in 2021 we’ve seen some significant development and expansion of the concept.’

‘In terms of EV ownership, however, we have discovered that only 50% of the UK have driveways, limiting half the population from charging at home and therefore more easily adopting electric vehicles. This forgotten 50% are those people without off-street parking; for example those who live in terraced houses, flats, and historical buildings with construction restrictions.’

‘The same problem is amplified in businesses with company vehicles and fleets where nearly 75% of drivers don’t have access to off-street parking. This proves a major challenge when considering that fleet businesses plan on rolling out electric vehicles to all their fleet drivers before 2030.’

‘Currently, fleet businesses are only providing electric vehicles to their drivers who have their own driveways where they can park and charge overnight. The other 75% of their drivers are being excluded; mainly because these businesses have no solution for the problem of overnight charging for their drivers without a driveway. If one of these drivers were to shift to an electric vehicle, they would have needed to rely on the public charging network - which is both costly and time consuming. 

"Currently, fleet businesses are only providing electric vehicles to their drivers who have their own driveways where they can park and charge overnight. The other 75% of their drivers are being excluded"

‘At JustPark, we have developed a way for these fleet businesses to transition to electric vehicles, regardless of whether their driver has their own driveway or not. Through our solution, FleetCharge, we are knocking down the barriers to EV adoption and creating a way for businesses to transition to electric vehicles faster than planned.’

‘For drivers without driveways, we use our technology and experience in the parking industry to find an exclusive parking and charging space within 5 minutes of the driver’s home. We then set up a one-to-one or private charging network depending on the fleet’s needs, allowing the fleet driver to park, charge and get on with their day.’

‘We recently announced our partnership with Addison Lee, a private taxi company based in London. Our FleetCharge solution will be supporting the transition of their entire fleet to electric vehicles by 2023.’



Share your story

Do you have an innovation, research results or an other interesting topic you would like to share with the professionals in the infrastructure, traffic management, safety, smart mobility and parking industry? The Intertraffic website and social media channels are a great platform to showcase your stories!

Please contact our Sr Brand Marketing Manager Carola Jansen-Young.

Are you an Intertraffic exhibitor?

Make sure you add your latest press releases to your Company Profile in the Exhibitor Portal for free exposure.