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Smart Parking Innovations to Look Out for In 2021

Today we discuss parking (yes, parking) because it’s one of the hottest subjects worldwide with the number of vehicles on the streets growing daily. Twenty years ago, no one would have considered parking a topic worth discussing or a factor vital for achieving political equality or fighting climate change. Much less smart parking innovations.

But with the benefits of smart parking innovations that technology brings, it looks highly probable that parking can save the world or at least make it a better place. Statistics show that people consume over 1 million barrels of oil daily, searching for an available parking lot. 44% of drivers think finding a parking space is a stressful experience they would rather avoid. Annually, the average individual losses four days of their life parking. And this stress adds to the dreadful congestion they face on the roads and the lack of space to build new parking lots. People driving around looking for an empty spot also have a negative impact on global warming. 

However, this article focuses on some renovations in the mobility industry that can improve this problem. Here are some innovations to look out for in 2021. 

Wireless charging in parking facilities

Wireless vehicle charging
NJo, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

People owning electric cars should be excited to find out that more parking facilities managers consider adding wireless chargers to their lots. Drivers hate to use unending coils of cable, and they won’t refuse the opportunity to charge their vehicles without handling any cord. A recent innovation in wireless charging allows parking facility managers to integrate this technology in specially designed parking spaces. Some wireless charging solutions have been available for a couple of years now, but because there were few electric cars on the roads, parking facilities managers didn’t see the point of investing in this feature. 

Charging systems are often named wireless level 2 charging and include around 240-volt outlets that can be installed virtually anywhere. The user connects the outlet to a charging pad placed beneath the car, and once parked, it charges automatically. 

Length based parking fees

This solution implies customizing fees according to the vehicle’s length. The principle behind this fee is simple; if drivers park smaller vehicles in spaces used by longer cars, more vehicles can use the same space

And because a larger vehicle is also more expensive, it’s supposed the driver to be able to pay a more expensive fee. This system includes democratic principles that tax the vehicle’s space and not only the period they occupy it. This measure encourages people to use smaller cars, similar to the incentive that supports buying eco-friendly vehicles. 

Preferential rates for residents

This measure aims to protect local parking by creating a system that favors residential parking in an established zone. A regular issue in tourist locations is the struggle between residents and visitors for public parking spaces. 

Residential parking measures would introduce low rates for locals, compared to visitors. Why do authorities intend to introduce these customized fees? Residents already pay taxes to maintain and modernize the road infrastructure, so they’re more entitled to enjoy the parking facilities. 

Miami Beach already introduces this taxing system, and locals pay $1 an hour while visitors $1,75 for the same period. 

Interactive parking maps

Parking lot
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

In big cities like Los Angeles, people are always struggling to find available parking spots. Interactive maps and apps help drivers to find a parking space close to their destination. Apps that offer monthly parking in Los Angeles allow users to search for a location they prefer, filter the search by the factors that matter for them, and check parking availability. They inspect the interactive map and pick the parking spot they want to book for the following month and beyond. 

Automated valet parking robots

Even if many people are afraid AI and robots will steal their jobs, this technology brings more ups than downs, especially in the mobility industry. You may be surprised to find out that robots can offer valet services. More and more organizations prefer to use automated valet parking robots to boost performance. 

Automated parking systems are effective. They integrate a fleet of robots that pick-up vehicles and park them in traditional parking spaces, preventing the driver from circling the lot. Their incorporated technology provides them information about available spots. The Lyon-Saint Exupery Airport has been using this system since 2018, and its success inspired other organizations to adopt it. 

The process behind the process is simple; people book a parking space on the airport’s web page and are directed to a dedicated spot where they must drop their cars before boarding the airplane. The valet robot picks it up and takes it to a secure parking space. The system eliminates the need for space between vehicles required when humans drive. When returning from their trip, the passengers find their car in a dedicated cabin. 

Car parking lifts

This solution is related to the parking valets because it also uses technology to maximize parking lots by reducing the needed space for an individual lot. This system is already in place in some cities around the world, and the principle behind it, it’s straightforward, it stacks cars one over the other. 

A mechanical lift places the vehicles in available spaces in the lot and enables the use of volume instead of ground space. This system is highly effective because more cars can occupy the exact same space, only that they’re also parked on the vertical, not only on the horizontal. Once occupied by a single car, the space is now used for two or even three vehicles at the same time. 

At the beginning, the parking lift was used to save real estate in West Hollywood. With its effectiveness proven, both commercial and residential spaces consider using it in 2021 when building new houses for people with multiple vehicles. Architects design garages that include car lifts to save space. 

So here they are, the smart parking innovations we expect to see in 2021. Do you think tech can bring any other ones to improve the current situation?

Featured Photo by Raban Haaijk on Unsplash