Parking Problems and Solutions Part 2 - Finding SPACE
In this post we try to break down the parking problem into a simple framework called SPACE around which we can try to find innovative solutions using technology.
We all know that parking is a universal problem, especially in cities. As per a Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) report the cost of traffic gridlocks in the US, UK, France & Germany is expected to reach $293.1 billion by 2030 and around 30% of all traffic gridlocks can be attributed to parking activity. As per the same report the cumulative cost of traffic congestion for these 4 economies between 2013 & 2030 could be a staggering $4.4 trillion!!
The parking problem breaks down into many smaller problems along several dimensions - geography, people density, climate, culture, government policy, state of economy, existing mobility infrastructure, vehicle type & distribution, standards of living etc. As my team and I started to understand the problem landscape we wanted to come up with a way to capture the core essence of the parking problem. That led us to SPACE. SPACE is an acronym that stands for
S - The physical SPACE required to park a car (12-15 sq. mtr. on average)
P - The location of the parking space (PLACE) & the distance to your destination
A - The AVAILABILITY of parking slots based on size, place and time
C - The actual parking charges (COST) you pay, generally paid in cash
E - The convenience (EASE) of finding the right place, parking your car, locating it later, or simply avoiding any parking related delays
SPACE is not a comprehensive definition of the parking problem by any means. There are many other factors that feed into the parking problem. For example the “type of parking” which refers to the way cars are parked is something that can have a huge impact on the road space occupied by parked cars. Examples of this include
Another factor to consider is “parking efficiency of the driver” which basically refers to how skilled, attentive and knowledgeable drivers are about how cars should be parked while using minimal space.
We came up with SPACE to focus on the key problems that we believe can be overcome via technology; rather than focus on problems where technology can only have a limited impact.
Human activity is driven by professional, personal & social needs. People need to travel to their office or place of business. They need to travel to meet their friends & family. They need to socialise. Businesses have working hours and that results in “peak traffic” & “peak demand” for parking at certain times during the day. Clearly there is no way to eliminate these activity peaks and hence both traffic & parking are problems of peak human activity.
So if we cant streamline the movement of people how can we solve the SPACE problem? And what is this SPACE exactly? Go to part 3 to learn more about this. Also, please help bring people into this conversation by commenting on or sharing this article.