Can Parking Ever Truly Go Green?

December 09, 2020

The pandemic has had a profound impact on the parking sector. Lockdowns and work-from-home policies have dramatically reduced demand for parking services, resulting in industry-wide revenue and job losses. 

That said, COVID-19’s influence on parking has not been entirely gloomy. From a positive perspective, the pandemic has encouraged parking providers to abandon traditional forms of service delivery and align themselves to the changing customer needs, preferences, and expectations. Interest in parking technology has increased as service providers turn to companies like Pavemint for solutions that can give their customers the safety and convenience of self-parking and contactless payments. 

Beyond customer-centric technologies, the parking sector has also experienced heightened chatter about green parking. The pandemic has compelled more customers worldwide to recognize the planet’s fragility and prioritize sustainability as they purchase every-day goods and services. 

For parking, this trend translates to more pressure to save space, consume less energy, lower emissions, and so on. But is all of it possible? 

Read on for a deep dive into what it can do to become more planet-friendly.

Saving Parking Space

Urbanization and motorization are two of the greatest sustainability hurdles today. More and more people are choosing to live in dense urban areas. According to the United Nations, 68% of the global population will be living in cities and towns by 2050. 

The exponential growth of urban populations has gone hand-in-hand with the increase in global vehicle numbers. The automotive trade journal Ward's Auto estimates there will be 2 billion cars in use worldwide in 2035, up from 1 billion in 2010. 

Accommodating these large numbers of people and cars sustainably in urban areas requires a great deal of space efficiency. Fortunately, service providers can use technology to allocate parking spaces to vehicles and reduce the land they occupy.

The ultimate space efficiency goal for parking is to create spaces in otherwise unused or unusable areas. With automated parking systems (APS), companies can establish parking areas in locations that cannot be accessed by driving, such as skyscrapers and multi-tiered underground facilities. Less land occupancy by parking areas means more green and open spaces, sunlight, and unobstructed views.

Reducing Air Pollution in Parking Areas

Motor vehicles are huge generators of airborne pollutants. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), cars cause 75% of all carbon monoxide pollution. Reducing emissions is a shared responsibility across car manufacturers, service providers, and even users. 

For parking service providers, managing air pollution means reducing vehicle movement in parking areas to the bare minimum. Fortunately, the industry is steadily evolving. Software offerings from companies like Pavemint enable more efficient parking lot monitoring. Consequently, drivers no longer have to drive around, looking for a vacant space. 

However, the real win for parking in lowering air pollution will come when automated parking systems become the industry standard. APS solutions eliminate driving around completely, making parking more efficient while dramatically reducing emissions.

Efficient Resource Utilization 

Most of today’s urban parking lots are found in large buildings, typically fitted accommodations to make people access them easier. Building and maintaining these facilities involves using a substantial amount of resources.

The parking sector can become significantly more sustainable by reevaluating how it establishes parking lots. Using more recycled materials, for instance, can reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption extensively. Moreover, implementing technology to make the most efficient use of space can translate to smaller parking buildings, reduced material usage, and less construction waste.

Automated parking also promises significant improvements in resource utilization. By eliminating people's presence in parking lots, APS can do away with the need for artificial lighting, ventilation, people elevators, and security systems, reducing building costs and energy consumption, particularly in enclosed parking lots.

More Support For Electric Vehicles

Undoubtedly, the future of motoring is electric. More and more automobile companies are developing electric and hybrid vehicles. Currently, the world has 5 million EVs in use today, and the number is rising steadily. 

Electric cars are yet to achieve mainstream adoption, but with support from parking service providers, the future can come sooner. Parking companies have already started fitting charging stations in parking lots. One of the main drawbacks of owning an electric car today is the scarcity of charging stations. Therefore, as EV stations in commercial parking become the norm, more people will be encouraged to own electric vehicles. It is not entirely ludicrous to envision a time when parking spaces will only house EVs.

Will parking ever truly go green?

It is inspiring that parking has so many opportunities to become more planet-friendly. Using technology to conserve space, reduce emissions, save natural resources, and promote EV use can boost the sector’s go-green agenda significantly. 

Admittedly, the parking industry as a whole is a long way from going completely green. Innovation is just now gaining traction, and many parking providers are not yet willing to set aside the large sums of money required for sustainable solutions. Nevertheless, more industry players are embracing forward-thinking and becoming proactive with go-green practices. A truly green parking sector seems far-fetched, but it is possible.

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