In 2020, parking management suffered a tremendous blow in the hands of lockdowns and quarantine measures. According to reports, parking transactions decreased by an astounding 90% in major city center car parks.
Now that vaccines are being more widely distributed and traffic is steadily resuming worldwide, the sector is optimistic it will recoup a fair chunk of its losses this year. If you are a parking services provider, it pays to know the trends shaping the industry in 2021. Below are five developments you cannot ignore.
1. City traffic will resume, but not fully
COVID-19 has reshaped cities in several notable ways, and some of these will stick for years to come. While cities and towns will always be vital to society, the alternatives the urban world has embraced to minimize commuting, such as online shopping and working from home, are not going anywhere.
As the world gradually nears the end of the pandemic, most experts are foreseeing a blended approach to activities that bring people to urban centers. Many will continue to work remotely and commute to physical offices occasionally. Similarly, a good number of customers may adopt a “visit if necessary” approach to physical store shopping.
This trend could translate to a significant loss of business for car parks, many of whom depend on commuter parking for profits.
Fortunately, parking service providers around the world are responding effectively to these market dynamics. With lockdowns gradually easing, some players are adjusting their prices to entice drivers back to cities. Others are turning to parking software like Pavemint, collecting valuable data on traffic flow and making it easier for motorists to reserve parking in advance.
2. More people will prefer driving to using public transit
On the upside and a possible boon for parking management companies, personal parking demand is expected to rise, at least in the short-term. Even as people gain the confidence to get out of their houses, trust in public transport solutions is slower to recover. Data from a recent McKinsey survey shows that 90% of commuters would not feel safe using public means to travel to work.
As a parking provider, you can consider smart ways for maximizing this expected overflow of vehicles, especially in the first half of 2021, before a vaccine becomes widespread. One of the most promising strategies is using parking management software to improve your parking lot capacity and allocation.
3. Parking data will be a must-have
This surge in personal parking demand will not be long-lived. In fact, it will likely die down with the vaccine, ushering in a period of stagnated growth in the parking sector. Because of COVID-19, many companies have realized employees can accomplish numerous tasks just as well at home as in the office. Consequently, they have had discussions about reducing office the footprint to minimize costs.
As office space usage changes, parking utilization will follow the same trend. In 2021, companies are expected to implement smart solutions to track parking use, identify the precise space needed in the future, and optimize real estate spending.
The same trend applies to large business locations like shopping malls, whose parking occupancy will continue to be influenced by online shopping. Software solutions like Pavemint can give these premises the data they need to identify peak and off-peak parking times and align their resources and prices accordingly.
4. Reduced on-street parking
One positive impact of the pandemic has been a widespread move to improve citywide infrastructure. Many local governments used the reduced people presence in city centers to reimagine streetscapes. As a result, a significant chunk of on-street parking in cities like Philadelphia, Denver, and Minneapolis was converted into cycling and walking lanes. In Germany’s capital Berlin, many streets now have wide bicycle lanes in place of some vehicle lanes.
Even after the pandemic, it is unlikely that these newly reclaimed on-street parking spaces will go back to their previous utilization. Furthermore, parking technology improvements will continue making off-street parking easy to find, resulting in a reduced need for on-street parking and better traffic flow in cities.
5. Transport quotas will take hold in more cities
During the pandemic, many cities have seen how urban life can be without gridlock. Now that congestion is expected to resume, authorities are increasingly looking into ways to prevent a return to chaos.
Transport quotas had already become a part of life in some cities, but 2021 will likely see accelerated adoption. More urban centers will be looking to agree with companies on the number of employees who can drive to work, especially as many people are expected to prefer the option of driving themselves to work instead of using public transport.
So, as you gear up for a short-term spike in parking demand, keep in mind that new or revised transport quotas could shave off part of the returns you expect.
The new normal in parking
COVID-19 has changed parking dramatically. As a parking service provider, you cannot afford to sit and wait for things to get back to pre-pandemic times. Take the trends above to mind and formulate ways of adapting to them. If you are yet to embrace smart parking technology, you have every reason to do so now. With the right solutions, you can give drivers more reason to visit your parking space and fully take advantage of these new underlying opportunities.