ParkMobile had an incredible showing at the 2019 IPMI Conference and Expo in Anaheim, California last week. At the booth, we exhibited our latest product innovations, including ParkMobile’s Parking Availability feature, transient and event reservations, ParkMobile 360 insights and analytics, and smart city transit solutions. We also got the opportunity to network and knowledge share with other players in the industry. See below for our IPMI 2019 recap highlighting top five takeaways on emerging trends surrounding parking and mobility.

Top Five Takeaways

1. Urban Innovation in Smart Cities

The term “smart city” has become nebulous in the past few years, but when asking leaders in the parking industry what it truly constitutes, we’ve come down to this: people-centered and data-driven planning and decision-making. To build a smart city, departments have to systematically work together to move people, goods, and services, while also ensuring they’re proactively communicating to the effected parties in the process to provide accountability. We know that the future is going to be digital. This is an opportunity to be forward thinking, but the players involved need to be collaborative. Public and private stakeholders need to co-innovate and co-iterate as they focus on creating the digital infrastructure required to support the rise in autonomous vehicles and evolving expectations around experience.

2. Sustainability and Resilience Planning

Parking is playing a larger role in economic development. Things are changing, and we need to reconstruct our cities to be safe, sustainable, and equitable. With on-street parking, ride-hailing pick-ups and drop-offs, and e-commerce deliveries competing for use of the curb, there’s an initiative to segment the curb to effectively handle these demands and extract more value. Additionally, the decline in car ownership means reimagining ubiquitous parking structures through adaptive reuse. As we prepare for a shared, autonomous future, many are asking how existing structures can be become shared-use spaces. Can underutilized parking lots and garages be used for autonomous vehicle storage in the future? What about transient, affordable housing options for underserved communities? As innovation drives us forward, there’s a big focus on social equity, and we need to ensure these shared-use structures are accessible to different communities.

3. The Evolving In-Car Experience

As car ownership declines and shared-use transportation services continue to rise, businesses are shifting their focus to the in-car experience. On the parking front, industry leaders are acknowledging that parking will become more than just a single service. We already have access to intelligent navigation and cashless parking transactions, and we’re starting to look at value-added services that create efficient use of parking time, such as mobile car washes, charges, maintenance, and repair. Partnerships hold a lot of power when it comes to making the in-car experience one that truly responds to customer needs. And the more productive we can make parking time, the better. Imagine: “Alexa, park in spot 204 for 2 hours. Request exterior car wash.”

4. Aggregated Data and Analytics

The parking industry is often called a “data desert.” However, in recent years, there’s been a push for better data and better data-driven decision making. As an industry, parking needs to overcome fragmentation so that information is collected and accessible in one place. Aggregating data will play a major role in the evolution of smart cities. Currently, Google Maps works everywhere in the world, and users only need one app to enjoy it. On the parking and mobility front, we need to take the same approach by building a digital platform for consumers to seamlessly engage with any mobility service through aggregated, centralized, real-time data. For example, there are 1.2 billion parking spaces in the United States, and right now, the large majority of consumers are finding parking spaces based on luck, not data. Emissions from search traffic can be reduced by at least 25% with smart parking data and efficient way-finding systems.

5. The Road to Autonomy

The parking industry is preparing for the autonomous tipping point, which many leaders believe will hit us in the next five years. This big question: How will the rise of autonomous vehicles affect parking? There’s a lot of uncertainty, but the reality is this: while autonomous vehicles will be optimized for utilization, they will still need a place to park when they’re waiting to be dispatched for the next passenger. The industry will be both dynamic and uncertain with new players and new relationships, new designs and standards, advanced data and analytics, repurposed assets, and complex economics. However, we expect that parking will play a significant role for exclusive-use, shared-use, and local delivery autonomous fleets, and winners in the industry will need to be adaptable to the demands of these players.

Thank you to everyone who joined us at IPMI 2019! As we continue furthering our mission of providing smart mobility for every driver, we hope to play a part in the industry’s multi-faceted initiatives to deeply understand the direction we’re headed.