This is the first post in a 8 part series focused on understanding the current realities, challenges, existing solutions and opportunities to deal with parking problem in 2016.
Every car owner has experienced some kind of parking problem in their lives. Here is a list we came up with
You went to a new place and couldn't find parking and kept circling for that one elusive parking spot
You parked your car somewhere (open field, basement) and cant remember where you parked it or find it on your way out
You parked your car in some spot & you returned to find that it was towed away, clamped, tyres chalked or assigned a fine/parking ticket
You drove to your office to find no parking space in your company car park
The time when the only available parking spot was a 20 min walk away from your destination
You waited for nearly 30 minutes for the valet to fetch your car
Someone wrongly parked their car not leaving enough space for you to park or remove your car
An idiot parked on your designated spot
Random cars parked on the street made it impossible for you to drive and caused heavy traffic jams
The occasional angry confrontations over parking with your neighbours or even complete strangers suffering from traffic and parking stress
If you are like me you have probably experienced nearly all of these problems. Whether you are from Abu Dhabi or Auckland, Bengaluru or Boston (especially when it snows), Mumbai or Manila, Tiruchi or Tokyo where landmarks are being cleared to create parking space. Parking problems in cities can cover the entire alphabet but you get the idea.
The exact nature of parking problems in each city and solutions being considered may vary but fundamentally the core problem is that
We are building & buying more cars but are running out of SPACE to park them.
In an era of exciting developments in ride sharing (Uber, Lyft, Ola), public mass transit (metros), electric vehicles (Tesla), high precision smartphone navigation (Google & Apple Maps), autonomous self-driven cars (Google Waymo, Tesla) it is easy to forget this important and ever growing problem of parking.
Here is a graph that shows the vehicle density in different parts of the world. While India seems to be in the green for now, it is a fast growing economy with the increasing urbanisation and smart city initiatives. So things can only get darker over time in India (pun intended). in terms of parking.
No doubt this is mainly a problem in large, dense cities and urban centres but we increasingly live in a world where per capita vehicle ownership is declining in the developed nations and growing in the developing world. Of course population growth in developing countries is much higher than vehicular growth but the growing urban concentration and limited infrastructure create increased demand for road transportation and limited parking facilities create huge problems for society at large. In Developed countries both population and vehicular growth is declining but parking still isn't a completely solved problem.
So the question is, what can we do about this? Stop driving cars? Impose high congestion charges in central business districts? Take public transport - buses or trains? Ration road space based on the odd/even principle, “no drive” days and impose other restrictions to reducing parking demand? Take an Uber/Lyft/Ola/Taxi/Auto everywhere? Patiently wait for Metro networks to span the entire city? Do keep reading to find out what we are doing to solve this problem of parking.
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