Making cities greener in 2020: digital parking and dynamic pricing
The last decade saw the wide deployment of digital parking solutions to improve convenience and reduce the cost of town and city parking. In 2020 and beyond we are likely to see further applications of digital technology to enable smarter and more efficient parking and traffic management as local authorities strive to achieve more efficient and environmental outcomes for traffic management in towns and cities.
Digital parking and permit platforms, such as MiPermit, are now widely used by local councils across the UK. But this is only the first step on a journey to deploy digital technology that drives improved visibility and transparency over parking for residents and visitors alike. This year, we expect to see councils increasingly use digital platforms in a more sophisticated way to help improve outcomes for drivers looking to park in urban environments.
The average motorist in the UK spends almost four days per year, a total of 91 hours, looking for parking spaces. If this can be reduced there is a clear and obvious immediate win: cities become less polluted; drivers less frustrated and the volume of fuel and emissions wasted reduces significantly. This can not only drive a cleaner urban environment but also help reduce greenhouse gases.
A digital platform gives the flexibility to look at the implementation of dynamic pricing and permitting to best satisfy a range of demands on prime parking spots in a town. Dynamic pricing means the cost of parking changes depending on the availability of space. Today car parks that are nearer the centre of a town or city tend to charge more than those on the outskirts or ‘park and ride’ schemes. Dynamic parking can implement this in real time, assessing the number of free spaces available and the level of air pollution and setting parking costs to reflect this. For example, on a quiet Wednesday afternoon a shopper might be able to park at a low cost in a central car park, whereas on a busy Saturday afternoon they may find the same space is more expensive.
Dynamic pricing can also help councils manage air pollution: if pollution is high in a town or city, drivers may be encouraged to head to out of town parking by offering a very attractive price to a less convenient car park.
We will see more of these developments in the next decade, with an increase in the deployment of digital tools, to drive healthier and more positive environmental outcomes for towns and cities.