Multiservice parking hubs

Let’s put aside the idea of parking facilities as locations to merely leave your car while working in the office or going shopping. As urban mobility habits change, parking operators are turning existing and new facilities into multipurpose parking hubs, where drivers can take advantage of a variety of services.

The trend is now emerging in the US, Japan, and South-East Asia, starting from large car parks close to city centers, airports, railway stations, and office buildings. Car maintenance services can frequently be found: you park your car and have it recharged or refueled, washed, or serviced by an expert mechanic, an autobody repairman, or a tire specialist.

You can find micromobility options such as bikes and scooters to cover your last mile. But new parking hubs also offer delivery services to get your shopping directly into your car boot, take-away restaurants to grab your food, and small stores for essential goods.

Parking hubs will be less about car parking and more about user experience, say industry analysts. Drivers will appreciate the possibility to save time and access useful services, at the same time parking operators will increase average occupancy and open new revenue streams.

Vehicle detection technologies are pivotal to monitor and control parking hubs. Parking sensors are the simplest, cost-effective and reliable way to detect if a space is occupied by a vehicle, and parking data feed mobile apps, variable message panels and traffic guidance systems to provide real-time availability information, advanced booking and payment for parking and the other services.

As parking hubs tend to grow vertically rather than horizontally, their robotization may be close by. We may soon have fully automated facilities, with scan technologies and mobile platforms: the driver leaves the car at the entrance gate, and it is moved to the most convenient space according to the planned duration of the stop. Pilot projects demonstrated this multiplies by four the number of parked vehicles and significantly reduces bumps and vandalism.

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