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Mastering Office Parking Management

Strategies for Making it a Success

Best practices and success stories for an efficient office parking management.

Office parking management

A Look into the Future: Smart Parking and Green Parking

The car is an important part of our mobility system. It provides freedom, flexibility, comfort, and speed. For example, almost 90% of all journeys by public transport are twice as long or even longer than a car trip. 

And if you add up the fact that they have become safer and more environmentally friendly in the past years, we can understand why the fleet of cars continues to grow. 

And this is putting pressure on parking spaces, both public and private. 

Also, many municipalities decrease parking lots on-street for public space and a greener environment. This is leading to increased parking fees in public spaces and putting pressure on office car parks. 

Office car parks managers are striving to find ways that help them: 

  • Boost the capacity of the office car park, 
  • Improve the traffic in the car park, 
  • Develop green initiatives in the parking lot. 

Let’s see how this happens. 

Innovative Solutions in the Smart Parking Lot   

Back in 2015, the Audi factory in Ingolstadt (Germany) has deployed a smart parking system developed by Urbiotica, with the goal to optimize parking and reduce congestion in its 5,000-space car employee, as well optimize the car park capacity.  The system uses 22 U-Flow wireless parking sensors installed at the car park entrances and exits to detect cars, and display occupancy data in real time. 

Same goals can be reached without sensor technology as well. Look at Fortum, an important player in the green energy market. They started using the Tidaro app back in 2019 and managed to improve the management of their car park, without the need to rent extra parking spaces. 

Yes, technology is essential when it comes to creating smart parking lots and boosting the employee experience in the office car park. 

Also, technology can help with overall mobility and climate change goals. 

Now, let’s try and look even further into the future. 

Pavement innovations in the car park 

  1. Cool pavements 

A Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study showed that pavement covers 35 to 50% of a typical city’s surface area, and 40% of that paved area is taken up by parking lots (public or not). That pavement is usually dark and gets heated quickly, contributing as well to cities that are way too hot. This is why the lab is experimenting with pavement that is cooler. Such experiments can impact other areas as well: roads, rooftops, school yards, etc.  

What does this mean? Well, outdoor office car parks could be equipped with cooler pavements that would help cities not be that hot.  

  1. Pavements that generate electricity from movement 

Pavements can go even further – smart pavements can generate electricity from vehicles or people movement. 

Piezoelectric tiles are a technology used to harness energy from pedestrian traffic. 

Kinetic pavements, on the other hand, are a bit more advanced tech, yet similar to piezoelectric tiles. They can generate more energy because they do it not only when compressed (like in the care of piezoelectric tiles), but also when flexed.   

Now, one important thing to mention is that the amount of generated energy depends on the traffic volume. 

Also, such tech can be used in high traffic areas: stairs, office, etc.  

  1. Solar pavements 

There’s also the option of solar pavements, for pedestrians. Platio (a Hugnarian startup) is building solar pavements out of plastic waste. The solar-powered pavement generates energy when people walk over it. The more traffic, the better.  

In Teesdorf Austria, Platio cooperated with students of FH Technikum Wien to install 780 solar tiles in a 100 square-meter car park. This installation supploes the university building with solar energy and has the capacity to supply three average houses with energy per year. 

Source 

Roof systems for car parks 

  1. Green roofs for the office car park 

Car park green roofs have lot of advantages:  

  • Improved rain water management, 
  • Help with mitigating urban heat, 
  •  Improve air quality, 
  • Aesthetically pleasing, 
  • Biodiversity enhancement, by attracting birds and insects. 

Back in 2022, Ans Global designed and installed the 4,200m² of green roofs over two levels of the Victoria Way car park (Woking, UK). In one of the designs, they use succulents to help with air purification, and a blue roof to minimize stormwater runoff, mitigating the build-up of water in the drains and reducing the risk of flooding. 

Source 

Now, before jumping into the topic, there is a lot of technical stuff to consider. The folks at Singular Green are explaining them quite well, here.  

  1. Solar roofs and solar panels in the car park 

With energy costs constantly growing every year, businesses worldwide are looking for ways to reduce their reliance on traditional energy sources and minimize their carbon footprint. Installing solar panels and solar roofs can help with both goals.  Solar car park systems can supply energy for lighting, sensors, access control systems, and even electric appliances in the office building. 

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For example, back in 2017, the Denver International Airport partnered with Panasonic and Xcel Energy to cover a car park with 609 spaces covered with solar canopies. These solar canopies are powering the Panasonic Enterprise Solutions corporate office building that sits next to the parking lot.   

Now, it’s obvious that solar carports work in places that enjoy a good amount of sun during the day. 

Other innovations 

  1. Biofilters 

Let’s face it: pollution in underground car parks is a problem. 

To solve this problem, the URBAN GreenUP Project prototyped the Urban Garden Biofilter. This is an air filter framed in an urban garden for the emissions of underground car parks or other stationary sources of pollutant compounds in urban environments. It was installed in the underground car park in Portugalete Square Plaza de la Libertad, in Valladolid (Spain). 

The first idea has been developed by CARTIF in an earlier research project. Project results show that it can be captured most of NOX and PM (>90%) from indoor air (pollutants concentration 0.5-1 ppm). 

  1. Wind turbines 

Wind turbines in car parks are a renewable energy solution that uses wind power to generate electricity in parking facilities. These installations can supply a range of benefits: 

  • Clean energy, 
  • Excess electricity generated by wind turbines can be fed back into the grid, providing a source of renewable energy to the surrounding community, 
  • Parking lot wind turbines can complement solar panel installations on the same site, providing a dual renewable energy solution that generates power from wind and sunlight, 
  • Parking lot wind turbines can be used to power electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, contributing to the sustainability of EV transportation. 

For example, the Buchan Group has delivered a car park fit with solar panels and a wind turbine at Griffith University’s Gold Coast. The project’s value: $25.5M, covering 1100 parking spaces. 

What do you think? Is the future looking greener in our office parking lots? 

So, we’ve talked about the future of car parking… 

But what if we could reduce the number of cars on our roads? 

You probably know this verse: “We’ve paved paradise and put up a parking lot”. 

The question is: could we get our paradise back? 

There’s one good news, announced by McKinsey in their report Automotive revolution – perspective towards 2030: there’s a trend of increasing diversification of mobility (car/ bicycle/local public transport/car-sharing); 

Let’s dig deeper. 

Bikes and Car Fees – Stories from The Netherlands, Denmark and Singapore 

Back in 1970 Amsterdam looked like all the other European capitals: full of cars and polluted. 

Amsterdam is now a paradise for bikes and boasts a great public transport infrastructure. 

Source 

But the model was not replicated across the world. Only the Netherlands and Denmark embarked on a clear path with less cars. 

What’s important to mention is that: 

  • The Dutch had a history of biking since the 19th century, with cycling clubs and unions. 
  • In post-war Netherlands and Denmark there was a huge focus on accommodating cars, and less than 10% of people were biking. 
  • In 1972, a total of 3,264 people were killed on Dutch roads, and in 1973, 450 road deaths were of children. This led to mass demonstrations. 
  • There was a huge energy crisis in the 1970s that got people back on their bikes.  
  • Starting with 1960, street by street has been converted for pedestrian traffic and city life in Copenhagen. 

What happened in fact, was that both the Dutch and the Danes seized an historical moment marked by energy and environmental crisis. In parallel, the power of public protest was at its peak, and people’s voices were heard. So, change happened. 

Now, can we replicate the model? 

Probably not. 

Main reasons: 

  • Current city infrastructure might be hard to change to accommodate bikes, 
  • The automotive industry is a giant, powering lots of economies worldwide, 
  • In the era of electric vehicles, people would not feel that incentivized to bike to work, 
  • In bigger cities where the commute is long, the car will still be the fastest means of transportation, 
  • Not all cities boast a smooth and reliable public transportation network.  

This is why other cities have found other ways to discourage car usage.  

Did you know that Singapore has a huge car tax in place to diminish traffic congestions and pollution? 

People must buy a 10-year Certificate of Entitlement before being allowed to buy a vehicle. The cost of it is $76,000 and it buys the right to buy a standard Category A car, with an engine of 1,600cc or below.  

The quota system was introduced in 1990 to minimize traffic and reduce emissions in a space-starved city state that is home to 5.9 million but boasts an impressive public transport network, as per CNN.  

Now, there’s another possibility for a future with fewer cars, or at least with optimized car usage. 

Morgan Stanley estimates that by 2030, 26% of global miles traveled will be shared. Just think a bit: nearly 76% of the workers in the U.S. commuted to work alone back in 2019. So, according to Morgan Stanley, “vehicle sharing can only take your vehicle utilization to about 50%-60% of its full potential, in our view.” 

We do hope that this vision will come true, because, right now, the drive alone rate is leading to huge traffic congestion and pollution. 

Source 

Some hopeful estimates also come from PwC. They estimate that car inventory in Europe of currently just over 280 million vehicles could drop by 2030 to around 200 million. This means a 25% drop. The expected drop in the US is 22%. On the other hand, due to the different market situation in China, the inventory there could grow by almost 50% in the same time period to 276 million vehicles, despite the higher use. 

Time will tell, won’t it? 

Smart parking: endless possibilities with evolving technology 

To conclude, the future of parking for office buildings will be influenced by: 

  • Technological advancements,  
  • Sustainability considerations,  
  • Changing work patterns.    

Automations, green parking systems, usability – these will become soon the norm, in a world where employees are more and more conscious of their carbon footprint. 

As technology continues to evolve, so will our parking lots, opening up a whole new world of possibilities for the next generation. With advancements in Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, and automation, we are witnessing a revolution that will redefine the way we park. Imagine a future where parking lots are not just static spaces but dynamic hubs that seamlessly integrate with our daily lives, providing personalized experiences, optimizing space use, and reducing traffic congestion. Smart parking lots and green parking lots will become the norm, and will be part of a seamless and enjoyable part of our workplace experience. 

Embrace the possibilities, challenge the status quo, and be at the forefront of this parking revolution. Let us dare to dream big, think differently, and use the power of technology to create a better, smarter, and more sustainable parking ecosystem.