SP Plus Corporation

06/04/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 06/04/2019 14:49

The Parking Garage of the Future: A Last-Mile Mobility Hub

Urban areas are becoming more densely populated, and congestion is only getting worse. While new companies and smarter modes of transportation have eased the pain, they also create new challenges. The fact is, airports and large entertainment venues, along with city infrastructures, simply aren't prepared to keep up with the pace of change.

While there are myriad potential ideas to remedy the issues, one unexpected solve may be in transforming parking garages into last-mile mobility hubs.

'As technology disrupts the transportation industry, SP+ is well positioned to pivot in meeting the growing needs,' said Jeff Eckerling, Senior Vice President of Revenue & Growth for SP+, 'It's an opportunity to take a fresh look at our facilities and, in partnership with our clients, offer a much-needed solution.'

The Amazon Effect

E-commerce continues to fuel growth for many brands, but an unintended consequence is the demands placed on already busy streets. Last-mile delivery has become a massive congestion contributor with trucks and vans competing for space.

Nearby parking structures could act as part of the solution by micro-renting available spaces to delivery companies or create a designated drop-off area for temporary delivery parking. This would help get trucks off the street when they would otherwise be stopping or circling to find a drop-off zone.

Alternative Transport Solutions

Another last-mile occurrence is the rise of shareable bikes and scooters. These new 'dockless' modes of transport are already proven to be effective in getting people where they want to go without a car. The physical disruption, however, occurs when left in front of buildings, sidewalks, driveways, etc. The pushback from communities is real, but a solution rests in making the scooters or bikes less 'dockless.'

SP+-managed facilities can act as a network of in-city locations to drop off and pick up shared vehicles. This creates a variety of convenient locations where the exchange can occur and turns the sidewalks back to the people who need them.

Ride Share/Car Share

Ride-sharing platforms have arguably created the most significant impact to last-mile mobility. With nearly every vehicle able to offer a ride to someone else, the result is crippling. There is no better example than in Chicago where ride-share vehicles are now prohibited from picking up passengers on Michigan Avenue, the city's prized thoroughfare.

'While these [ride-share] companies are convenient for customers, it's caused some real havoc for many of our clients,' said Eckerling, 'We want to start finding ways to partner with mobility companies. Using our facilities as a solution is a key first step and we believe it can have a big impact on easing the congestion.'

Premium Space

Ultimately, it makes sense for parking structures to play a more prominent role in solving the last-mile mobility problem. Space is becoming more of a premium in increasingly dense urban areas, and this requires a strategic approach to make transportation more seamless.

As it turns out, maybe the garage of the future isn't going to be a garage at all. Instead think of today's parking facilities as mobility hubs of tomorrow-a true center where people utilize the available space in a variety of helpful, convenient ways that keep them on the move.

'Technology has disrupted almost every industry today, mobility is no different.' said Eckerling, 'but we can use the same type of technologies to maximize how that space is used. Working together we can create solutions that have a significant impact.'

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