How Parking Operators Can Keep Up in the Age of AVs

Updated: Jul 31, 2020

Public interest in self-driving cars is not new. In fact, the first-ever self-driving car toured through Milwaukee in 1926! Now almost 100 years later, companies like Google and Tesla are perfecting the technology that will make autonomous vehicles (AVs) the norm. It’s already clear that AVs are going to change the way people move in cities. What’s not quite clear is how cities will change to accommodate them. Two questions that seem to come up, again and again, are: How will it affect parking? And how can we keep up as parking operators?

Future-proof your parking management systems

Parking lots need to be smarter. A car without a driver can’t hand a parking attendant cash. A car without a driver can’t press a button for a ticket. If you operate a parking lot and want to be ready for the forthcoming and inevitable influx of AVs, now is the time to begin integrating with a parking software company like Pavemint. License plate scanning capabilities, predictive AI, and digital payment methods make reserving and paying for parking easier not only for AV owners but also for traditional drivers. They also streamline management and help pinpoint opportunities for increased revenue.

Rethink the layout of your garage

When people park cars, they need extra space to open their doors and walk. Driverless cars, on the other hand, don’t have the same requirements. Similarly, parking lots dedicated to AVs would no longer need extensive pedestrian features like elevators, walkways, staircases, and ADA spaces because passengers would be dropped off at their destination before parking. AV passengers would likely never even set foot in a parking garage! Lot managers would only need to plan for maintenance and emergency paths. Additionally, reallocating space for AV parking would not require expensive construction.

Recently, researchers at the University of Toronto designed optimized grids for AV parking. They found that a well-designed garage could fit up to 87% more cars in the same amount of space. As we transition to wider usage of driverless cars, this information provides a key opportunity. Parking lot owners can choose to dedicate certain garage floors to AVs, increasing capacity and likewise revenue, while still accommodating traditional cars.

Offer incentives for AVs

Without accessible parking, driverless cars may be set to cruise the streets while waiting for their passengers to return. This would increase traffic in cities and could even limit other drivers’ access to your parking. To incentivize AV owners to park at your garage, consider charging a lower fee for AVs, installing charging stations, or even adding on premium services like a waterless car wash or vehicle sensor cleaning.

One thing is certain: even though AVs are coming, parking lots aren’t going anywhere. Now is the time to start integrating with parking software and management systems like Pavemint.


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