Last week we looked at 3 ways that we can make our public car spaces more environmentally friendly, exploring topics like renewable energy resources, managing the parking process with the latest parking and payment software, and supporting EV charging.
This week we will look at private car park spaces, the impact they have on our environment, and the various strategies we can take to reduce their carbon footprint and promote sustainability.
The ownership structure of car parks can vary depending on the location. In many urban areas, car parks are commonly privately owned and operated by companies or individuals. These private car parks may be standalone facilities or part of larger developments such as shopping centers, stadiums, cinemas, office buildings, or residential complexes. There is little data to give exact figures, but sources such as the Scope of Parking in Europe, a report conducted by the European Parking Association, indicate that there are a whopping 30m+ off-street spaces privately owned. This puts a lot of responsibility on private car park owners to make changes to better contribute to the environmental health of our urban spaces.
Constructing new car parks, or renovating existing ones, offers an opportunity to replace older materials with more sustainable alternatives. Structural steel, reclaimed wood, bamboo, and reinforced concrete can be used in conjunction with installing green roofs and walls. Adding better insulated greener materials can help enhance air quality, help convert CO2 emissions into healthy oxygen again, reduce heat island effect, and of course, look better aesthetically!
Companies like Ballast Nedam are working together with municipalities to create more sustainable parking areas that contribute positively towards biodiversity and generate net energy instead of using it. A trend we see continuing with Astron Mobility, who earlier this year completed a new parking garage in T?inec, Czech Republic. The garage has a LMR600 roof system for a photovoltaic roof installation that produces renewable electrical energy for a positive energy infrastructure.
Using recycled and renewable building materials reduces the demand for virgin resources and decreases the environmental impact associated with manufacturing new materials.
Promote Carpooling and Ride-Sharing
If offices, event venues, and other privately owned car parks encouraged carpooling and ride-sharing, this could hugely impact the number of vehicles on the road and thus minimize emissions, as well as ease inner-city congestion.
Promoting carpooling can be as simple as offering incentives, such as preferred parking spots, reduced parking fees, or even designated areas for carpooling.
Many parking software solutions already have or are implementing ride share services, making the prospect of sharing your journey more attractive through gamification. Infrastructure now needs to catch up in updating our parking areas to support community sharing.
Adopt Smart Parking Technologies
Smart parking systems can enable the implementation of various measures to reduce carbon emissions. For instance, by integrating parking guidance systems with mobile applications, drivers can reserve parking spaces in advance, eliminating the need for multiple rounds of circling around the car park. This not only saves time but also reduces unnecessary idling and fuel consumption, thereby lowering carbon emissions.
Smart parking technologies can also generate a wealth of data related to parking patterns, occupancy rates, and user behavior. Car park operators can leverage this data to gain insights into parking demand and make informed decisions for future planning. By understanding peak hours, parking preferences, and trends, operators can optimize the design and capacity of their car parks, potentially reducing the need for building additional parking structures and minimizing the overall environmental impact.
In fact, data analytics and its value in the parking industry is the topic of our upcoming Webinar on May 10th. Join automotive giant Mercedes-Benz to discuss how to guarantee the digitization of on-street parking inventory and monitor of parking space utilization while keeping the effort for cities and municipalities as low as possible.
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