Mobility as Service

L. Dennis Burns

I recently embarked on a new area of research: multi-modal mobility as a service (as opposed to a product one might own). This brings together many elements from the fields of transportation and mobility, emerging technologies, environmental sustainability, changing demographic trends, and communications advancements. It is related to the concept of the connected traveler in that it embraces and leverages our new abilities to easily access a range of combined mobility services via smartphones and, increasingly, vehicles and other devices. Integrated mobility services offer new and easy ways to access options that can be tailored to better meet customer needs and address a range of issues related to the fact that soon, nearly two-thirds of the world’s population will live in megacities.

The future of urban public transportation lies in mobility systems that provide bicycles, cars, and other transportation modes on demand. Most mobility assets will be shared instead of owned by users–a phenomenon known as shared-use mobility. Convenient and reliable lifestyle and mobility services will be offered to connected citizens who will be able to easily access them via their smartphones. These services will become viable alternatives to car ownership, as they are more tailored to customer needs and will ultimately be more cost effective and environmentally sustainable, and reflect the lifestyle choices of a new generation.

Combined mobility services take the concept of shared-use to a new level, recognizing that desires for flexibility and efficiency are further advanced when shared-mobility solutions can be offered in an integrated platform. For service providers making the transition to combined mobility services, these developments offer a real opportunity to deliver sustainable growth during the next decades.

Many of these new services are delivered as apps that connect the different participants. For example, Washington, D.C.-based RideScout integrates data from a host of different providers, including those offering carshare, bikeshare, fixed-route transit, and ride services.

Another intriguing model is Zappos’ Project 100, which aims to create a seamless network of 100 on-demand chauffeured Tesla sedans, 100 shared vehicles, 100 shared bikes, and 100 shared shuttle bus stops that a phone app optimally assigns to each subscriber who inputs a destination. This mixed-mode concierge service could be the next level of the concept of mobility as a service.

The parking industry has much to contribute to this new mobility future. After all, shared use is already an emerging trend within our industry. I am in the process of developing several new concepts for existing clients who are ready to take the next step toward combined mobility. I encourage you to learn more about this exciting area. Together, we can help develop strategies that will allow the parking profession to be a creative force for applying combined mobility solutions for the future. I hope you will join me for the ride!

 

Parking and IoT: The Internet of Things

Helen Sullivan

IoT stands for the Internet of Things, and it’s been dubbed by many as the next stage in the evolution of the internet. The word “next” doesn’t seem quite right, though, because it appears to already be here. If IoT isn’t part of your vocabulary now, it will be.

The effects on transportation, urban mobility, and life as we know it is huge–certainly in ways beyond what my non-technical mind can grasp, but I know that many parking professionals and parking equipment suppliers and service providers are already at the cutting-edge.

The Internet of Things came up when IPI Executive Director Shawn Conrad and I were meeting last week with Laurens Eckelboom of Parkmobile, and David Cummins of Xerox, co-chairs of IPI’s new Smart Parking Alliance.  And, I recently discovered that the Consumer Electronics Show dubbed 2013 the Year of IoT, as reported in a guest blog post on Forbes.com by Robert Raskin, Founder of Living in Digital Times.

The “internet of everything” is the focus of a CISCO Systems, Inc. 60-second ad called Tomorrow Starts Here now airing in some television markets, and is explained in a Cisco YouTube video. An internet search will find no shortage of references to IoT!

As with any big idea or innovation, IoT is not without its challenges, as outlined in this Wired blog by Andrew Rose, which warns of potential privacy and security issues.

I’m very eager to hear your thoughts on the Internet of Things — and what you see as its  impact on parking now, and in the future.  When I speak with reporters about parking, I like to bring these ideas to life with real-world examples.

Parking: Coming of Age

L. Dennis Burns

Has big business finally found its way to parking? Consider the following:

  •  3M has acquired Federal APD (PARCS), PIPS (LPR), Sirit (AVI), and VES (a toll service provider located in southern California). 3M currently operates a division that focuses on transportation, but this is significant entre’ into the parking industry.
  • Affiliated Computer Systems (ACS) became part of Xerox which also has a transportation division that includes commercial vehicle operations, electronic toll collections, motor vehicle services, on/off street parking, photo enforcement, public transport, and transportation management.
  • Serco (the largest company you’ve never heard of) is the systems integrator behind the SFpark program.
  • Zeag, which recently acquired Magnetic Corporation, was recently acquired by a large Swiss company.

Initially, I worried that this could be the end of innovation and the beginning of a new corporate mentality that might become pervasive, but then these negative thoughts were drowned out by the following:

  • This investment in our industry is a reflection of the fact that parking is being recognized for the important industry that it’s become.
  • New investment from large multi-national corporations will mean new advancements for the whole industry.
  • The effect of thought leaders such as Don Shoup, Casey Jones, CAPP, and others has created new awareness and spurred huge government investments through agencies such as FHWA and others.
  • Innovative governmental agencies such as the Seattle Department of Transportation and the Washington D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT) are moving forward with creative research and implementation programs even without big federal grants.
  • Transportation planners and transportation demand management (TDM) professionals are becoming more engaged with parking industry practitioners to create new partnerships.
  • Universities are beginning to create sustainable transportation degree programs.
  • The number of smaller technology-based start-ups are increasing and interest by venture capitalists is increasing.

After some reflection, it seems to me we are on the verge a whole new era of growth and advancement. But then, I am always so negative.

All Roads Lead to Technology

EmergingTrends_100sq

According to a new survey released today by the International Parking Institute (IPI), technology, sustainability, revenue-generation, and customer service are the top trends in the parking industry and the things most parking professionals are looking for.

The 2012 Emerging Trends in Parking Survey was released at the IPI Conference & Expo in Phoenix, Ariz., this morning. It showed that cashless, electronic, and automatic payment systems join apps that provide real-time information about parking rates and availability and wireless sensing devices that help improve traffic management as the top in-demand technologies in the industry.

More than one-third of respondents said that demand for sustainable services is a top trend, and that they’re talking about energy-efficient lighting, parking space guidance systems, automatic payment process, solar panels, renewable energy technology, and systems that accommodate electric vehicles and/or encourage alternative methods of travel. Technologies that help people find parking faster take cars off the road; an estimated 30 percent of people driving around cities at any time are looking for parking, wasting fuel and emitting carbons.

Survey participants also said that convincing urban planners, local governments, and architects to include parking professionals in their early planning processes is a priority; doing that, they said, would help prevent many design problems in final projects. And when asked where parking should be included as a course of study in academic institutions, nearly half of the survey participants said schools of urban study, followed by business or public policy schools.

The full survey can be accessed on IPI’s website.

Future Mobility and Parking

George McLean Hazel, OBE

Trends in mobility are opening up a world of new opportunities for the parking industry. In the future, mobility will have to be user-focused, seamless, and valued–this is non-negotiable. The trend is being driven by socio-economic factors such as the desire for personalized services and value; technological factors such as smart phones and apps; and retailing factors, with retailers moving from selling products to selling lifestyles. This is happening all over the world. The key question for those in the parking industry is: do they want to drive this agenda or be driven? (if you’ll pardon the pun!)

A new business area is emerging–mobility management–in which a range of services is combined, integrated, and managed for individual users. There are two broad implications for parking. At the city level, parking systems will control supply and demand virtually, dynamically adjusting prices according to prescribed targets. There will also be operational savings, as much on-street equipment will not be needed because the system will know where each vehicle is and where each parking space is. The system will work on retailing principles, segmenting the market to a fine level, operating a behavioral choice model and incentivizing the customer with respect to stated objectives. Such a system could be owned and operated by the private sector or franchised by the city authority and operated by the private sector. Both business models are relevant and need to be developed. The key point is that such a system can be used to achieve commercial, economic, environmental, or social objectives, depending who controls it.

At the individual level, personalized mobility packages will be developed at various levels of complexity and offered to users. These packages will tell the user where all the available spaces are, what the prices are, give them the ability to extend the parking time remotely, and give access to other value added services such as pre-booking of spaces, booking of restaurants, etc. Customers will be incentivized through loyalty systems and offers.

Private businesses and public sector agencies in the parking industry have a choice to make in the near future. Do they want to shape, develop, design, and manage these systems, or do they want to remain operators? Both choices are valid and legitimate businesses, but the decision will have major implications for the individual business and perhaps for the city.