Is flexible parking the solution for the challenges facing business parking? The rise of working from home and flexible working is rapidly changing mobility and parking in the business sector. Mark Riemslag of Monit Data took part in a recent large-scale study into business parking. Read more about the results of the survey and Mark’s view on business mobility trends.
Working from home and more flexible working hours are one of the biggest changes in our work culture in recent years. Due to the increasing traffic on our roads and, aided by online communication and meeting tools, the modern knowledge worker is looking for more efficient use of his scarce time. This development has accelerated in the last two years with the Corona pandemic.
The question is how this change influences the mobility and parking behavior of business motorists. The business mobility platform Toogethr initiated a recent large-scale survey into the latest developments in parking. Over a thousand business motorists were interviewed regarding their biggest irritations and wishes. Also, several industry experts including Monit Data’s Mark Riemslagwere invited to give their view on the survey results. Toogethr also asked these experts what they see as the most important trends in business mobility.
Flexibility in Parking Capacity is a Major Trend
Arriving at the office and not having a parking space available. We’ve all been there and felt the frustration. The survey showed that with 29% this is the biggest irritation among business drivers. Even during the corona pandemic in which many worked from home, still a significant 26% of motorists sometimes had no or (almost) never a parking space.
The source of the problem often seems to lie in the traditional and rigid way in which parking capacity is arranged in office buildings. As Mark says, “Traditionally, real estate is arranged in such a way that, for example, in a multi-tenant building, each tenant rents a proportional part of the parking garage. Because of these fixed agreements, it is then not possible to temporarily rent extra parking spaces when you need them as a company.”
The survey shows that with 23% the greatest wish of business motorists is to know if and when there is an available parking space. A clear response to the number one irritation of not having a parking space. The good news for the business motorist is that current developments will help meet this wish. “There appears to be a cautious but lasting trend in business parking resulting from more flexible working hours and the acceptance of working from home. This trend shows that employees come to the office less and at varying times, so that the parking spaces are used more/differently throughout the day,” says Mark.
At Monit Data, our data-driven insights show a growing dynamic in the world of mobility and parking. Mark sees this as one of the major developments for the near future. “Double use and increased flexibility of the available parking capacity is a leading trend for the coming years.”
Optimize Parking Capacity with Management Systems
The Toogethr study showed that the focus of companies to challenges with parking capacity is mainly on reducing car use. Working from home is the most popular solution among employers at 30%, followed by a public transport allowance at 20% and bicycle incentives at 15%. Surprisingly, a more efficient use of the available parking capacity by using flexible office hours and parking spaces does not seem to be really on the radar. Mark however has a clear vision of how we can create a different solution to the problem. “In my view we are moving towards an environment in which fixed parking spaces are no longer required and users have flexible use of the parking capacity through (access) rights. Nowadays the technical solutions are available for this.”
But these management systems as solutions for flexible use of parking capacity are not only beneficial for business users. For residents and visitors, societal developments also bring various challenges in mobility and parking. As Mark explains, “Parking solutions that aim to optimize parking capacity should not only be seen from a corona perspective, but also looking at housing developments. Many countries including The Netherland are facing significant housing shortages. This will mean that more people will live and work in busy cities. More parking spaces are needed for both residential and business users in this urban environment. In order to meet this challenge in a sustainable and cost-efficient way, and with attention to the well-being of humans, a smart way of dealing with double use of the parking spaces will be necessary.”
Mark has a positive view of the future and the solutions offered by modern parking management systems. “The possibilities of dual-use, such as for residents, in business parking lots offers plenty of opportunities.”
This however requires that you have clear insights into your parking trends in order to optimize the dual use of available capacity. When are the peak times, at what times are there many business users and when are there more residents? What is the split between short-term parking and ticket holders? These insights for both off- and on-street parking are easily available with Monit Data’s Parking Monitor management system.
Plan for the Growth in EV Use
We probably all experienced firsthand the impact of the rapid growth of EV’s on our parking. The EV driver in dire need of a charge who cannot find an available parking space with a charging station. Or that the only free spot in a busy car park is just that one with a charging station where your ‘normal’ car is not allowed. It is clear that this has an impact moving towards a more flexible use of parking capacity. Parking spaces with charging stations add an extra variable that makes double use more complex.
With the incorporation of EVs in our mobility solutions still rapidly developing, Mark, therefore, suggests that we should choose a pragmatic and flexible approach here. “We are at a crossroads in terms of electric cars in my view: to what extent will we charge at the destination, charge where you live, or develop public charging stations into a national network, so that it becomes more of a form of gas stations? It is still open in which way this will develop. So if you are building a parking facility now, plan to accommodate the infrastructure for EV charging, so that you have options for the future.”
Monit Data’s vision is that we should see EV and charging stations as an element of the total parking policy, infrastructure and operations. Therefore an EV module is integrated into the Parking Monitor solution. This module provides direct insight into parking and charging trends at charging stations. This gives you a clear overview of how your charging stations are used, and allows you to adjust your parking and charging stations capacity in a data-driven manner.
This article and interview have been created in collaboration with the business mobility platform Toogethr. On behalf of Monit Data, Mark participated as industry expert in the interviews in Toogethr’s survey into the future of business parking. Over a thousand business motorists were interviewed about the biggest irritations and wishes surrounding parking. In addition, experts from employers, real estate operators, and mobility and parking commented on the results of the survey. They also shared their views on the major trends for parking, and how flexible parking can be a parking solution for the future.
You can download the white paper (Dutch only) with the full study on the Toogethr website.
About Monit Data
Monit Data provides parking data analytics services for municipalities and private operators. User-friendly dashboards give clear information on car, EV, and bicycle usage. Use data-driven insights for urban mobility policies and day-to-day operational management.