Technology in Europe – How about a pix of a traffic jam in London

February 16, 2015

Peter at PIE: It’s Not Rocket Science

By Peter Guest

PT’s European Editor at Large Peter Guest speaks this year at the Parking Industry Exhibition in Chicago. If you want to find out what you will be using as technology in the next five years, this is the seminar to attend.

When JVH invited me to come to PIE a year ago he invited me to speak about pretty much the same subject. So to revisit the same topic twelve months on gives me a real challenge; and an opportunity to look around at what’s going on over here, and there, and in fact everywhere that’s not America I look forward to giving you my take on what’s going to be heading your way, hopefully without repeating myself.

I have looked back a year to see what was covered then and I am surprised at just how much new stuff to there is to tell you about.

Last year I tried to cover a pretty broad range of stuff, including:

  • The parking facility, how it’s built and what goes into it to make it work
  • How new types of vehicle and new forms of motive power will affect the way we look at accommodating the car in our facilities.
  • Parking and Revenue Control Systems and things to do with paying for parking.
  • How we use street space and how we manage that use, and
  • The technology and techniques of parking management and enforcement, including protection for front line staff.

A year on and what’s happened? The answer is a lot and in the time available I will try and give you all an update on what’s happening out there.

One of the most interesting things to me is to see how out there in the world the attitude to parking is changing Governments are perhaps for the first time recognizing parking’s importance as a major part of how we think about and plan for urban transport and several countries are now actively pursuing plans to develop Parking Master Plans as a constituent part of urban transport planning. I want to talk about this and what it could mean for our industry if “Market Forces” are replaced by “Political Diktat”.

Last year I spoke about how the philosophy of car park structural design was evolving in the UK and in particular how attitudes to materials were evolving, with particular emphasis on sustainability and re-usability. A year on and we have moved further forward with car parks that turn into urban gardens and the use of lighting to make the car park an art form as well as a utility.

Has petrol/diesel had its day as a fuel source, is the electric vehicle forever “tomorrows solution” or, as an industry should we build in a battery powered future and if so how? Other fuel systems are available and each in turn presents its own challenges and opportunities.

Cash is King/ Cash is Dead, long live the credit card. I don’t think either of these statements is true but PARCS manufacturers are all hell bent on responding to client pressure to get cash out of the system because if it isn’t there it can’t be stolen and doesn’t have to be collected and handled. Trouble is just because someone has a card should they be forced to use it and what about the phone? We all have one but should I be required to have a phone, or card in order to use my car? Neither “solution” is mandated in law and remember guys we are a SERVICE INDUSTRY i.e. we serve people.

Last year we heard a lot about SF Park and the marvelous stuff they did. Trouble is there are other views, including one comment that they spent $56m and got a really neat logo. Using, managing and enforcing street space is a complex multi-faceted issue and I am not sure anyone has really got this right yet but let’s talk about what’s being done elsewhere and whether there is anything to learn from overseas.

A year on and the technology of parking has advanced and I will try and bring you up to date on some new ideas from around the world. The trouble is, in the USA that ideas that work elsewhere tend to fall over when confronted with some uniquely American ideas about how the world should work. I will flag up some of these issues and if a few sensible people sat down in a room I am sure that your world could become a lot easier to deal with. As the guy said “it aint rocket science”

And just like last year there will be a question at the end, with a prize for the best answer, so make sure that you