OPINION: City parking solutions are out there

London could see its downtown parking rates increase as a study commissioned by city hall is recommending it Smart Parkingincentivize the use of public transit.

The report by MMM group suggested that London’s parking rates ($80-$110 month) are “low relative to cities of comparable, size, economic activity and parking supply ($130-$180/month) and that an increase in rates could be tolerated by commuters.”

I think this is a bad idea — at least in the meantime. We should not raise the cost of parking to make it inconvenient for commuters, then expect them to use public transit.

Currently, on a typical weekday, residents make an average of 620,000 trips using the transit system.
Based on a household survey conducted by the city administration, the main transportation mode today is the private automobile accounting for 73.5 percent, and public transportation, which accounts for 12.5 percent of daily travel.

Nonetheless, transit ridership has increased by 94 percent between 1996 and 2014 — 12.3 million in 1996 to 23.9 million trips in 2014. This number will continue to rise as the London Transit Commission is anticipating a 50 percent growth, or 33 million riders by 2024.

Moreover, the number of complaints about late schedules, infrequencies, service quality, overcrowding and missed passengers has increased by 55 percent within three years.
For that reason, the ineffective transit system we have today, causes people to shift towards other modes of transportation.

For many riders in London, speed, comfort and reliability are their top priorities when it comes to using public transit and our current system does not meet those demands.
It’s clear that London is facing a public transit service deficit as overcrowding, ridership and backlogs continue to rise 4.1 percent per year.

To increase parking rates with public transit service deficits is unreasonable at this time.

We need to take proactive measures to implement a forward-thinking parking strategy that includes innovative and technology-based solutions.

This is to ensure that we are optimizing our parking system with efficiencies and providing effective services to Londoners to improve our quality of life.

These solutions consists of parking detectors, repeaters, vehicle parking controllers, a cloud Iot platform and mobile applications.

The parking detector identifies occupied or vacant slots for vehicles and transmits relevant information to the commuter which also collects vehicle identification information.

The vehicle parking controller transmits the roadside parking slot and parking vehicle information to a computer cloud platform. The driver can use the parking information, book a parking slot, pay the bill and do other operations through a mobile application on an intelligent terminal.

These parking system technologies can bring great benefits for drivers, inspectors and local governments.
For drivers, it is easier to find a parking slot and pay conveniently.

For inspectors, it’s easier to detect illegal parking through the mobile app; hence improving parking management.
Finally, for local governments, this solution helps to reduce urban congestion, increase revenue and plan urban traffic based on big data analysis.

There are many other innovative parking systems our city can implement such as a pay-by-plate technology, which enables commuters to purchase parking time by using their license plate number.

We need to think long-term, implement new and innovative systems that improve parking for commuters, and we should incentivize more people to come to downtown.

In other words, use the carrot, not the stick.

Amir Farahi
Amir Farahi
Amir Farahi is the Co-Founder & Executive Director of the London Institute. He is an entrepreneur, columnist, public speaker, and is currently specializing in Economics and Political Science at Western University.
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