India is currently the world’s largest two-wheeler market and is at the top of four-wheeler growth and adoption as well. Parking has become a serious concern, especially in urban areas. However, in recent times, parking management has witnessed rapid strides, especially with the fusion of technology into the mix. So, what is digitisation likely to do for parking management? We spoke to N Sathyanarayanan, Managing Director, Central Parking Services (CPS) to know more.
CPS is said to have transformed from being a parking services company to a mobility company offering a range of services. The company began by carrying out design work for parking lots and is now also managing all these parking assets, performing end-to-end work in the smart mobility value chain.
Founded in 2005, CPS started its journey by largely carrying out off-street parking lots, and then moved into new asset classes like airports, shopping centres, hospitals and event spaces. The company also has a smartphone app, called PARKING4SURE, which was set-up a couple of years ago to assist users in meeting their various parking-related needs. Parking in increasingly becoming digital – parking spaces are being identified digitally, and payment mechanisms are also going digital, noted Sathyanarayanan.
The digitisation parking trends bring in their own set of advantages for the consumer. According to a study published by IBM, people spend about 20 min on an average looking for a parking space in the central business district (CBD) areas of large global cities. The case is not very different in many of the top cities in India, noted Sathyanarayanan. Reservation of a parking space is a major benefit that could help users save a large amount of time, otherwise spent on looking for a space. This reservation would be a premium service, and for a small percentage of the total parking spaces available, but this makes a difference to the user, he said.
It is generally assumed that parking spaces would not be available in CBDs of major cities at all times, which is not always the case. There are different times in a day, or days in a week, or months in a year when parking is available in these areas. The identification of these parking spaces, through digital means, and filling them up are directly related to the amount of business conducted at shops in those areas. This is where the importance of identifying free parking spaces provides direct benefit to the establishments around those parking spaces.
India is walking down the digital path on various fronts, and parking payments are also moving in the same direction purely from the perspective of convenience, said Sathyanarayanan. It helps avoid hassles of obtaining change for payments as well as provides clarity on the legal amount to be charged for the parking space.
Parking spaces are assets of the citizens, who should be able to utilise them as required, observed Sathyanarayanan. Cities need to plan on how a larger number of people can use this same asset, for which it could impose a dynamic tariff during peak hours. This would lead to a higher tariff during peak hours, ensuring that only those who really want to be in that area at that particular time are present.
PARKING & MOBILITY
Sathyanarayanan said the interesting part of this parking technology is how it is turning automotive. CPS has been engaged in a discussion with a leading self-drive vehicle hire provider in the country, which leverages on a large amount of technologies for its services. The idea is to integrate the various parking services offered by CPS into the self-drive vehicle’s application, which could be an add-on to navigation, he noted. Sathyanarayanan added that this would especially add a large amount of value to self-drive vehicles that are used within city limits. Further, with the automotive industry poised to be driven by various technologies and services in the near future rather than physical assets in the form of vehicles, large OEMs and technology companies are studying this area keenly, while some are even acquiring such companies.
Although there are a number of technologies around parking to ensure proper utilisation of parking spaces for users, there is still the part of payment, which lies within the purview of the user. The onus of payment for the utilised parking service is on the users, noted Sathyanarayanan. Additionally, the usage of such services and proper parking need to be undertaken by road users, along with strict enforcement by the concerned authorities. When organised enforcement of traffic and parking rules come into play, there will be a better chance of wide adoption of services offered by CPS, especially in the domestic market, he added.
Parking is currently an unorganised sector in India, and this is changing given the fast-paced urbanisation in the country. Such a scenario presents a huge opportunity for companies like CPS, Sathyanarayanan noted.
TEXT: Naveen Arul