Joint public-private stakeholder initiatives create smart parking solutions in European and US cities


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LONDON--Sept. 24, 2013: The parking industry in Europe and North America is expected to witness a major growth phase this decade. Global automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are investing in strategic growth partnerships with parking management companies, app providers, car sharing operators, and city governments to create an integrated journey experience for their drivers in the near future. On top of this, a different genre of market players is entering the parking industry. Telecom and IT companies, infrastructure management and mobility providers' step into the road with smart sensor-based solutions, information management, smart infrastructure, and advanced analytical solutions.

According to new analysis by Frost & Sullivan, Future of Vehicle Parking Management Systems in North America and Europe, growth opportunities are expected to attract new start-ups in the parking industry providing real-time parking applications. The industry is expected to witness investments and funding from Venture Capitalist (VC) firms, ranging from $200–$250 million in the next 3–5 years. This is made evident through the emergence of companies, such as Streetline (US and Europe), ParkatmyHouse (US and Europe), and GottaPark (US) which have introduced innovative parking apps providing real-time information on parking lots and spaces, and the option to book or reserve and pay for parking online.

"A significant number of private-public joint initiatives have set up smart parking solutions at many of the largest cities in Europe and the U.S., such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Paris, Zurich, Amsterdam, and Brussels," says Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Automotive & Transportation, Neelam Barua. "Even parking application providers offer extended services to parking operators and local-level city governments manage and support parking in the city."

Parking is a $25-billion industry in the United States and a €50-billion industry in Western Europe (EU-15). "Primarily operated and managed in a traditional manner with very little focus on innovation and smart parking, the operational value chain was simple," he says. "It included parking operators and their engagements with service providers. The new ecosystem however, is highly concentrated with a different genre of participants exploring numerous opportunities in parking." By 2020, more than one million parking spaces and numerous smart parking meters are expected to deliver real-time parking information with the help of sensors to motorists and parking operators, simplifying parking operation and business.

Automotive OEMs' and technology companies' foray into the smarter parking ecosystem is evident through the alliances between parking operators and parking app providers in the United States and Europe. Parking app companies which are backed by venture capitalist (VC) firms are complementing the parking industry, establishing more intelligence, accuracy, and efficiency of operation. In addition to dedicated parking services for car sharing operators (CSOs), dynamic parking facility is also made available as a result of parking sensing data which will allow car-sharing users to park vehicles as part of their journey in a floating car model.

"A revolutionary trend is 'Smart Parking', a real-time parking system that helps drivers find a vacant spot," explains Barua. "The system integrates street-level sensors, parking analytics, and a mobile app to reserve, navigate, and pay for the parking spot." A number of parking app providers, such as Parker (Streetline), ParkatmyHouse, Parkmobile, and QuickPay, are providing services to simplify and redefine parking as a business and innovation hub for cities.

A few technology start-ups in the UK leverage the collaborative or shared economy business model and offer completely online services designed to connect available vacant parking spaces with people looking to park their cars. ParkatmyHouse for example claims it has distributed more than 5 million to property owners who had let their parking space out. GottaPark, a parking start up, has helped more than 10,000 vehicle owners for the last six years in North America using a peer-to-peer parking business model with a recurring customer base. Streetline has combined technology and innovation to offer real-time parking solutions to on-street and off-street parking areas in the United States and Europe benefitting city councils, traffic management centres, and commuters. These new business models and innovative ideas are paving the way for futuristic vehicle parking solutions.

In a bid to combat increasing parking charges, the UK government is thinking of developing legislations to allow property owners to rent their driveways to motorists, without it being considered a business. The parking industry is getting more integrated and converged, thus, transforming into a hot spot for mobility in cities and a dependable revenue generation model.

"OEMs increasingly view parking as an important service that needs to be integrated within the vehicle's telematics system," Mr. Barua goes on. "To do so, they are not only developing in-vehicle systems but also investing through their VC arms in organisations that are developing these solutions." ParkatmyHouse for example, was the second strategic investment from BMW i Ventures in London in 2011. Similarly, Daimler Mobility Services acquired a financial interest in GottaPark at the end of last year for its simplified approach, collaborative growth, and cost-effective business model."

Another example of such a partnership is what Audi and Lexus have developed with INRIX for in-vehicle integrated real-time parking services and traffic navigation for existing and new Audi and Lexus IS vehicles in Europe and North America. Renault on the other hand, has signed an agreement with Vinci Park, a European leader in parking management, to provide charging infrastructure and associated services for electric vehicles in car parks in France.

"In future finding a parking spot is going to be less of a hassle due to advanced technology, savvy users, and social media-based parking initiatives," concludes Mr. Barua. "Real-time, smart parking and navigable parking lots will proliferate and become the future trends in parking along with autonomous parking services in cars."

Frost & Sullivan is organising a web conference, entitled Future of Vehicle Parking Management Systems in North America and Europe, taking place on Tuesday, 1st October 2013, at 4.00 p.m. BST. Research Manager, Praveen Chandrasekar, and Industry Analyst, Neelam Barua, will introduce emerging parking management systems, present new mobility business models in parking and offer a special focus on parking apps and solutions providers. They will also discuss growth opportunities and give a future outlook on the industry.

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