Local authorities invest a lot of time and effort in identifying what makes residents happy and cities bloom. With so much going on at once, it’s hard for authorities to know which area is worth focusing on first. One topic that impacts our daily lives but rarely gets the spotlight it deserves is parking.
According to the UK’s Local Government Association, “Car parking is one of the most talked-about issues in town centers and frequently cited by businesses as a cause of poor performance.“ Still, many local authorities and residents do not realize just how deeply and broadly it affects them. Here’s why improving this aspect can make all the difference for your city.
Parking Impacts Our Happiness
Recent research in the field found that the average US driver spends 17 hours a year searching for parking spots. This alarming statistic has a negative influence on our environment and wellbeing. More than 60% of surveyed drivers reported that parking struggles make them feel stressed, and more than 20% described feelings of road rage as a result. Another direct influence on our health has to do with 20% of drivers skipping medical appointments due to parking-related concerns.
Parking and traffic jams go hand in hand, especially when we learn that almost 60% of local traffic is caused by cruising for parking. These delays prevent residents from controlling their time and lead to severe setbacks, with nearly half of drivers stating that they had to change plans and miss appointments due to this problem. Add to that the pain of tickets and fines, and you’ll discover one disturbing picture. Cruising for parking also has environmental consequences due to emissions of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants.
Parking problems make residents unhappy and dissatisfied with local authorities, and solving them can boost approval rates and significantly improve people’s lives.
Parking Is an Economic System
The local economy depends on parking because these issues influence property value and drive us away from areas where we might struggle to get things done. Around 40% of surveyed drivers said they avoided shopping in specific destinations because they knew how upsetting the parking situation might be. Another research found that “There is a clear relationship between the quantity of car parking and footfall. Towns with higher footfall (and therefore a higher spend and better quality of offer) have more parking spaces.”
This is a critical issue for residents and local governments because it translates to people’s ability to generate income in a specific area, resulting in long commutes and decreased revenue for the authority itself. Smart parking solutions also promote micromobility by connecting people with last-mile transportation options like buses, scooters, electric bikes, and more. Ultimately, cities that make it impossible for residents to make plans and earn a living suffer from negative immigration rates and a poor reputation.
To encourage tourism and boost the city’s economy, local authorities must offer smart parking solutions. The answer isn’t necessarily to add more parking spots, which isn’t always an option. Instead, authorities should manage local parking wisely and rely on technology to make the most out of their existing resources. When parking is adequately managed, we can actually decrease the number of spots and use the space for other needs without upsetting residents.
Smart Parking Solves a Local Communication Problem
For many residents, troubles don’t end when the coveted parking spot is finally found. People often struggle to understand local parking regulations, with contradicting signs confusing residents and causing them to get it wrong and pay the price. Using smart parking solutions, authorities can offer a simple answer to the question “may I park here?” and improve communications with residents.
Once we realize how vast the influence of parking really is, it’s easy to improve additional aspects by harnessing the right technology. For example, local governments can gather data to learn which areas need more attention in that department or decide when to fix potholes based on hourly traffic figures.
A smart city that offers intelligent parking solutions communicates a strong message to locals and visitors. It lets them know that this is a forward-facing city led by people who understand people’s needs and know how to address them. In order for this message to be clear and valid, any parking solution embraced by authorities must be accurate and available in real-time. To learn more about the solutions fit for your town, contact Parknav’s parking technology experts, and we’ll find you the perfect spot.
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