Car parking

Insight into the future of parking

Car parking is a daily fact of life for millions of motorists but what does the future look like for car owners? Red Marlin asked Charles Cridland, technical director at online parking portal, for his thoughts.

  1. Is how people book parking changing?


The internet has transformed how people do most things, whether it’s booking a holiday, purchasing insurance or even finding a date, yet the parking industry has stayed remarkably static throughout the years. However, slowly change is coming. Increasingly people expect to be able to pay for parking using a cashless app, rather than using cash at a pay and display machine. This trend is now transitioning online, with people looking to check prices and locate a suitable car park before setting off. This trend is most prevalent in London, but other major towns and cities aren’t far behind.


  1. What are the next booking innovations?


Two major booking-related innovations will become increasingly important over the coming years. The first is related to the EV industry. As motorists transition to electric cars, these motorists will expect to be able to charge their vehicle whilst parking. Car park operators and booking platforms will need to provide this service. Secondly, longer term, autonomous cars will enter the market. These cars will be parking at those car parks that are fully integrated with the autonomous cars.


  1. When do you think autonomous cars will be an everyday norm and how will it affect the parking industry?


By 2025 I’d expect that autonomous cars will become the norm within the taxi industry, with a high proportion of private car sales being autonomous vehicles by 2030. This will be the change that really forces car park operators to embrace technology, the era of operating a car park with a cash-only pay and display machine will be over.


  1. How will the rise of people sharing cars affect how they park?


Car sharing should decrease the amount of cars in a city, putting pressure on car park operators to think outside the box. I can see car parks becoming hubs where additional services like car clubs, electric vehicle charge points, and delivery pick-up points are housed.


  1. What is the next big thing in the parking industry?


Connected cars, smart city solutions and electric charging are all competing to be the next big driver of change, with electric charging most likely to be the next big thing in my view.


  1. Will we see more robot parking like that being trialled at Gatwick?


At this stage, with autonomous cars not on the road, I don’t see robot parking as a mainstream innovation. It’s particularly suited to the airport market, specifically car parks where vehicles have long-stay periods and thousands of spaces. In the UK, with many car parks a few hundred spaces in size, rarely full to capacity, and having no on-site personnel managing the car park, the economics around introducing a robotic valet system aren’t as attractive.


  1. What is the future vision for


We have international ambitions but in the short to medium term our goal is to be the UK’s largest parking provider, whilst owning no parking spaces. To achieve this, our goal is to work with car park operators, providing them with the technology and audience to make their proposition more compelling, efficient and effective.


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