Contactless Smart Parking, Post Covid-19: More Than a Utility
Covid 19 has redefined the way we live, commute and transact. The shared economy syndrome has been reset by the fear of the pandemic, providing a much needed relief of automotive manufacturers and throwing spanner in the works of operators like Uber and Ola. Although the desire and need for commute has reduced immediately, due to work from home options, door delivery of products and services, there is sure to be slow return to cautious commute, albeit using mostly private transport.
More than providing a parking space, municipalities, parking operators, establishments and malls would have to provide for contactless service to visitors, with advance booking options, e-payment for parking and visitors logs/e-register with vehicle and passenger details, as contact tracing and contactless transaction become the byword in the way we live and cope with the pandemic.
This puts the onus of defining a parking policy which regulates crowd, enabling contact tracing, contactless transactions with the municipal authorities.
Responsibility of Municipality:
Defining a parking policy which provides for regulating, managing, controlling the crowd will go beyond conventional methods. Following steps may be considered.
- Identifying, and publishing parking – both private and public
- Defining a parking policy which penalizes crowding with higher parking fees city centre
- Charging crowd tax to establishments with higher footfall through centralized tariff control of parking and visitor logs
- Part of fees charged by mall for parking to be paid to municipality as crowd tax
- Mandatory booking and transaction of parking using mobile apps and elimination of paper tickets and cash.
- Mandatory e-register of visitors to shops and establishments using mobile apps.
Revenue opportunity and crowd management through technology adoption:
Global parking revenue tops Rs 80000/- crores. In cities like London parking constitutes the second highest revenue for the municipality after building tax. Revenue from parking in India is less than 5% of the global revenue although we host 20% of world’s population. Therefore there is a very large potential for augmenting revenue for municipality through appropriate parking policy and regulation of public and private parking through appropriate taxes.
This objective of revenue optimization can be achieved through appropriate adoption of technology. Municipality should deploy a centralized parking management platform, bringing public and private parking owners and operators under a single umbrella and bring visibility to available parking spaces by deployment of a mobile app, through which citizens can find, reserve and pay for parking, eliminating human intervention and risk of disease transmission due to personal contacts. The app can also store the details of visitors to an establishment and thus help in tracing the contacts in case of necessity. The app can also be used for regulating the visitors to a particular store at one point.
Benefits to commuters and Parking operator:
Hitherto one of the main anxieties governing the commuter was availability of parking space. With Adoption of digital technologies commuter can find, reserve and pay for a parking in real-time, saving the uncertainty of parking availability.
More importantly contactless (ticket and currency free) booking and payment will eliminate the chances of disease transmission to a great extent for both commuter and parking operator eliminating a major public risk.
Visitors E-Register for Malls and Shops:
In the current scenario there is hardly any robust mechanism to trace visitors to shops, establishments, malls and trace contacts in case of a need. Paper based registers only add to the risk of disease transmission. Therefore regulating visitors with advance booking would reduce such risk in addition to option for tracking and tracing visitor history in case of a need.
Conclusion: It is high time that municipalities, airport, railways and private parking operators eliminate manual paper based parking and embrace smart parking to improve operational efficiency and eliminate risk of disease transmission.
Entrepreneur and Startup mentor