In the previous two articles in our series about the future of parking, we looked at the role of autonomous vehicles and considered how people will remain autonomous. In this third article we consider the pre-condition for all this autonomy– that is a well-functioning society.
Mobility is a pre-requisite for a well-functioning society
Our society depends on a variety of factors to work well: a set of laws that most people agree on, codes of social and personal conduct, education, public safety and, of course, mobility.
Mobility will always be one of the prerequisites for a well-functioning society, as people move from place to place – whether it be for work or pleasure. However, the way this mobility develops is conditioned by the society we live in.
It is precisely this interweaving of social conditions and individual mobility preferences that confronts city councils, urban planners, developers of future transport systems – and parking operators – with major challenges.
Autonomous vehicles versus public transport
Societies are concerned with liveability, accessibility, economic viability, social inclusion, and sustainability. To achieve all of these goals, sustainable travel options such as public transportation, walking and cycling are important.
Urban planners and local authorities (who think both in the short and long term) are currently investing in future-proof ideas that must last decades. They do not want to see AVs erode a high capacity public transport service nor see increased car kilometres on their already busy roads.
The factors facing local authorities
However, individual mobility choices play a vital role. Clearly, they need to incorporate both passenger car mobility and parking into their entire infrastructure planning.
Whether this involves a reduction in on-street parking for enhanced liveability, or a tolerance for on-street parking for short stay accessibility and public income reasons.
Unquestionably changing demographic trends
Virtually all urban planners are aware of changing demographic trends. For instance, the share of the elderly in the total EU population is projected to increase by almost 10% by 2080. It is now critical to place more emphasis on examining and meeting the needs of this aging society as many of them will gravitate towards private automobile transport.
Changes in mobility patterns are also clear. The demand for mobility continues to increase among all population groups, with differences that reflect social trends and development patterns, including more flexible lifestyles and working times, high car availability and the increasing number of single-person households.
Figure 2 - Changes in mobility patterns reflect social trends, including flexible lifestyles and working times.
Whatever happens in the near and long-term, mobility should be provided equitably through a purposeful concept of inclusive transport that addresses the needs of all members of society including the elderly, adults, children, and persons with restricted mobility.
Q-Park plays its role in a well-functioning society
At Q-Park, we can help. We provide parking facilities at key locations, with easy access and ease of use, wide parking spaces, elevators and escalators, solutions at public transport hubs, and an array of solutions for different needs. In this way, we play our part in a well-functioning society. The goal is to ensure people can participate in activities and create sociable and economically viable environments together.
We therefore work together with urban planners, project developers and local authorities to create well-functioning parking facilities that serve society. This includes car sharing, car charging, P+W and P+R, and proximity to popular destinations. We also take a holistic view regarding multimodal land devoted to social use.
As a vital contributor to the communities in which we operate, we are always eager to discuss, debate and plan for a well-functioning society that will work in a sustainable and harmonious way for everybody.