Parking’s Role in the Future of the Built Environment


Parking’s Role in the Future of the Built Environment

You can find smart cities around the globe. London has made it a priority to make data accessible to all, providing 5G connectivity through fiber-optic coverage throughout the city; Boston is using apps to help citizens participate in planning and development, tracking potholes or reporting service issues; Singapore, Tokyo, too, and the list goes on.

In fact, smart city technology investments are projected to reach $327 billion by 2025, compared to the $96 billion spent in 2019. These investments range in projects from street light motion/light detection technology to waste management solutions. With fast technological advancement and the vast range of data interconnectivity through the Internet of Things (IoT), the possibilities for how smart a city can become are virtually limitless.  

Automated parking solutions are able to house the same number of vehicles in half the space of traditional parking facilities.

The elements of a smart city

Given that 68 percent of the world’s population will be living in cities by 2050, improving and simplifying everyday tasks via automation is essential to functioning urban environments. Some of these elements include:

• Sustainability: Not only are smart cities converting to renewable and sustainable energy like solar and all-electric power campaigns, but they also avoid natural gas price fluctuations, as well as certain environmental taxes. 

• IoT integration: The future is smart, automated, and dependent on reliable data collection, organization and centralization. Everything from a city’s street lamps to your garbage can has the capability to be powered by IoT.

• Efficiency: The idea of smart cities is to accommodate the rapid boom in population and population projections, and a significant amount of logistics is involved when adapting to that shift in migration. Data interactivity and communications in organized and digestible formats allows for city infrastructure and smart solutions to promote a high quality of life, while maintaining smooth operations. 

Parking solutions make smart cities smarter 

Parking can be a major inconvenience, especially in densely populated cities. However, automated solutions are revolutionizing the intelligence in already smart cities through automated parking facilities. Automated parking garages utilize a robotic pallet or non-pallet system to move vehicles from a loading area to a secure storage location within the facility. These automated systems allow for a contactless and fast vehicle drop-off and retrieval experience for drivers, and a space-efficient and future-focused solution for builders and developers. 

Here are a few ways parking can play a key role in the future of the smart built environment:

• Parking in the Palm of Your Hand: Putting the retrieval process in the hands of drivers by using a smartphone app is an efficiency game changer. Drivers can schedule the pick-up time of their vehicle, or call for their vehicle straightaway. The app will also let them know where their vehicle will arrive and a countdown of their wait time. 

• Powering Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging: Electric vehicles are an inevitability of the future. Given that all new vehicles produced in the U.S. must be electric by 2030 to meet climate goals, the market will make convenient, automated EV charging a must-have. That’s why EV chargers are often integrated within an automated parking facility, to ensure a future-proof solution for smart cities worldwide. 

• Promoting Safety and Peace of Mind: Due to the elimination of the need to physically navigate multi-level parking facilities to drop off or retrieve vehicles, personal and property safety is greatly enhanced. Thanks to the contactless experience, certain liability issues such as car break-ins and vandalism are completely avoided. 

• Saving Valuable Real Estate: Automated parking solutions are able to house the same number of vehicles in half the space of traditional parking facilities, thus saving valuable space in urban environments and leaving room for investments in urban green spaces or further development opportunities. 

• Contributing to a Greener Future: Not only do automated parking solutions create a smaller geographical footprint, but they also eliminate the need to circle a parking garage or stay idle while waiting for a spot, decreasing emissions by up to 80 percent when compared to traditional parking facilities. 

The future of the smart city

Smart cities require investment in infrastructure to increase the convenience, health, safety, and quality of life for rapidly growing populations—and transportation and parking are a huge challenge smart city infrastructure aims to address. Automated parking solutions offer excellent long-term benefits like increased property and investment value through substantial savings on land use, as well as added convenience for residents. 

Plus, consumers are expecting new technologies to parallel their lifestyles and market spending habits. Integration of automated parking, and subsequent features like apps or EV charging ports, will play a central role in staying ahead of trends and challenges in the future of the built environment and smart cities around the globe. 


Ian Todd is the Director of Automated Parking at Westfalia Technologies, Inc. He can be reached at

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Ian Todd
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