Predictions for 2017, and How We Pay for Things


Predictions for 2017, and How We Pay for Things

In January, wags are supposed to enter a list of predictions as to what is going to happen in the upcoming year. It’s usually a pretty safe thing to do, since no one really goes back and holds you to what you said.

I looked back in the PT archives and found that I haven’t given any predictions for the past couple of years. It’s probably because I’m lazy, or perhaps I’m off the taste of crow. I think I can come up with a few, since I’m supposed to know all and tell all. Here goes:

Venture capital will continue to flow into the parking industry, but will focus on companies that involve Apps, the IoT, connected vehicles, and alternate methods of payment. Look to Apple, Google, and other giants to be sniffing around these companies.

I attended a seminar put on by a major legacy company this past month, and the speculation was on “who are we going to buy?” We are going to see more consolidation as companies grow and want to become more pervasive. Think Amano Mcgann, Tiba and Skidata and how they are buying up their dealer networks. Look for more of that in the future.

Innovation will be in the forefront. As you attend PIE and the other trade events, you will see ticketless parking, an expanded use of License Plate Recognition, Shopping Centers providing apps for parkers, the use of many different types of payment methods including Apple Pay, credit and debit cards, and pay by cell.

Speaking of Pay by Cell, at least one and maybe two of the companies you see swimming in this part of our market will either close up shop or be purchased by a competitor. You read it here first.

Parking will expand into transportation and ‘smart cities.’ If you don’t have your toe in this pool you neglect it at your peril. The really successful companies will coordinate and consolidate technologies so cities and transportation divisions can deal with one vendor, and not a dozen or more to solve their “smart city” issues.

Innovation to watch:

Controlling off street parking using ticketless entry and exit

Automated Parking Systems will be featured in more and more developments, but will remain relatively small

Lighting will be changing to LED in a big way. It’s a no brainer, and provides huge cost savings

On Street enforcement will continue to automate. In street sensors will be popular but will give way to video in tracking whether a space is empty or full. This technology may take a few years to grab the interest of major cities.

OK, that’s enough – I think this is general enough so that no matter what happens this coming year, I will be right.


Columnist Mark Wilson is writing a series on what the country will look like under our new president. He quotes another naysayer:

Urbanist journalist Greg Lindsay imagines a darker scenario in which all public transit is handed over to private corporations. Imagine Uber running trains with surge pricing on your way to work each morning. Individual neighborhoods might be tolled on entry, effectively cutting off parts of the city to people without the means to pay. Consider having to pay $2.50 every time you go shopping in Tribeca or commute to your job in SoHo—perhaps through an RFID-powered deduction system that tolls users seamlessly across the city.

Oh My Goodness. It would seem that Mr. Lindsay doesn’t understand that everything we do costs money. The only discussion is how we collect and pay for it, and in dealing with cities, how much we want to subsidize certain services.

These are decisions cities wrestle with daily. Can they continue to raise taxes to pay for services, or do we charge individuals to use those services based on what it costs to deliver them. A private entity (like Uber) will charge enough to cover costs and have something left over. That is how capitalism works. They will be as efficient as possible, and also ensure that the infrastructure they install will be properly maintained so their investment will be protected.

Consider WAMATA – the DC Metro. A large portion of it is closed, unusable since it was not properly maintained and there is no money to maintain it now. This is also true of water mains in Los Angeles. The city is in a drought, but thousands of gallons of water is lost daily to leakage.

Is it possible that the city didn’t charge enough for the use of the Metro, or for water, to ensure that the systems could be maintained? Ya Think?

Mr. Lindsay’s concerns are already in place in London, where you cannot drive into the central city during certain hours (congestion pricing) without paying a healthy fee. Yikes.

Wilson, Lindsay and Co worry about folks having to pay for services that in the past were subsidized by the government. Do they realize that we are paying for them now, just in a different way (taxes)?

It has been said that those in the UK, for instance, pay a 20% sales tax, but they don’t realize it, since it’s included in the price of the item. Here in the U.S., sales taxes, where they are collected, are added separately. Wonder what would happen if the city tacked a 20% surcharge on all items bought and you saw it every time you bought a candy bar ( or a car). Can you say torches and pitchforks?

The new administration seems to be made up primarily of business folk. I’m not sure whether this is good or bad, but it certainly will be different.

Article contributed by:
John Van Horn
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