I asked my friend Bob Harkins to guest blog on Smart Parking, Smart Cities, and Universities. Read on. JVH
Thursday March 29, 2018, the Parking Industry Exposition (PIE) will be devoted to an in-depth study of “Smart Cities” and the role of the parking and transportation industry. If you follow a wide variety of news and information sources and you will invariable find an article on the growth of urban areas in this country and around the world. Estimates vary but within the next twenty to fifty years this spread will increase at an even faster rate. Most who live in our urban areas no stranger to the realities of today’s transportation situation. That includes greatly increased traffic causing delays, increased noise, wasted hours in traffic jams, frustration, increased accidents, and unhealthy pollutants added to the environment. Additionally, few deny the impact of natural disasters on the transportation infrastructure.
At the same time residents are calling for cities and urban environment to be “more livable”. That term “more livable” means different things to different people but generally the desire revolves around the desire for a safe, pollution free, and easily traversed community.
In a previous time, the parking industry always leaned back and said yes, all movements begin and end with “parking”. “We park cars”!! For years mass transit, highway and road management issues, bicycle travel, and pedestrian movement was “someone else’s problem”. But today most embrace the reality that we have to a better job of linking all modes of transportation with new and expanding urban communities. Public mass transportation, bus rapid transit, light rail of one type or another, connected and autonomous vehicles, car sharing, electric and alternative fueled vehicles, bicycle lanes and pathways, pedestrian walkways, and many other modes of transportation are all part of this network.
However, we are faced with the reality of emerging technology, aging transportation infrastructure, sustainable land use policies. Couple this with the reality that most urban governing and planning authorities are often focused on short / near term solutions. There is an absence of funding for “future” projects. Additionally, in many communities the planning function is siloed and restricted for broad collaboration.
Most or a great preponderance of the higher education institutions are located in what would be considered urban areas. These institutions have as a core mission, to do research and to serve the community. How can colleges and universities partner with the governing agencies, land use planners, business leaders, technology companies and the other members of the parking and transportation industry to resolve the problem of urban congestion. Come to PIE to join in the search for solutions to these pressing problems. http://pieshow.parkingtoday.com/index.cfm