Our Director Mark recently gave a talk at the Parking and Property 2018 event, discussing what the car parks of the future would be like. We caught up with him to hear a bit more about his predictions….

What are the big trends impacting the car park sector right now?

There is a lot of uncertainty in the sector right now but there are three main trends that I see having a profound effect on car park design.

Firstly, how we use cars is changing. We’re seeing far more car pooling going on and car ownership falling.

Secondly, the car industry itself is rapidly changing. We’re likely to see autonomous, driverless cars and cars that can park themselves become increasingly popular as the technology develops.

And finally, we’re seeing a step change in town planning as the value of real estate in central urban areas continues to rise.

All these trends feed into fundamental changes for mobility in our towns and cities.

With these in mind, what will the car parks of the future look like?

My vision for car parks is for them to become what many now call ‘automotive mobility hubs’. Yes, you can park there, or your car will park itself as we see more self-parking cars enter the market. But there will also be plenty of space for car pools, a valeting service and even bike club spaces. It’s about meeting everyone’s travel needs in one place.

But these do not need to be brand new buildings, current stock can be adapted. Here’s how I see one of our award winning car park renovation at Ruskin Square reimagined for 2030…..

Car parks designed for self-parking cars – is this really going to happen?

With our design projects, we’re already seeing a lot of design time being ploughed into car parks that accommodate self-parking cars. The belief is that these cars are likely to be commonplace in just over a decade and will save people time and reduce the amount of space needed in cities for parking. It’s an approach that Mayor Joseph Curatone is already looking to implement in Somerville, Boston in the States, where parking spaces take up a ridiculous 40% of the available land area.

How will it work?

We will soon be able to go to designated drop off points, leave our car and head directly into the shops or office. Meanwhile our car drives to its allocated parking spot and parks itself. It can then charge if its electric and we can summon it using an app when we’re ready to head home. No more circling up and down car parks looking for a space!

These cars don’t need as much room to park as no one needs to get in and out of the car, so a lot more spaces can be squeezed into the same footprint. Allowing people to leave their cars at designated drop off points means we will also hopefully see car parks move out of prime real estate areas in city centres, while people are still able drive their car to where they want to be.