By Sharon Lewinson
Cities across North America now recognize the indisputable connection between health and the built environment. Change is happening, the pieces are coming together… but we can do more. And, specific to this article, people in the parking industry need to be involved active participants in the movement towards integrated sustainable mobility.
Parking – a connected piece of the integrated mobility solution
Over the years ACT Canada has delivered annual inspiring Summits on sustainable mobility – showcasing examples of leading policy changes, TDM strategies, programs, innovations and collaborative efforts to increase the use of sustainable travel options. Since the inception of ACT Canada almost 15 years ago, the Canadian Parking Association (CPA) has been a strategic ACT Canada partner, recognizing even back then, the critical role of parking in the integrated sustainable mobility puzzle. Each year CPA takes on a key and visible role in the Summit helping to address and raise awareness of parking related factors influencing urban mobility.
This year ACT Canada will be delivering Canada’s first ever integrated transportation – health focused summit, Sustainable Mobility & Healthy Communities Summit to accelerate the health-driven shift away from car-first communities toward a new emphasis on walking, cycling, public transit, ridesharing and efficient car use. We’re at a ground-breaking pivot point in addressing sustainable mobility and we need parking industry stakeholders at the table.
ACT Canada’s sustainable mobility wheel includes parking in many segments and understanding how and where parking fits might better influence increased engagement by parking stakeholders. Here are just a few examples of how critical parking is to the sustainable mobility equation, and how it impacts each and every segment of the sustainable mobility wheel.
TDM tools, resources, strategies and outreach initiatives typically focus on workplaces, schools or neighbourhoods. Employer organizations are consistently raising the bar on supporting and encouraging commuting options for their employees. Priority parking is one of the key parking related elements introduced for carpoolers and cyclists.
Transportation demand management (TDM) is an effective way to influence travel behaviour. Parking influencers include:
- Priority parking (e.g. carpool, carshare, bikeshare, EV)
- Infrastructure (e.g. EV charging)
- IT technologies (e.g. parking space finders, parking booking, carpool parking, sharing economy)
Innovations to build awareness and use of mobility options such as transit, cycling, walking, ridesharing, telework, and car-sharing all include parking:
- Park and Ride
- Bike parking
- Car-share parking
- Carpool priority parking
- Parking design (e.g. enhanced modal integration)
- Safety, security
Sustainable mobility starts with supportive land use policies and practices. Parking strategies that support transit-oriented developments, walkable site designs and economic development result in an integrated multi-modal and diverse community.
The environment is a growing and important catalyst for sustainable mobility initiatives. Fuel efficient hybrids or zero-emission electric vehicles are being supported through both priority parking and charging infrastructure.
More physical activity and better air quality are key outcomes of sustainable mobility strategies. Parking policies, programs, initiatives, services, tools and resources can play a part by helping to reduce physical inactivity and air pollution.
The seamless integration of land use and travel options is vital. Parking design/supply to support walking and cycling access to transit, park and rides, mobility hubs, complete streets and multimodal marketing.
A comprehensive and targeted policy framework is vital to successful sustainable mobility. Parking influencers include:
- Parking bylaws
- Parking cash-out
- Shared parking
- Private driveway parking
As stakeholders and experts in the parking field, you are the ones best able to guide, innovate and exchange best practices with your multi-disciplinary peers working towards sustainable mobility.
It’s time for you to be actively involved in the solution! If you missed the Sustainble Mobility & Healhty Communities Summit reach out to your local TDM stakeholders to understand how to help make parking a core part of the sustainable mobiliy discussion. We look forward to your feedback and thoughts.