The Future of Parking Structures is 9AP

By Reachel Knight

At the periphery of downtown Calgary there is an up and coming neighbourhood literally being built from the ground up.  Not so long ago this was the rough part of town avoided by the majority, but in less than a decade this city eyesore has become a hotbed for new restaurants and culturally relevant community hubs and is now called East Village.

This neighbourhood is booming. There are people and businesses moving in and infrastructure is being built to support and serve the area. Of note is one parking structure that we at the Calgary Parking Authority call 9AP, short for 9th Avenue Parkade.

Along with our partners, we excitedly broke ground this past December on an innovative, multi-use parking structure designed to stand the test of time – the design features offer the ability to be repurposed to best serve whatever needs the community has in the future, as transportation behaviours change and parking needs shift. This is a story about how the blight of Calgary is being transitioned, quite literally, into the place to be and how parking has become a conduit to developing this urban landscape.

What’s New?

East Village is home to Calgary’s new Central Library, which has been ranked as one of the top 52 Places to Go in 2019 by the New York Times.  The area has a diverse mix of projects including Calgary’s first residential building with no on-site parking, the National Music Centre and hotels.  Several heritage buildings have been restored to house retail and office space.   East Village has evolved into a riverfront destination with parks, cafes, restaurants and scheduled community events.

East Village has been in a state of transition for a number of years. In 2007, the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) was incorporated as a wholly owned subsidiary…

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Using Technology to Compete with Rideshare Services

By Brett Bain and Stephen Prati

It’s no secret that rideshare services have cut deeply into airports’ parking revenues. Airports across the US and Canada are losing millions of dollars every year as flyers turn to Uber and Lyft rather than drive themselves to airports. This represents a significant financial hit for airports because parking is so important to the bottom line. In fact, for many airports the only larger source of revenue is gate fees.

Most airports have sought ways to combat the loss of parking fees since the arrival of ridesharing services. Most attempts, though, have met with limited success. However, at Edmonton International Airport, we think we’ve found a solution.

To some extent, the challenge facing Edmonton International and other Canadian airports is more pressing than at our counterparts in the US. Unlike many American airports, Canadian airports aren’t government funded. As a result, we rely even more heavily on non-aeronautical revenue, particularly parking. We have always competed with off-airport parking facilities, but with the advent of ridesharing services we found ourselves competing for shares of a smaller pie. In short, fewer people were driving themselves to the airport and that was hitting our bottom line hard.

Edmonton International Airport has 13,500 parking stalls and serves 8.1 million customers a year. Several years ago we established Jetset, a separate organization designed to offer competitive parking products and to manage the airport’s parking resources. When Uber and Lyft arrived last spring, the airport turned to Jetset to compete with these rideshare services. As many airports across the US and Canada had already experienced, these services presented significant challenges.

Fighting Fire with Fire

The answer, in our view, was to make it more convenient (and thus more attractive) to drive to the airport and park with…

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It’s Time to Rethink Parking

By Yona Shtern

When I write the words “parking garage,” what comes to mind?

If you had asked me ten years ago, I would have likely said the following: A large structure. Often gray and cold in the winter. Perhaps not the most inviting place, but a place I need to go to store my car for some period of time – out of necessity.

Today? It would be a completely different response. Let me explain.

Ten years ago, parking garages were essentially passive real estate. They were large structures (often built and left alone) simply waiting for use. Sometimes packed with vehicles during the day or peak evening hours, causing drivers to circle block after block in traffic looking for a garage with an open space or an acceptable price. Other times, they could be eerily empty, especially during the overnight hours.

Today, things have changed. Now, I like to think of parking garages as hubs for connected mobility services.

Virtually every vehicle coming off the assembly line now has a modem with internet connectivity. 5G promises to deliver lightning-fast bandwidth that will transform the nature of connected content and mobility services. Large brands like Google, Amazon and Apple are focused on bringing convenient, connected features and their content to drivers and passengers in connected cars across the world.

While autonomous vehicles are still years away, connected mobility is quickly becoming a reality today. The promise of a driver pulling out of the garage having their coffee ordered automatically, their parking spot reserved and paid for, the nearest gas pump or EV charger primed and ready to fuel, and their route optimized to get to their first meeting or first pitch on time is already a possibility.

Additionally, voice-powered assistants like Alexa, Siri and Google Home…

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Beginner’s Guide to Blockchain 

By Sidharth Malhotra

Part 1 – A Simple Guide to Understand Blockchain with a Real-World Analogy

Everyone is talking about Bitcoin these days, from your barber to your friends working the stock market. Don’t worry. This article is not about making money from Bitcoin. However, I will try to help you understand the underlying technology which makes Bitcoin work and how this concept of blockchain can be useful in the coming decades.

Historical Overview

October 31, 2008, a white paper from an anonymous person or organization named Satoshi Nakamoto was published which explained a novel approach to send money from sender to receiver directly without involving any financial intermediaries. The paper gave a name to this concept — Bitcoin. Since, Bitcoin uses some underlying concepts of cryptography, this new way of exchanging money was categorized as cryptocurrency. The only purpose of Bitcoin was for financial transactions, but researchers realized that its foundational technology can be harvested to build other secure and robust applications that can revolutionize the way current systems work. “Blockchain” was the name given to this foundational technology. Lots of technical words? Let’s simplify!

What is Blockchain? — A Real World Parking Analogy

Centralized Parking Scenario

Let’s imagine that you live in a city, which has space to accommodate 200 cars at one time (assume that there is one parking structure with a ground floor). This facility has a main gate which stays locked and is only opened when a car moves in or out. Now let’s analyze this single parking building from different points of view.

Price: Since some private company built this parking facility exclusively for parking purposes and all the maintenance and operating costs will be borne by the owner company, there will be a high fee for renting out a single parking space.

Security: If…

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