Reshaping Parking

By Matt Jobin

The Coronavirus crisis has thrown our lives into chaos, and it’s changing the way that we, as parking professionals, think about parking.

The public health crisis will eventually pass, but even as it does, it will be important that cities, private parking owners, and organizations with parking assets work with their parking consultants learn from this crisis. This pandemic provides a stark reminder that people are susceptible to illness, and we should strive to find ways to minimize the risk.

As a parking facility designer, I’ve always considered safety to be one of the most important design elements. Until recently, though, these types of healthcare issues weren’t part of the equation. But as the Coronavirus crisis has shown, it should be. The parking process exposes people to many common “touch-points”, forcing drivers to touch surfaces that others (often many others) have already touched. This is how illness spreads, and as we are learning during this pandemic, viruses can live for several days on surfaces. This is an important issue, not just now, but in normal times too. We are constantly coming into contact with flu and cold viruses, as well as many types of bacteria. As such, cities and parking owners and their design teams need to be aware of where potential risks exist within parkades and how to mitigate them.

So, the question is, how can we reduce the risk of viruses being introduced to high-use surfaces within parkades?

Start with Technology

Technology can play an important role. There are a number of technologies already in use that can reduce touch-points. Perhaps the most common, and useful, are frictionless parking suites that use LPR to recognize a vehicle as it enters and exits, and automatically bills the driver’s credit card or associates the parking episode with a permit. These suites…

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