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APCOA Urban Hubs: The Evolution of Inner-City Mobility and Logistics

Digital transformation is currently reshaping almost every area of business and society. And, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, this process has accelerated. Naturally, what applies elsewhere also applies to mobility and urban transportation systems. In order to create synergies and provide sustainable solutions for the wide range of stakeholders in the mobility sector, it is important to establish an integrated ecosystem to facilitate the flexible and innovative use of car parks as a key starting, intermediate and end point in the intermodal world of tomorrow’s mobility.

In pursuit of this goal, APCOA PARKING is now joining property owners and cooperation partners from various business sectors to take the next step on the road to creating the smart city of the future. Based on our APCOA Urban Hubs initiative, we are transforming our network of car parks into a fully-integrated ecosystem, linked with the digital platform APCOA FLOW and with partners from a variety of industries. This will give us an infrastructure in which attractive parking facilities are complemented by wide-ranging logistics, mobility, technology and other services in addition to parking.

1. Being a Part of the Evolution

With our Urban Hubs, we provide solutions to the challenges posed by megatrends that will have a significant impact on inner-city planning in Europe’s largest cities in years to come. These include increasing ecommerce, reurbanisation, connectivity, mobility and the environment. Against the backdrop of the mobility revolution in particular, municipalities and parking operators are called upon to develop creative and innovative strategies to ensure that parking spaces are more efficiently utilised. Special attention will be devoted to multi-storey car parks, which in the future will fulfil far more functions than simply providing spaces for parked vehicles. The car park of the future will combine a wide range of mobility and complementary services, thereby serving as a networked “urban hub”. As a result, car parks will become central components in the urban development toolbox and hubs for innovative and intermodal mobility. With a view to the car park of the future and its further development into a service centre for motorists and the urban population, this means that municipalities, parking operators and the providers of mobility and complementary services should systematically focus on establishing strategic partnerships. Parking operators will need to re-evaluate their current business models and rethink the potential use cases for their parking spaces. In the future, operators will do far more than just manage their properties and the provision of parking spaces. Specifically, they will increasingly engage with new digital solutions and services and develop their own technologies to create the foundation that will allow them to efficiently integrate strategic partners and their services. This is the only approach that will create an urban ecosystem that benefits citizens, municipalities, property owners and service providers from the fields of logistics, mobility, electrical infrastructure and parking management.

2. A Wide Range of Technologies and Services in a Single Digital Ecosystem

APCOA launched its own fully-integrated digital and innovation strategy back in 2018 to create the basis for just such an ecosystem: APCOA FLOW – a scalable digital platform that offers users integrated, contactless access to inner-city car parks via a variety of interfaces. Our platform provides a stable foundation for efficient and easy collaboration between APCOA and partners from numerous industries. Using APCOA FLOW’s integrated API interfaces, service and technology companies have the opportunity to utilise the network of APCOA parking facilities as bases for offering their own services, to network with each other and to create genuine added value – both for the companies themselves and for their end customers.

Every multi-storey car park thus becomes a potential hub for a wide range of sustainable services. The initial focus is on car parks in inner-city areas because they offer the greatest potential to improve the efficiency of last-mile logistics, for example, by reducing urban logistics traffic and achieving significant reductions in CO2 emissions. This is because the demand for city logistics has increased enormously and will continue to do so as the ecommerce sector continues to grow. In fact, APCOA forecasts that urban last-mile deliveries are set to grow by up to 78% each year.

By expanding the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, APCOA Urban Hubs also actively support the electromobility transition, which is also increasingly gathering momentum. The market for vehicles with alternative drive systems will grow by around 40% by 2030. Overall, this will make parking spaces far more competitive, lucrative and more diverse. With the necessary infrastructure in place, property owners become part of a future-proof system that responds directly to existing economic and political trends.

3. Parking Operators Benefit from a Digital Urban Ecosystem

Perhaps the greatest advantage of our APCOA Urban Hubs is that all of these innovative services can be implemented within an existing network. There is absolutely no need whatsoever to build anything from scratch. This saves parking operators time and, above all, investment capital. Over the next few years, we intend to continuously expand our network of APCOA Urban Hubs throughout Europe. In doing so, we will create Europe’s first and largest urban hub network. Our goal is to open 1,000 new locations every year. For parking facility owners, our expertise creates unique added value by diversifying cash flows and enabling them to implement a sustainable strategy that positively impacts the long-term value of their assets. By implementing a diverse range of technologies and services provided from their car parks, parking owners establish a presence in a variety of exciting and emerging industries. This allows them to absorb customers from these markets, enhancing their own revenues and boosting the value of their real estate assets.

About APCOA PARKING Group 

APCOA PARKING Group is Europe's leading parking operator with 50 years of industry expertise. With its 5,500 employees, the company manages more than 1.5 million individual parking spaces at over 11,000 locations in 13 European countries. These include parking spaces at 1,800 city and shopping centre locations, 400 hotels, 250 railway stations, 150 hospitals, and over 60 European airports, all situated in proximity of 70% of the population of APCOAs 13 countries. With its consistent "asset light" business model, APCOA is the trusted partner who maximizes value for private and public real estate owners.

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