The impact that the COVID-19 crisis has had on almost every industry is difficult to overstate. It has been a challenging year for everyone, but amongst the challenges are some exciting opportunities. We ask industry experts about the implications of Covid-19 for their industry, and what it means for the future of parking. From digitization, customer experience, security and more, here's what our experts had to say.
Pete Alcock, Head of Product Marketing at NMI
"COVID has changed the parking industry in two ways that NMI, as a payment technology provider, has noticed. With air traffic severely restricted and shopping centres operating at a fraction of their normal capacity, car park occupancy and, in-turn, transaction volumes are down 65% on pre-COVID levels. Many hospitals have reduced or even withdrawn charges for patient and visitor parking - obviously welcomed by patient groups but curtailing a much-needed source of hospital revenue. The second area where significant changes have been noticed is in the far greater use of parking apps in on and off-street pay & display driven by the driver’s desire no to touch parking meters and payment devices generally unless they really can’t help it."
Kat Launert, Marketing, ParkHelp Solutions at ParkHelp
"We all know that COVID-19 has increased the use of private vehicles instead of public transport. So the parking garage has basically become the main entrance to many buildings and it is, therefore, the first thing customers get to see of the businesses. In addition to a general appearance of cleanliness, we’ve also observed an increasing demand for automated access gates, reservation through mobile apps and touchless payment methods only because people don’t want to get too close to others anymore. And we’re lucky that ParkHelp systems are prepared for these and all upcoming changes."
Arne Bos, Managing Director at Parkos
"COVID-19 definitely changed the face of airport parking. Directly after the first cases appeared last year we saw a shift towards reservations where you can keep your keys and have limited contact with other people. As a booking platform for airport parking, Parkos was the first one to create a badge that shows which parking lots have taken coronavirus measurements, for example, social distancing. For the near future, we don’t see this changing, where people are still avoiding contact. The coronavirus measures are more important than the pricing of the parking lot. With the vaccinations in place, this shift will change over time."
Marca Armstrong, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Passport
"It’s created the sudden need to reduce contact with shared surfaces such as parking meters, physical hardware and other physical currency. As such, cities are looking for a contactless parking payment option. Fortunately, citizens are now able to make parking payments through the digital recourses they already have on hand, such as mapping services and mobile applications and in some markets connected vehicles."
Sara Fisher, Commercial Manager (UK) at Ballast Nedam Parking
"COVID-19 has been the catalyst for rapid transformation in the parking sector. And more than ever our industry is looking to the future. In terms of the design and construction of car parks, there is an increasing demand for future-proofing structures. This could simply include enabling works of the time of construction for EV charge points or even designing a car park with a view to it being partly or entirely repurposed to provide a different use such as retail or residential. The flexibility of our system means we can adapt to deliver maximum value both now and for the duration of the building’s design life."
Steve Gorski, CEO at DESIGNA USA
"We believe parking was undergoing a change before COVID-19 in terms of technology. And certainly as a result of COVID-19, there was a significant demand for touchless solutions which DESIGNA offers. But again we felt that parking was changing due to technology and more specifically the digitalization of parking. It’s that digitalization that allows you to more efficiently manage your parking operations. We’ve actually seen some customers want to take advantage while their parking operations are slow to upgrade their parking equipment."
Maarten Mijwaart, Business Developer Benelux, Scandinavia, UK and Ireland at Tattile
"The COVID-19 situation is far from over when you look internationally. The picture may be different from country to country, but generally speaking one can say that the pandemic has had an enormous impact on parking demand, related to facilities that have been restricted, like airports, shopping areas, corporate estates, stadiums and large scale events. And we currently do see a trend towards the realization of frictionless operations and ticketless parking. New management and optimizing the customer experience can really go hand in hand. Automated identification of vehicles using ANPR is an important enabler for that."