BY KEITH B. JONES | October 26, 2018

Another Trip to Tomorrowland

Last week, I dove into population growth and its anticipated effect on cities. We examined the evolution of LA’s urban core… Less than a decade ago, it had an appeal factor of zero. Today, it’s a place to be and be seen.

What won’t be seen in the future are parking tickets on car windshields. (I can hear your sigh of relief from here!) That’s because fewer cars will be parking.

But the reality of this is that parking won’t die out, it will—just like cities themselves—evolve, adapt, and potentially grow in ways most people aren’t even considering today. In doing so, the Parking and Mobility Industry will very likely be a major influence on local government policy. In the future, as private and municipal parking garages become the norm in urban cores, local governments will likely do away with street parking, which accounts for a ton of each city’s congestion, pollution, and parking violations. Keep that mind the next time a parking ticket ruins your day… take a deep breath and count to ten. It’s only a matter of time.

The bad news is that congestion is bound to increase as far more people rely on TNCs (Transportation Network Companies, eg: Lyft and Uber) and cars that don’t park. Every article I read seems to indicate that the streets of tomorrow will be more like rivers of driverless cars. Though, envisioning a world overrun by autonomous cars by 2025 is a far stretch, even by Tomorrowland’s standards.

But like many Parking Industry experts, not to mention Silicon Valley Investors, I see this as an opportunity. All those autonomous vehicles will need to be recharged or refueled. They’ll need to be serviced, cleaned, and repaired. Their sensors will have to be calibrated and all moving parts maintained. Where do you think this will take place? New real estate isn’t likely to be available for the needed complexes.

Today’s off-street parking garages will likely be Tomorrowland’s self-driving-car service centers. As today’s parking garages evolve in unison with automotive technology, parking attendants will have the experience to perform the many of the above job requirements. Likely, at a fraction of the cost of today’s mechanic bills. (Cue your second sigh of relief.)

The disappearance of parking tickets and street parking spots aren’t the only visual changes you’ll see in the cities of the future.

Just imagine this: an almost artistic view of your city’s skyline. Perfectly “grammable”, as my kids may say (assuming Instagram still catalyzes pictures and videos by then) and all because one tiny detail is missing… power lines.

As communication technology becomes predominantly wireless, so will our cities. Birds and shoes will have to find new places to hang.

On Monday of this week, I was lucky enough to sit on a panel at National Parking Association’s annual conference in Las Vegas. My co-panelists, other thought leaders in our space, and I talked for an hour on Smart Cities and what the future holds. While none of us know what the future is, we all have different ideas on how to prepare. So the question is, are we shaping Tomorrowland or is it shaping us?

“Ace Mobility Solutions isn’t just a business. It’s the Mobility Revolution in action.”

Keith B. Jones
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