It's urgent to rethink the parking paradigm

3 min to read
Real Estate

Gone are the days when office parking lots were mere tanks for cars. Between legislative necessity and ecological awareness, today's landlords and companies are faced with the challenge of creating smart buildings with intelligent, connected and equitable parking lots.

Expensive projects, high carbon footprint, over-exploitation of the car, owner-centric...parking lots as they have been imagined until now are doomed to disappear. In France, there are 1,400,000 parking spaces in office parking lots for millions of working people who travel by car every day. The result is traffic jams and major pollution: in the city, 30% of emissions are linked to the simple search for a parking space.

However, companies and landlords are going to have to adapt to new legislation, and new expectations, to move progressively towards more sustainable and attractive cities and working environments. To put an end to hyper-concrete development, impossible access and empty spaces (all too often nominative and unequal), it has become essential to rethink office parking lots to accommodate new mobility uses, and a new relationship with work for employees, who today want to decide when and how to reach their workplace.

What are the viable alternatives?

The new needs call for greater flexibility for on-demand use, adapted to different times of the year, vacations and work periods; multimodal parking lots capable of accommodating all types of mobility (electric, bicycles, motorcycles, carsharing, autonomous vehicles...) quickly and simply; and lastly, a meticulous interpretation of the available data to :

- Dematerialize access and make it accessible to as many people as possible.

- Smooth the boundary between public and private spaces to free up roadways.

- Monitor occupancy and communicate in real time to publish availability, reallocate spaces, and predict future occupancy.

- Anticipate the infrastructure needed to provide ample space for soft mobility, such as electric recharging stations and bicycle parking spaces.

- Better dimension future constructions, if they prove essential, with less concrete and the associated carbon reduction, and thus considerably reduce costs (parking represents up to 40% of the price of a new building).

- Supporting last-mile logistics professions (reception, storage).

Supporting and convincing users

Furthermore, the efforts made by companies and landlords to create more sustainable real estate and cities must be accompanied by users who are convinced by the new opportunities available to them. If they are gradually abandoning the car, and only come for a few days a week, they need to find their way around through dedicated and accessible spaces (bicycle spaces, available recharging stations, etc.).

Solutions are emerging to encourage conscious choices, given that almost half of all home/work journeys are now made automatically, rather than out of necessity. The trend is towards a gradual shift away from car-pooling, thanks to the availability of car-sharing and soft mobility alternatives.

Finally, subsidy policies may also have to change. The vast majority of office parking lots are free (95%), which considerably increases usage out of habit. Playing on pricing can not only reduce car journeys to the office by up to 60%, but also smooth out traffic peaks, reducing pollution and traffic linked to on-site research.

Today, lessors are faced with the challenge of choosing a more intelligent parking lot that is adapted to today's challenges, in order to enhance the attractiveness of buildings, tackle carbon pollution from buildings and unnecessary travel, and satisfy employees' ambitions for transition. The city of the future is on the move.

Sibylle Meffre

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