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January 2021
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Drive strategic change with integrated transport solutions to create more liveable cities

Peter O’Driscoll

Peter O’Driscoll, Managing Director, RingGo

Local governments are now fully embracing digital services that benefit both their staff and constituents, slowly, but surely getting rid of paper and physical offerings. However, to see the scale of benefits that can be realised from digitising, local governments should be looking to develop new solutions that flow across departmental boundaries. This can take many shapes, but consider for a moment what this could look like with an often forgotten service like parking.

Parking is more than where constituents leave their car. Local governments initially developed smarter parking solutions to control and reduce congestion, but that was just the beginning. Parking has become a leader in the adoption of a cashless way of living and is now being used to drive strategic change in areas as diverse as improving air quality and integrating transport solutions.

Good for the city, good for the environment

As the climate change debate rages at a national and international level, local Councils are often looking for ways to make an impact in their part of the world. There are multiple ways in which parking solutions can help to minimise the environmental impact of driving, with the obvious one being that identifying available parking spots reduces the amount of time spent circling around city centres in search of the elusive spot. This in turn minimises congestion, reduces emissions and improves the air quality.

However, there are much more advanced and impactful ways of reducing pollution. Solutions such as RingGo’s Emissions Based Parking (EBP), which significantly helps local councils improve air quality, demonstrate environmental benefits and ultimately make UK towns and cities better places to live. As most city councils have already migrated the majority of their parking payment systems to digital, adding EBP is an easy and cost-effective implementation process.

The application that drivers are already using to locate a parking spot and pay for parking can easily be adapted to influence environmental impact. Using real-time data, combined with the vehicle’s fuel type and year of manufacture, tariffs can be automatically varied to match pre-defined emission brackets set by the council.

EBP parking schemes are already having an impact. Westminster City Council saw an immediate effect from introducing the solution, reporting a 16% reduction in the most polluting vehicles driving and parking in the city, without any obvious displacement to nearby parking zones.

Parking is also about offering the best ecosystem for encouraging use of vehicles that minimise environmental impact. Electric vehicles are key to the future of transport, and with increasing uptake RingGo allows drivers to view a map of over 5,500 EV charging points across the UK, find the closest charging point and be directed to the selected destination. Increasing awareness of charging points not only helps existing drivers of EVs but also normalises their usage, encouraging greater adoption amongst motorists who may be concerned about making the shift. It also makes the surrounding area more environmentally friendly. 

More efficient transport

Along with the enhanced capabilities being built into unified parking solutions, all mobility systems are benefiting from technological advancements and when harnessed in the right way, this can create amazing results. Converged mobility systems provide data to better understand customers, improve transportation efficiency, recognise new trends in mobility and plan for the future.

PARK NOW, RingGo’s parent company, has helped to implement an Urban Mobility Control Hub (UMCH) in Paris, a perfect example of how digital systems are bringing together not just parking, but data from mobility across the city to increase efficiencies by, for example, reducing congestion. The UMCH connects and manages asset and access models, joining up information from zones, parking machines, pollution forecasts, enforcement data, permits and cashless options. It monitors behaviour in all aspects of mobility and provides ways to improve how people travel around the city.

The complete digitisation and integration of mobility services, including vehicle journeys and parking will increasingly be used to optimise and steer traffic flows. With quick and easy analysis, local governments can use this data to improve how constituents travel, transferring usage to underutilised areas or modes of transport, and ultimately ensuring cities are better places to live. Average parking duration times, high-density zones, price sensitivities, and on-street performance can all be analysed and used to better manage the parking ecosystem.

Consumers also benefit. As travel and parking information increasingly converge within vehicles, motorists are better informed about where to go and how to get there.

Liveable cities of the future

From improving air pollution to creating smart, economic ways to travel through cities, parking has a key role to play in helping local councils provide cleaner, healthier and more liveable cities. While it may be just one part of the overall picture, by understanding local parking needs based on intelligent data insights, governments can gain greater understanding and introduce further smart mobility services supporting a more sustainable future.

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