As blogged on Digital Trends, Joni Mitchell sang, “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” But could parking lots soon become extinct, with the lost paradise making a return?
As cities get smarter and mobility solutions and consumer habits change, more urban planners are eschewing the construction of public parking garages — or changing how they conceive of them altogether.
With ride-sharing services gaining ground, a shifting demographic of people who no longer own cars, and the coming revolution of autonomous vehicles, transportation planners and city managers are rethinking parking despite the fact that more people are expected to move from rural to urban centers in the coming years.
According to a survey by commercial real estate firm CBRE, U.S. & Canadian Mobility 2018, the concept of commuting by car is about to undergo a paradigm shift. Indeed, in the U.S. people under 30 are more than seven-times more likely to take public transportation than those over 60 years of age. Furthermore, over the past three decades, the percentage of younger people who apply for a driver’s license has dropped nearly 20 percent, according to the University of Michigan’s Transportation Institute.
“The demographics are changing, with younger people not owning as many cars,” Brian Abbanat told Digital Trends. Abbanat is a senior transportation planner for the city of Davis in California, which is considered one of the most progressive cities in the U.S. when it comes to transportation; it was one of the first municipalities to create dedicated bicycle lanes back in 1967.
Still, it’s a challenge to predict what a city’s parking needs may be decades into the future.
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