From television programs to video games, popular media has always tried to predict what the future will hold for personal transport.
And while many people fixate on futuristic vehicles, some of us know, in fact, another important part of reaching a cleaner and more convenient future is being able to quickly find a parking space close to our destination.
Parking is changing, and for parking garage operators, this evolution will be a key driver of business growth.
Flying cars have always been a part of our vision of the future. And why shouldn't they be?
In the 1980s and early 1990s, we flocked to cinemas in the millions to revel in visions of the future presented by directors like Ridley Scott.
Inevitably, as we watched plots unfold, the likes of Marty McFly, Korben Dallas and Rick Deckard found themselves behind the wheels of self-navigated vehicles that soared through the air, hundreds of metres above the crumbling streets below.
Well, here we are in 2019, the year the original Blade Runner film was set, and there isn't a flying car in sight.
But that's not to say we haven't advanced when it comes to modern, personal transport.
Perhaps, right now, some of the most exciting transformations, are taking place not in the vehicle itself, but in the space where it is parked.
In only the last few years, the act of parking our vehicles has changed dramatically. It has started to evolve into a more streamlined process that gives us back time, in a world that usually demands so much of it, and helps us minimise our environmental footprint.
This might seem less radical than cars flying at great heights, but the effects are more far-reaching than most of us might first realise, with implications for convenience, congestion, pollution and garage occupancy rates.
And while advancement in smarter parking is positive news for drivers, it is potentially even better news for those of you who own or manage parking garages. The smallest of spaces, to the largest can benefit when technology is combined with parking.
What is parking guidance?
Parking guidance is not rocket science, at least not as a concept. In fact, it is just the answer to a demand that humans in built up, urban environments have had for years. "We want to drive to our destination with minimal traffic, locate a parking space, park with ease, and then begin the activity we actually came to do."
People hate spending valuable time driving around looking for a car park.
We hate overpaying in an attempt to ensure we don't end up with a ticket.
We especially detest finally locating an available place to park, only to realise, upon interpreting the often confusing signage, it is in fact illegal to park there.
For many drivers, parking can be a thing of nightmares.
Parking guidance uses a collection of data from various sources, including monitoring systems in garages and extensive communication networks, to enable drivers to easily locate an available parking space and map clear directions from a point of origin.
By providing real-time updates, parking guidance virtually propels a driver to a space on-street or into the parking garage close to where they wish to park. With a simple mobile app, drivers can now find parking faster than ever before and they can see the off-street parking options nearby.
For drivers, parking guidance systems simplify the parking process, removing the frustration of driving in the city and minimising obstacles. For garages, it optimises return by drawing drivers into parking lots and increasing occupancy rates.
Parking guidance might seem simple, but the magic behind it -- the data, the technology, the communication -- is changing the way we park and the way we effectively manage parking businesses.
Less congestion means finding a park is faster
Research tells us up to a third of congestion is caused by people doing what many of us do every day; driving around and around until we find a park. And this makes perfect sense!
In cities with ever-increasing populations and new buildings developments, drivers taking yet another lap in search of a suitable car park are those who slow traffic and who drive without a defined purpose.
What doesn't make sense is, much of the time, nearby parking garages have empty spaces, but have no way of communicating with these frustrated drivers that they can find solace in only a few more turns... until now.
Parking guidance enables this communication and empowers drivers to stop searching and start finding a space faster, reducing cars on the road and optimising return for parking garage owners.
Fewer cars on the road means less pollution
As cars are a big culprit when it comes to carbon emissions, we need to find new ways -- along with improving design -- to decrease the environmental impact of vehicles.
One easy way to do this is simply to reduce the amount of time cars spend on the road, and that's exactly what parking guidance does! By guiding drivers to available parking spaces faster, they spend less time on the road.
Reducing frustration means fewer accidents
Perhaps most immediately valuable, parking guidance decreases frustration for drivers by giving them control of their parking process.
Frustration and carelessness are key causes of accidents, so minimising emotional driving can also increase safety for drivers and pedestrians.
Increasing shared information fills garages more efficiently
The bottom line is, drivers can't park in a space if they don't know it is there. This lack of communication causes a range of problems for the driver and results in garages with empty spaces, and little hope of reaching optimal capacity.
Parking guidance is that connection between your garage and a driver who needs a parking space. It offers drivers the opportunity to get off the road faster, minimising congestion, and garage owners the opportunity to fill all of their vacant spaces more often and more efficiently.
Try our parking guidance Feature within the easypark app
Easy Park's 'Find and Park' service, is already helping drivers find available and suitable parking options in cities around the world. Partnering with local councils and governments, as well as public and private parking operators, 'Find and Park' guides drivers, turn-by-turn from a point of origin to the parking space of their choice.
It works to improve parking efficiency and optimise occupancy rates in parking garages, which increases revenue for operators, and reduces congestion and frustration for drivers.
To see how it works, check out our explainer video below: