The Future of Mobility and Parking

ITTF Meeting

At NAIOP’s National Forums Symposium 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, members of the Industry Trends Task Force met for a presentation by Andrew Higashi, director of PwC Strategy & Advisory Practice on the future of mobility and parking.

Higashi provided an overview of his work with the National Parking Association, focusing on how ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles (AVs) will affect parking demand. Although popular media accounts would have us believe that ride-sharing and AVs will soon radically alter transportation ecosystems, Higashi offered a more tempered view.

Based on research, he predicted personal AVs will not be widely available within in the next decade due to the lack of technology maturity, high production and operation costs, and regulatory/liability issues.

Ride-sharing companies have made the most headway in dense, urban areas, but not in other parts of the U.S. Because of that, ride-sharing is a very small percentage of actual vehicle miles traveled. Cities such as New York are increasingly regulating and capping ride-sharing companies to minimize existing congestion problems. Additionally, using ride-share vehicles on a regular basis costs more than owning a private vehicle. For example, a person using ride-hailing services in a major U.S. metropolitan area will pay $2-$3 per mile, while private vehicle owners pay about 40 cents per mile on average. Due to this cost differential, few people can afford to give up their vehicles to use ride-hailing services full time.

However, as more mobility options gradually become available and the workforce continues to decentralize (e.g., teleworking), parking demand will shift. During the next 10 years, NAIOP members should consider:

Parking design changes: To prepare for more electric vehicles (EVs), parking facilities should be ready to provide higher electric loads (two EVs consume energy at the same rate as the average U.S. household); building entrances will need expanded curb areas to accommodate passenger loading zones; and garages must be designed for adaption to newer uses once parking demand decreases.

Repurposing of parking facilities: As demand for parking shifts, parking facilities will adapt or be eliminated. On-street parking and surface lots may be repurposed initially, followed by outdated garages and parking near entertainment centers. Property owners may want to consider reusing (and monetizing) their parking garages for package warehousing and delivery (e.g., Amazon lockers); ride-hailing pick-up and drop-off; mobility hubs (central areas for different modes of travel including bus, biking and shared mobility); and AV fleet cleaning, staging and maintenance.

Reduction or elimination of parking minimums: From 2007-2018, 115 North American cities eliminated parking minimums, and this number will most certainly increase, especially in dense, urban areas. As parking requirements are relaxed, cities are introducing more forms of transportation, such as dedicated bus and bicycle lanes, scooters and ride-hailing services. Developers and property owners should be aware of this trend because it will lead to new uses for space formerly dedicated to parking, overall reduction in the number of parking spaces within a city, and greater demand for shared parking and alternative forms of transportation.

The function of the Industry Trends Task Force (ITTF) is to identify and effectively communicate to the NAIOP membership any trends that will impact their business in the intermediate to long term. The ITTF is made up of NAIOP Research Foundation Governors, Distinguished Fellows and invited guests. The group meets twice a year to explore trends with the potential to affect the CRE industry in the short to medium term.