Smart City Announcement

The Federal Government recently announced its National Cities Performance Framework, part of the Government’s Smart Cities Plan. The initiative will help governments, businesses and communities better understand and measure the performance of our cities, which sets out six Smart Cities policy priorities that articulate the Smart Cities Plan’s ambitions for smart policy investment and technology. Parking Australia, the national association for the parking industry, believes the foundations of any smart city is a smart transport and mobility system. Parking Australia is calling on cities to ensure appropriate funding is set aside to implement critical infrastructure vital for the implementation of smart cities.

Over the past decade, Australia’s growth has been significant – double that of the OECD average. According to Infrastructure Australia, growth in our capital cities alone, between 2011 and 2031, will be approximately 6.4 million persons – the equivalent of a new Melbourne or Brisbane.

This presents significant challenges to Australia’s cities, which are already struggling with increased congestion, jobs growth and mobility. Lorraine Duffy, Chief Executive at Parking Australia, believes cities must act now to address these challenges and essentially de-clog our cities arteries to improve the health of our cities.

“It’s no secret, our cities are suffering from serious challenges when it comes to mobility. Long commute times, which are exacerbated by congestion, impact economic productivity and decrease access to job opportunities in our cities. Our current transport systems also have a high reliance and inefficient use of private vehicles, resulting in a carbon-intensive mobility system,” explained Lorraine.

“We need to address these issues now and create a smart transport and mobility system that will lay the foundations to progress Australia’s Smart Cities Plan. The parking industry is already separately working towards an integrated mobility approach to improve accessibility and productivity in cities by supporting transport solutions that efficiently connect people with jobs, as well as services and goods with markets.”

Australia stands to benefit by implementing smart transport and mobility systems. For example, improving accessibility and capacity at major transportation hubs, will encourage greater adoption of a multi-modal transport approach, which will significantly reduce congestion in urban centres. This will help address the negative consequences of urban sprawl and car dependency which characterises Australian cities.

Additionally, supporting the shift to vehicle electrification will increase demand for electricity. This is hugely beneficial to the Australian economy, as it switches from imported fuel to locally produced electricity, protecting and growing jobs and investment.

“The parking industry is already investing heavily in new technologies to support transportation hubs and electric vehicles, as well as establishing a Future of Parking Committee to drive research and strategy regarding the role of parking as we move towards a smart future,” said Lorraine.

“The Committee has identified Mobility-as-a-Service as a key concept within smart transport and mobility systems, and is helping to educate operators, government and businesses on the role that parking plays as this is often not considered as part of the mobility discussion.”

Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) is a total mobility solution based on individual needs. It is evolving from service models, which provide vehicle transport without the cost of ownership – such as car-sharing services like GoGet to ride-sharing services like Uber. MaaS combines multiple transport modes such as car and rideshare with public and even active transport options. Crucially, MaaS offerings are designed to out-compete conventional car transport options via a sleek user experience with dynamic journey planning and streamlined payment processes.

“Mobility-as-a-Service is where we want to get to in order to enable the fluid movement of people throughout our cities. It will ease congestion, improve accessibility to jobs and productivity, as our journeys become highly efficient,” said Duffy. However, to support this future, continued investment in smart transport solutions, innovation and transportation hubs are required. Parking Australia believes parking operators and connected industries shouldn’t be doing this in isolation, as this will be interlinked and aggregated across the transport network.”

“Over the next 10 years, the cost of development, parking technologies and infrastructures, to support a gradual transition to Mobility-as-a-Service, will need to be put in place. This should either be funded by Government grants, outlined in the National Cities Performance Framework, or through attributing a small proportion of parking space levy revenue annually towards a Future Parking Initiative.”

“This initiative would be designed to work with relevant stakeholders to guide the development of autonomous vehicles and ensure we have the infrastructure in place to support the transport systems of tomorrow,” she concluded.

For more information on Parking Australia’s recent joint submission to the Australian Government National Cities Performance Framework – click here.

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