Top trending Topics at Intertraffic 2018
By Sharon Prior, President of Parking Australia
My recent trip to Intertraffic Amsterdam confirmed in many ways that Parking Australia is talking about all the right topics as an association, and keeping them central to our dialogue, for the benefit of our members and stakeholders. The focus at Intertraffic 2018 was primarily on the harvesting and sharing of big data, smart mobility and the need to focus, more than ever, on improving the customer experience through the provision of information – all topics that we have covered in recent times at conferences, in panel sessions, and through our newsletter and website.
Start-up companies that I met at Intertraffic are providing customer service based on data available to them on open data platforms from various infrastructure including parking sensors, EV chargers traffic flow and patterns, event and weather information. Through the use of Artificial Intelligence and algorithms they are able to predict parking availability on future dates to assist the customer to travel the most efficient route and access the most convenient parking option for their needs. This can be done well in advance of their journey. This is the future with a distinct focus on smart cities and smart transport options.
I attended a session on Mobility as a Service (MaaS) which described an app launched in Helsinki called Whim. Whim’s aim is to provide an affordable alternative to car ownership without all the hassles. Every journey is covered, and it allows users to plan their trip from A-Z – whether it’s taxi, public transport, a car or a bike service or share. Whim was launched last November and already has 35,000 users. The app focuses on giving people the information and the incentives they need to forego use of their car, encouraging increased uptake of public transport, which seems to be working with around 90% of users including public transport as at least part of their trip.
When integrating the various forms of transport services into a single mobility service the diverse menu of transport options such as public transport, ride-, car- or bike-sharing, taxi or car rental/lease, or a combination thereof offers a much wider variety of choice for the user.
What can we learn in Australia from innovations and trends being adopted in Europe?
The other key trend is a focus on data, what can be done with it and the necessity of an open data platform. The possibilities seem unlimited with the amount of data now being generated from numerous sources as described previously. The sharing of data is being employed with the primary goal of providing the best possible service to the customer.
I met with RDW (the Netherlands Vehicle Authority) – a semi-government organisation that operates the National Parking Platform in Holland. The platform contains data regarding parking restrictions and fees in each of the 90 participating municipalities. Payment providers use the data to provide real-time data about the availability of parking spaces (including on-street and off-street parking) to their customers so they can choose and pay for the parking they require. The municipality uses the platform to obtain parking and payment information to enforce parking restrictions. The National Parking Platform provides benefits to customers, who can select one payment provider for use across the entire Netherlands regardless of location, benefits to the providers who can market their product to the entire country, and the municipalities who don’t have to undertake the tender and procurement process for payment providers. The RDW also see this as preparation for the introduction of autonomous vehicles, with consistent formatting of data in a central location.
Introducing such a model in Australia would present a number of challenges but is worth consideration as smart parking technology is being introduced at a rapid rate across our cities.
Digital Parking Standards
Whilst I was at Intertraffic I took the opportunity to catch up with most of our members. I also attended a dinner with representatives of the European Parking Association (EPA), British Parking Association (BPA) and the International Parking Institute (IPI). These Associations are keen to work with Parking Australia going forward and the EPA acknowledged us with an award that recognises the quality of our Association. There is also the potential for us to be involved in an Alliance formed between these associations to develop digital parking standards (the APDS). In the future Automated Vehicles will be heavily reliant on data, and therefore this represents a pre-emptive effort to set in place some standards about data collection and formatting.
I also met up with a representative from the International Parking Community (IPC), who we modelled our AOS scheme upon.
Overall I found my visit to Intertraffic and the opportunity to meet with other parking associations both of benefit to myself personally and Parking Australia.