- James Noblitt
In our previous blogs we have discussed many of the benefits that follow parking and driving innovations. Today, we will be focusing on how such innovations are also paving the way to help save the environment. In 2012, MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning head, Eran Ben-Jospeh, published a book called “ReThinking a Lot” that challenged business owners to consider the effect that parking lots have. The fact that little to no attention had been dedicated to their improvement. His book postulated that “For something that occupies such a vast amount of land, and is used on a daily basis, the parking lot has received scant attention. It’s time to ask: what can a parking lot be? It’s time to rethink the lot.” Since then, many businesses have turned their attention over to this previously ignored aspect of life. Paul Wessel reports that “JLL and P&G join the Cincinnati Zoo, Morton Arboretum, the New Haven Parking Authority, the Parking Spot, and UC Riverside, who are all working to identify and implement best practices in sustainable surface parking design and operation.” This surge has led to innovations that focus on environmental and social responsibility, as well as improvement of quality of life.
Such improvements follow the call to action dictated by Ben-Joseph to have parking that “integrates its site conditions and context, takes measures to mitigate its impacts on the environment, and gives consideration to aesthetics as well as the driver-parker experience. Designed with conscientious intent, parking lots could actually become significant public spaces, contributing as much to their communities as great boulevards, parks, or plazas.” Some of these innovations include in-place asphalt recycling, LED lighting with sensors, landscaping improvements and rainwater management.
This is just one avenue of innovation that benefits the environment. As discussed previously, the potential of self-driving cars being spearheaded by Tesla also includes the potential of a widespread use of electric cars that will minimize the need for nonrenewable energy gasoline and the pollutants it produces. From this to the multitude of apps that are saving gas, such as Vark, by minimizing the amount of time a car remains idle while searching for a spot, there is sure to be a sizeable positive impact from such modernizations.
However, this wave of innovation does not stop at the individual level. There are many cities that have been embracing new ways to minimize negative environmental effects through different ways, such as strategic surcharges and fees. These involve charges for vehicles that are creating a larger environmental pollution-based impact than others. For example, Eric Jaffe details that “to encourage cleaner cars and improve local air quality, Madrid recently imposed pollution-based parking fees.” Another similar type of fee includes charging vehicles based on their length. This charge works twofold as it helps minimize monopolization of much needed parking spaces along the road as well as helping minimize pollution.
In conclusion, these, and all innovations discussed previously, seem to include a large variety of benefits stemming from what seems to capture the public’s interest. Luckily for the environment, there has clearly been a trend of earth-friendly innovations embraced by both individuals and cities alike.
As always, reach out to us if you're interested in utilizing Vark to help go-green!
The Vark Team