Sustainable parking practices 101

Paul Wessel
Published on: 

When it comes to sustainable parking, how we park is just as important as the technologies we use. After all, the greenest parking space is the one we don’t have to build.

Practices that encourage more efficient use of existing space or that reduce demand for parking are each important elements of a green garage. Unlike technology upgrades, many of these practices can be employed in existing facilities to increase the sustainability of operations without substantial capital investments.

Parking practices that do more with less include

  • Using recycled or repurposed materials during construction.
  • Relying on local labor and materials.
  • Purchasing sustainable goods for operations.
  • Promoting recycling for employees and patrons.
  • Sharing parking beyond a single user.
  • Ensuring systems are functioning as efficiently as intended.

Using alternative fuel vehicles, encouraging their parking and fueling within our facilities, and employing way-finding systems and smart traffic flow plans all reduce fossil fuel consumption and emissions.

We can reduce demand for parking by properly pricing it; encouraging multimodal transportation by locating near and encouraging the use of mass transit; housing or promoting car-, bicycle- and ride-sharing programs; and working with transportation management associations.

Finally, engaging in thoughtful place- and people-friendly design, along with increasing awareness in both staff and patrons of sustainability, leverages our parking assets and contributes to a more eco-friendly environment.

Recognizing that a garage is not an island leads us to seeing the opportunity to better integrate our assets with our communities, our regions and the planet itself. Integrating with the transportation ecosystem, connecting our operations to navigation systems and dynamically pricing our spaces represent the next wave of parking innovation and integration.

By spurring the efficient arrival at a parking spot as well as maximizing the use of inventory, they will lead the way to more sustainable parking.