Today’s transportation strategy is tomorrow’s foundation

If the parking and transportation industry is to prepare for driverless cars and other technologies, we must get ready today.

Knoxville skyline with the Sunsphere and the World's Fair park in the foreground. Knoxville was the site of the 2017 MSTPA 2017 Spring Conference & Tradeshow. (Image via the tradeshow's website)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. April 5, 2017 — Trade shows give us the opportunity to reflect on the industry and look ahead. This year’s Mid-South Transportation & Parking Association Annual Spring Conference and Trade Show was no exception.

It’s an exciting time to be in the parking and transportation industry. If the industry is to prepare for the world of tomorrow — one that features driverless cars and other technologies we haven’t yet imagined — we need to prepare today.

As the event’s keynote speaker, UTC Wrestling Coach Heath Eslinger, said in his address, “Where there is no strategy, there is no outcome.”

With that in mind, here are three areas that come to mind we should be focusing on immediately:

  1. Multimodal works: While more people are moving into urban areas with denser development, cars aren’t going away. People are demanding alternate forms of transportation. It could be as simple as a bike-sharing option. The opportunity today is to think bigger. We are no longer concerned with simply moving people from Point A to Point B, but rather we need to understand where people start their journey, how they want to travel, and what their ultimate destination. The first mile and last mile matter more now than ever. By doing so, we’ll understand how parking and public transportation fit into users’ daily lives and can tailor services accordingly.
  2. Technology must be practical, easy to use: If the industry as a whole wants people to use technology to its fullest potential, it needs to be intuitive and streamline users’ daily lives. That’s one of the reasons ride-sharing apps are so popular. The app is easy to use and pressing a button is easier than hailing a cab. At the same time, we need to ensure it provides the back-end users with the insights they need to manage properly.
  3. Integration, integration, integration: Integration may be the biggest opportunity in the years ahead. With so many solutions on the marketplace today, we need to make offerings work together seamlessly. That will result in higher adoption and usage rates and make new and more innovative solutions easier to integrate.

Building the world of tomorrow takes planning and a sound strategy. That is something we can readily do today. Are you prepared?

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