The Most Popular Hidden Human Routine: Parking
What is something most Americans do every day that has become seamlessly integrated into our daily habits? A few things I can think of right off the bat are drinking a cup of coffee, brushing our teeth (hopefully), and parking. The first two of these examples might seem fairly obvious. What is the first and last thing you do in a day?
We as a society must acknowledge that parking is a huge challenge that is not to be breezed over.
The first thing I do in the morning is drink a cup of coffee to start my day, however, this is not unique to me. My dad wakes up and drinks a cup of coffee to get his day started. My mom does, too. Your fathers and mothers most likely do the same, as well as your coworkers, relatives, and friends.
We can confidently say that the majority of Americans start their day with a cup of coffee without a thought. Drinking coffee in the morning has almost unnoticeably become a part of the majority of the population’s daily routine.
The last thing I do at night is brush my teeth. My dad brushes his teeth at night. My mom brushes her teeth at night. And my brother… well, let’s just say it’s not for everyone. Just like coffee, I no longer think about carrying out this action. Rather, it has become a part of my routine almost unconsciously.
We did not come to these habits naturally. As much as I’d like to think so, my high school English teacher did not come out of the womb sipping on a fresh cup of joe. I definitely was not born with the habit of brushing my teeth every day, but because I don’t want to be secretly known as “the bad breath guy”, a nickname no one wants, I brush my teeth without a thought.
The parking industry is not thought about enough with respect to its sheer value, size, and effect - why is this? In Henry Ford’s day, the automobile industry was one of the most talked about industries in the world. This is because automobiles were a never-before-seen innovation with high demand and short supply.
Give or take a century later, everyone and their mom has a car. Let’s talk about parking - the most unnoticeable human routine. Every single time you drive, what do you have to do? Park, of course! However, in some places, it’s not as easy as it seems.
When using a navigation system or app, only half of the trip is completed. If showing up is half of the battle, the other half is certainly finding parking. I personally experience spending over 20 minutes searching for parking in Chicago on a regular occasion. No matter how frustrated I get, no matter how many times I circle around the same area looking for just one open parking space, and no matter how many cuss words I mumble under my breath (sorry mom), I still have to park.
Driving is incomplete without parking. Because the majority of Americans drive daily or every other day, this learned routine - parking - has become one of the biggest habits we share. Like drinking a cup of coffee in the morning or brushing our teeth at night, parking has become integrated into our lives unconsciously.
We as a society must acknowledge that parking is a huge challenge that is not to be breezed over. The meticulously crafted planning that goes into parking is essential in order for modern civilizations to function properly.
The strategically laid out sections of parking spaces within a municipality help decrease traffic congestion. The valuable commodity parking has been, and continues to be, increasingly more complex. The parking industry has seen countless spurts of incremental innovation and improvements upon its foundation since the genesis of the industry.
I believe that the new blood in parking will bring a different perspective. Our experiences of growing up in a new generation have shifted patterns in our behavior, approach, and method of forming solutions. The new generation takes a tech-first approach to parking.
These technologies would have not been possible only a short while ago. With the advent of the artificial intelligence industrial revolution, vertical innovative progress (this concept comes from Peter Thiel’s book called “Zero to One”) is about to be introduced to parking, i.e., the parking industry will start seeing novel technologies on a more frequent basis.
This means ideas that would never have been thought possible at the beginning stages of the industry are now becoming a reality.
The parking industry is about to become a whole lot bigger, with the new capabilities of technology backed by the new blood leading the charge. Who would have thought we would be able to reserve a parking space anytime we want?
Who would have thought we would be able to pay for parking without cash, but instead through a device small enough to fit in our pockets? What could be next for the world… Instant parking?
Drake Burciaga is founder, CEO & CTO of Parkster.ai. He can be reached at Drake@Parkster.ai
This article is part of an ongoing series in which PT has invited someone new to the industry to comment on parking, and then someone who is a long-timer will comment on the comment. If you wish to write for this series, drop a note to JVH@parkingtoday.com