Chirag Jain is CEO of Getmyparking.com a venture he started in 2015 (based out of New Delhi, India). Chirag graduated from Indian Institute of Technology Madras in 2013 and worked in Automotive Industry for 2 yrs before starting his entrepreneurial journey. Chirag has keen interest in urban planning and was also awarded best delegate award at New York Global Young Leaders Summit under United Nations Development Program. He has spent over 6 months in S.Korea, 3 months in Malaysia and other S-E Asian countries, and has sound knowledge of the overall ecosystem.
India is a nation of 1.38 billion, with about 34% of its people dwelling in urban areas. What’s more, policymakers and urbanists predict that this number will go up to 40.76% by 2030. Needless to say, that such a large population residing in metropolises and other smaller cities has led to an unregulated rise in vehicular traffic.
This unabashed motorization coupled with poorly designed parking spaces is shrinking land as a resource. Add to it; experts also observe that one of the primary reasons behind traffic congestion in the country, besides the high vehicle count, is drivers looking for a suitable place to park. They also conclude that while the bigger problem of cutting down on private vehicle ownership is a far-fetched thought as things stand today, improving the parking situation in the country is achievable.
How? By getting rid of inorganically operational parking practices and proposing strategic Parking Area Management Plans (PAMP) to reclaim our city roads from traffic congestion.
Parking Area Management Plan (PAMP): What is it?
A Parking Area Management Plan (PAMP) is defined as a clearly drawn out set of measures proposed by the local urban development bodies in tandem with private stakeholders and local residents. PAMPs are highly useful for effectively organizing parking spaces in an area, relieving the pressure on land, eliminating illegal parking etc, upon uniform application over an area with a well-defined boundary.
Drafting a PAMP starts with a thorough and in-depth on-site survey, that gathers all data related to parking, both on-street and off-street. This takes into account the free and available spaces, as well as the intended purpose of the surrounding areas. The surveyed areas are then divided into dedicated regions that are used in an integrated manner than in isolation.
Here are the major reasons why cities in India need PAMP:
- Wasteful Use of Land
It is estimated that annually, a car runs for only 400 hours on an average, and remains parked for the rest of the time (95 percent). This fact is reflected in the huge demand for urban land for parking purposes. Thus, the annual demand for additional parking spaces, especially for cars, is so high that it results in a wasteful use of land, which can otherwise be put to more important usage, such as building more residential spaces, schools or healthcare centres.
- Parking Encroachment on Public Spaces
As parking pressure is the highest on roads, walkways, and other available surface areas in busy regions, it compromises the use of sustainable modes. In most cities, a high share of road networks is compressed under immense parking pressure. Parking tends to take away safe walking spaces from people and increases unsafe conditions on the roads. It converts short-distance, no-emission walking trips into motorized trips and also undermines the use of buses and metros as safe access to these modes of transport gets adversely compromised.
- Cheap & Free Parking a Loss to the Exchequer
In all Indian cities, parking on-street is mostly either free or minimally priced. Research shows that the parking fees in India are lowest in the world. It is quite ironic that car users pay a negligible amount for using valuable public spots to park their vehicles, nor are these costs recovered though proper taxation.
- Parking pressures degrade quality of life
The rising parking pressure in residential neighbourhoods results in scarce land area, incidents of road rage, localised brawls, and even heinous killings. This is the ugliest ramification of the existing parking crisis and is likely to worsen further with mass scale ownership of multiple cars.
- Unorganized Parking Causes Law & Order Issues
Parking tiffs are leading to serious injuries and homicides in different parts of cities like Delhi and Bangalore. Such criminal activities, including forcefully capturing a parking space by neighbours, or people from adjoining neighbourhoods, creates an atmosphere of unrest and fear, resulting in a serious law and order issue.
Framework for Creating a Parking Area Management Plan in India
Every region in need of a PAMP will come up with a carefully curated plan. However, there are certain features every Parking Area Management Plan will carry. These define the framework within which every authority can expand according to their unique situation.
PAMPs Must Define a Boundary: Through a PAMP, authorities must delineate a zone from a natural boundary. Clear demarcation considers areas for other activities like hawking, walking – areas that must remain free from encroachment must be marked placidly.
PAMPs Must Disallow Parking in Green Areas: Even the Delhi PAMP drafted by EPCA highlights that green areas cannot be used for parking. Further, parking plans generally dictate that the green area within a designated parking space should be around 10 to 20%.
PAMPs Etch Out Parking Pricing: Drafting a PAMP requires optimal pricing. It should not be too high or low so as to augment demand the right way. The same pricing must apply to the entire zone, and a detailed dynamic pricing model is usually detailed out.
- PAMPs Lay Out a Parking Permit Distribution Plan: PAMPs must talk about the issuance and distribution of residential parking permits. This provides rightful access to residents who live within the area. The RWA or other local bodies can decide the price for the same.
The Bottom Line: The incessant demand for parking in Indian metro cities is showing no signs of stopping. As land resources are limited, it isn’t possible to increase parking spaces according to demand. Therefore, effective technology-based solutions must be employed to optimize the use of available spaces. Smart parking solutions can provide a real-time map of available spaces to both drivers and parking operators. This also reduces environmental degradation as it eliminates congestion caused by parking. Many smart cities in India are gradually adopting technology to solve their parking woes, an encouraging development for mobility issues in urban areas.