Thailand’s traffic conditions are undergoing a change, but for the worse. It is estimated that around 400,000 vehicles are registered every year in the capital city of Bangkok alone. This equates to around a thousand vehicles registered in a single day. But there is a huge lack of parking space to accommodate these.
According to statistics, Bangkok’s parking spaces can accommodate a total of 300,000 to 400,000 vehicles, whereas the total number in the city is estimated to be around 4-5 million. The owners are thus left with no choice but to leave their vehicles parked roadside during rush hours. This and the rising number of vehicles every day is furthering the rise of the terrible traffic in the city.
The Gap in Vehicles and Parking Spaces in Bangkok: The number of vehicles in Bangkok is increasing rapidly. The burden put on these parking spaces outmatches the requirements of the city. Office spaces have a lot of potential parking space which is not being developed the right way thus creating a vacuum for the required infrastructure. This is due to the fact that many building owners offer free parking spaces to tenants. Moreover, shopping complexes and malls charge a very nominal fee for parking, further complicated by the problem of revenue leakage or theft by parking attendants.
All these facts only point in one direction – fewer profits for the building owners which is keeping them from developing parking spaces in their buildings. This is the reason there is a big difference in the required number and the actual number of parking spaces in Bangkok.
Parking Problems – Opportunity for Some: But the problem has not been viewed negatively by everyone. Japan-based Nippon Parking Development Company has risen to the occasion and provided automated parking in the city. They have seen an increase in revenue by more than 90% in 30 of its parking lots present in Bangkok. There are many reasons as to how the company is gaining profits out of this negative situation.
Reasons for Profits
These are some of the reasons as to how the Nippon Parking Development Company is transforming the large congested city into a profitable situation-
- Automatic Fare Adjustment System: This system issues a token to a driver as soon as they enter the parking lot. Then at the time of exit, it calculates the total time that the car was parked. The due price is displayed at the time of exit and the machine accepts money and renders the change due. This eliminates the use of human attendants at entrances and exits of parking lots lowering costs.
- Electronic Signage: Each parking space in the parking lot is fitted with sensors. These sensors record when a vehicle is parked over the designated spaces. When a vehicle is parked, it turns on a red light while an empty space is indicated by green light. The cumulative information of all the sensors of the lot is sent to the main system which shows the total number of parking spaces occupied and available. This makes parking a hassle free and fast process, as the customers can see the available space.
- Surveillance Cameras: There are several surveillance cameras installed throughout the parking lots covering various angles of the area. This minimizes the chances of robbery and vandalism. It also allows for easy identification in case of some mishap. Surveillance cameras also help owners keep a check on employees and their work.
- Use of VIP Lots: There are segregations among VIP, semi-VIP and normal parking areas. Some parking lots are also specifically used for only one particular category. This allows the company to charge extra for the premium and available parking spaces, while allowing customers a faster and hassle free experience.
- Underground Parking: Underground parking is another solution which is being developed by Japanese companies in Bangkok, in the wake of rapidly increasing congestion. It has features which serve to ease the space crunch like column parking, automatic retrieval lifts, car recognition systems and more. This is another way to tackle the problem of less space in the city. It increases the space available for parking and may be useful to combat the rapidly worsening conditions in the city.
The problem of parking space and congestion in the cities of Asia is very real. Rapid economic and population growth has led to a nightmare situation on the roads. City governments and parking lot owners need to come together to address this issue. The influence of Japanese automated parking companies in Bangkok is the very solution that the city needed.