Among a large variety of investment opportunities, the operation of strategic parking structures in urban areas has been acknowledged over the last decade by the private sector as a highly profitable initiative in the short as well as in the long term.
In general, if the parking structure does not require relevant interventions of extraordinary maintenance to be paid upfront as “ramp-up” necessity at the onset of the concession and it is efficiently managed through the provision of smart parking technologies as partially/fully Parking Access and Revenue Control (PARC) systems – for instance with License Plate Recognition systems, the total operational costs could be limited to only 40% of the expected revenues, leaving a significant net profit that can be partially invested for improving further the overall parking experience of users.
Each parking facility, linked to specific
functions and segments of users – i.e. public parking in city centres,
park-and-ride structures, hospitals, airports, shopping malls, stadia, theme
parks, etc. – is expected to determine specific patterns of mobility and
profiles of utilization which need to be carefully considered and thoroughly
evaluated with respect to current context peculiarities and future mobility
trends of the city.
Thus, once again, demand forecasting represents by far the most crucial and sensitive step of the overall strategic traffic and revenue advisory process aimed at informing the business plan and effectively tackling all elements of potential risk that might occur in the future.
First of all, every transport due diligence should provide a comprehensive and multi-dimensional diagnosis of both historical trends as well as current framework through a quantitative and evidence-based investigation of all analytical systems – spatial/land use, socio-demographic, economic and transport/mobility – on the basis of available statistical datasets and urban/transport plans in force, integrated with additional information gathered through ad hoc revealed and stated preference surveys
To this end, careful attention is to be paid to the evaluation of potential competitors, among which other parking structures and regulation schemes of on-street parking in the vicinity, investment on other modes of transport and significant changes in land use distribution, as part of the risk assessment / sensitivity analysis of the advisory process.
Moreover, the definition of solid most-likely future scenarios within the framework set out by policies and strategies of urban transport plans is getting more and more challenging as urban mobility is changing at an unprecedented pace – also in terms of elasticity of the demand – thanks to the introduction of new technologies and smart solutions which reinforce the Mobility As A Service (MaaS) concept and make forecasts on the long run, in particular of expected urban modal shares, a quite complicated exercise.
For this reason, market researches and transport due-diligence exercises are called to provide and assess an extensive set of potential scenarios, generated by a well-balanced combination of key indicators on future trends and reinforced by a deeper investigation on the most likely impact on parking demand and, in turn, financial performance results of certain crucial elements of change, among which political willingness, economic and demographic trends, parking fare regulations, modal split and transport / mobility policies.