parking

Park Before You Drive – The first step to reducing traffic is to offer alternative parking solutions

Dr. Gilbert Micallef

Traffic is a nightmare!

Traffic has probably become the number one talking point, whereby anyone and everyone has an opinion of what’s causing it and/or how to fix it. Young motorists probably don’t even remember those days when traffic used to be exclusively limited to specific areas and spread over an hour or so. Driven by a variety of factors, the vehicle population in Malta has over the last decade increased dramatically, resulting in the traffic motorists experience on daily basis.

Donald Shoup, a distinguished research professor at UCLA has looked at determining the relationship between traffic and motorists cruising (looking) for parking. A number of studies has led him to conclude that around 30% of traffic, in dense urban areas, may be attributed to motorists cruising for parking, brought on by an inefficient or non-existent parking strategy.

In Malta, parking is yet another problem, one that is rapidly spreading to different areas across the island. In addition to the increase in vehicle population, the parking situation in Malta is being made worse by an ongoing frenzy for further and denser development, resulting in the need for additional on-street parking.

 

sPark – Malta’s First Parking Platform

sPark is a small technology start-up – pursuing an ambitious vision. Determined to propose and deliver an alternative parking solution, sPark is focused around the idea of sharing a number of common and geographically distributed parking units. The idea follows the growing concept of a sharing economy, whereby a variety of ‘things’ may be shared between a group of individuals, making it more available, but more importantly ensuring that resources are utilized more effectively and efficiently.

What will sPark offer? Via a centralized platform, sPark will allow its users the ability to reserve, remotely access, and monitor, short-term and affordable indoor parking. This means that motorist will know where to park even before stepping out the front door!

How will the platform improve the efficiency of a parking resource? For instance, let’s assume a garage yard hosting a dozen garage units being occupied and used for the exclusive parking of a dozen specific cars. This means that when any car is out, the unit remains empty and unused. Whether rented or owned, someone is either paying extra for something that is not being utilized, or missing out on an opportunity of generating an extra income. Rather than limiting the availability of any garage unit to a single person/vehicle, sPark proposes a solution whereby the same unit is made available to a wider group, ensuring a more frequent and efficient use.

sPark is looking to soft launch its service in the early months of 2017. Those interested in collaborating or learning more about the service are encouraged to get in touch via our Facebook page which has been recently launched (www.facebook.com/sparkmalta). Here, one may find further information and a video demonstrating the platform and concept altogether.