We have all seen it: cars circling an area slowly and stealthily like hawks closing in on their prey, with drivers training their eyes on the side of the road lest they miss any smidgen of available space to park their cars.
Parking is quite a task in metro cities but a new app might just be the answer to the parking woes of city residents.
Get My Parking is a one-year-old startup founded by IIT Madras alumnus, Chirag Jain, and FMS Delhi graduate, Rasik Pansare. This Delhi-based company is trying to provide a smart solution to parking problems. The founders have developed an app that helps people find parking spaces even before they reach their destination. The company garnered appreciation for its work in Ujjain during the Kumbh Mela and received praise from Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself.
The highly useful Android application enables a driver to not just locate a parking space on the map, but also to reserve it in advance. The driver can also pay for the parking ticket using online payment or m-wallet. The application also provides navigation to the drivers to arrive at the nearest parking lot.
Recently, Get My Parking was in the news again for working with local governments across the country on smart city development projects.
The company is currently running a three-month-long pilot project in Jaipur in collaboration with the city’s development authority.
“Transportation is an enormous issue for any city. It has an impact on areas like commerce, environment and quality of life. Parking is an issue for everyone, from drivers to merchants to city governments,” says Rasik. “Both transportation and parking are now gaining traction as key priorities as metropolitan cities continue to expand and authorities try to examine how to leverage technology to plan and develop these areas.”
According to Rasik, new technologies have improved the way people commute by transforming parking. “It’s a universal challenge that hasn’t seen much innovation in decades,” Rasik says. He believes greater population density and more cars on the streets make it uniquely challenging to solve parking problems in India compared to developed countries.
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Like several startups that have been working on mobility issues across the world, Get My Parking is helping cities adopt new parking technologies and getting them to realise benefits that go beyond ease and convenience. Along with efficient transportation, smart parking would mean reduced traffic and emissions, more vibrant local economies, and better quality of life for citizens.
According to the IBM Global Parking Survey undertaken in 20 cities (including New Delhi and Bangalore from India), on an average, 30% of the traffic slowdown is usually caused by parking difficulties. It can take anywhere from 20-25 minutes for a person to find a parking space in the central area of a metropolitan city. The unavailability of parking spaces causes congestion on roads, which adds to the plight of commuters.
“With smart parking apps, you don’t simply save time, but also fuel,” says Rasik. “Cars slow down in search of parking and waste a lot of fuel in the process. Smart parking can solve that issue and contribute to bringing down the carbon emissions.” The Get My Parking website claims that if smart parking facilities are employed, carbon emissions could reduce by 15-20% on average.
This year, Get My Parking set up a small stall at the Smart City Expo in Delhi. Despite it being a small space, an innovative idea helped them get a huge response from the crowd. At the time the exhibition was happening, the Kumbh Mela was also going on in Ujjain, where Get My Parking was providing parking assistance. The Kumbh Mela is one of the world’s largest events, with around 5-6 crore people in attendance. The company used a smart ticketing system at the parking lot allotted to them. People could access the information about where parking was available on the phone app, the company’s website, or even from LED boards put up at different locations at the venue.
A live feed of the parking arrangements in Ujjain was being telecast at the Smart City Expo in Delhi, which attracted a lot of attention.
“We were appreciated by the Prime Minister himself for our work in Ujjain. He tweeted about us! Start-ups can only dream about free publicity from the PM himself,” laughs Rasik. The company received several invitations from government authorities after its Ujjain success. “There’s a misconception that start-ups cannot work with governments. But we have had a different experience totally. Several local governments have approached us for teaming up on smart city development projects,” says Rasik.
Some projects with local governments are already in the pipeline. The company is focussing on parking problems for now but has big plans for the future. One of the bold ideas is charging electric vehicles at the parking spots.
“With the focus of city development now shifting to sustainable development, we need to take measures like smart parking, which contribute to reducing traffic congestion. Smart parking also contributes to improving air quality by reducing carbon emission in the process, in turn enabling urban areas to become more livable, cleaner, and more efficient spaces,” says Rasik.
To know more about Get My Parking, visit their official website www.getmyparking.com.