Car parks ‘extinct’ in smart cities of the future?
A combination of shared data, battery power and self-driving technology could render conventional car park systems and structures pointless.

January 20, 2017


In preparation for the Scottish Renewables' first ever Low-Carbon Cities Conference (22nd February 2017, Edinburgh), Simon Tricker (CDO of UrbanTide) discussed the future of our vehicles and car parks in cities.


By 2030 self-driving electric vehicles are likely to be commonplace. Current figures show that cars are sitting idle for around 95% of the day, and this technology could put them to use for far more of the time.

Another aspect contributing to car parks becoming obsolete is that self-driving cars won’t need parking spaces in smart cities – they’re likely to be rented rather than owned and will just head off and carry out their next journey after dropping passengers off.

Our future vehicles are also likely to be electric, due to the pace at which electric vehicle technology is developing, so will produce zero emissions as they are driven.

Combining these future trends with an opening up of the data that will enable new services to link with waiting passengers, we’re likely to see a huge shift in how our cities look and how transport is managed. More room for people, cleaner air and more efficient journeys are just the start.

“Scottish local authorities are already thinking about what city streets will look like in a decade’s time - and the answers are pretty astounding.”

— Simon Tricker, UbanTide

Hot topic

Nothing shows the timeliness of this topic more than the fact that this discussion was picked up by other online and print media (we got especially excited about the printed newspapers)!


Join the conversation

If you want to join the conversation then please come to the Scottish Renewables Low-Carbon Cities Conference on the 22nd February at the COSLA Conference Centre in Edinburgh. Speakers from Scotland’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Task Force and the Scottish Cities Alliance will discuss visions for low-carbon cities of the future, while Åsa Karlsson Björkmarker, Deputy Mayor of Växjö, Sweden, will speak about her experience leading ‘Europe’s greenest city’.

Also speaking at the event are James Alexander, Finance & Economic Development Initiative Director at C40 – a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change – and Professor Jill Anable, Chair in Transport and Energy at the University of Leeds.


“With the bulk of Scotland’s power now coming from renewable energy and a new Scottish Climate Change Bill in the offing, Scotland continues to lead the way in building a low-carbon economy. Scottish Renewables’ first ever Low-Carbon Cities Conference explores the many opportunities for Scotland’s cities to embrace the transition to a sustainable, clean, green economy; reducing energy costs and tackling fuel poverty, while attracting low-carbon investment and jobs, and building Scotland’s industries of the future.”

— Jenny Hogan, Director of Policy at Scottish Renewables.

Although cities across Scotland are already forging ahead with ground-breaking projects to decarbonise their city infrastructure and energy supplies, such as the 'Smart Infrastructure – Intelligent Street lighting' project or the EU funded RUGGEDISED lighthouse project that will demonstrate how to combine ICT, e-mobility and energy solutions to create sustainable urban spaces. There is, however, still a long way to go if Scotland is to meet its ambitious targets and achieve the goal of cutting carbon at the lowest cost. The conference will showcase successful initiatives, emerging ideas across the generation, storage, distribution and use of energy that will transform our urban areas into smart cities for the next generation.

Another interesting resource for decarbonising Scottish cities is the 'Low Carbon Resilient Cities: Investment Opportunities for ‘Better’ Growth' report prepared by Jacobs U.K. Limited

Scottish Renewables’ Low-Carbon Cities Conference

For more details, see the Scottish Renewables’ website.


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