‘Curb’ your Enthusiasm: Parking Behavior during the Delta Outbreak in Australia
Hello, from one of the most locked down nations in the world! Now that we have hit our vaccination targets, I am excited to be heading back to the U.S. in the new year and will appreciate the freedom to travel again.
As COVID-19 drove Australians in and out of lockdown, the impact on parking and curb use showed some interesting insights.
Spot compared customer usage of Spot Parking Finder for three of our Australian cities before and during the Delta outbreak lockdown: namely the Northern Beaches, Parramatta and City of Sydney.
Comparing data two weeks before and during the Sydney Delta lockdown, shows there was a 52 percent decrease in people looking for parking in Parramatta, a 39 percent decrease in the Northern Beaches and a whopping 61 percent decrease in Sydney center.
Spot also tracks occupancy in off-street car parks. In a comparison of the occupancy preceding the Delta outbreak, compared to mid lockdown, we saw up to 90 percent decreases in occupancy in Parramatta. Conversely, in car parks with high residential use, such as Pacific Waves in Manly, demand has increased due to workers staying at home.
And the story was similar at the public transport car parks where occupancy is less than a quarter of what it was pre-Delta. This data aligns with the indicators from Google’s mobility data which shows public transport usage was a whopping 60 percent down from the baseline.
The pandemic has shown that the use of the curb and parking is really important in driving mobility strategies.During the first Sydney lockdown, Spot worked with clients to map and communicate areas of the curb that had been changed to enable curbside pick-up of essentials instead of paid parking.
Then, during the period of recovery pre-Delta, Spot communicated offers of free parking in some of the city’s off-street garages to encourage dining, as well as highlighting local businesses.
During the recent Delta outbreak lockdown, the platform was updated to advise on and off-street changes aimed to facilitate takeaway services and support local businesses. For instance, moving permanent parkers to other multi-level garages and adjusting parking rates to accommodate more short term parkers.
In Manly (a popular beachside suburb in Australia), beachfront parking was limited to one hour to reduce the risk of people gathering, especially at pinch points along the walkways in the heightened COVID-19 environment.
They also rolled out ten-minute parking across commercial areas to support food delivery services with high turnover parking.
As we’ve seen around the world, the transition and recovery phases of COVID-19 will involve the continuation of some social distancing measures. On one hand, on and off-street car parking are higher in demand as people continue to eschew public transport. However, on-street parking will need to cater more for pickup and drop off areas and more urban freight deliveries as our appetite for shopping online has grown, and so too outdoor dining and recreation zones.
Cities around the world are increasingly looking at their curbside assets as not just “parking revenue” opportunities, but smart mobility and place opportunities.
Creative adaptation to provide more outdoor dining and recreation areas, more temporary pick up and drop off zones, more electric and connected vehicles, and more bike and scooter parking will be required as we work towards recovery.
Elizabeth Zealand is CEO of Spot Parking. She can be reached at email@example.com