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Smart car parking technology gives space back to the city

ParkBee is on a mission to make better use of urban spaces by guiding drivers into under-utilised and off-street parking spaces. Richard Betts reports.

ParkBee, the Netherlands-based brainchild of Jian Jiang and Tom Buchmann, aims to reduce CO2 emissions, give back space to the cities where they operate and improve mobility by helping to fix the problem of parking in larger urban areas with the use of smart car parking technology.

The company was founded in 2013 in the Netherlands when Jiang and Buchmann realised that a lot of city drivers struggled to find a convenient parking spot. This created a number of issues for cities, not least the impact of all the unnecessary kilometres travelled in search of available parking spaces.

Meanwhile, they were aware that plenty of private car parks in great locations sat vacant for long periods of time – private office car parks, apartment buildings, hotel car parks and shopping centres – that were not accessible for public use.

ParkBee develops smart car parking technology and this mobility management solution is used to utilise existing underused parking locations, minimising the need to build new ones and alleviating the pressure on cities.

‘Due to the continuing trend for urbanisation cities will double over the next 30 years. We think ParkBee can empower liveability and create a more sustainable environment in the cities.’

Rutger Schuur, ParkBee

Rutger Schuur, chief investment officer at ParkBee, and a board member of the Dutch Green Building Council, sees the company as a ‘scale-up with a mission’

“Our purpose is to give space back to the city by taking the cars off the street. Due to the continuing trend for urbanisation cities will double over the next 30 years. We think ParkBee can empower liveability and create a more sustainable environment in the cities”. Rutger adds that “technology and data provide the key by unlocking car parks and optimising the usage of parking spaces”. By tracking the data and following the trends in big cities, on-street parking spots can then be removed and potentially replaced by parks, community gardens and other sustainable, equitable and inclusive green spaces.

ParkBee does so by installing smart technology at these locations, enabling millions of registered RingGo, PayByPhone and Parkmobile users to access parking with the click of a button, making the parking spaces available to users.

Using data and analytics, ParkBee is able to transform parking locations into efficient mobility and transport hubs, providing additional services such as bike sharing, EV charging, and parcel pick-ups. It has also saved over 1,750,000km in unnecessary searches for parking spaces.

ParkBee has built up partnerships with a diverse portfolio of real estate owners, including Altera, NSI, Bouwinvest, Kroonenberg, RAI, and Rochdale. The company operates in more than 300 locations in the Netherlands and the UK with nearly 6000 parking spots now available and is actively looking to grow the network throughout Europe.