I will be the first to admit that I have been surprised at the parking industry. I have long been one of those "parkers" happy to wander around a parking lot looking for a spot to park. I've also been one to park where I wasn't supposed to as I couldn't either find parking or (as a struggling student) could not afford it. As I became more and more involved in the parking industry I began to realize that parking really is a renewable resource and a commodity. Not a physical item to hold but arguably something that has great value and can be held or controlled by an individual for a period of time. I now think of the parking companies that lease out their parking spaces and those that are lucky enough to have a monthly pass which ensures them a parking space will be available when they need it.
Over the last few months I've been hearing more and more about self-driving cars. I understand that they are the vehicle to get you from place to place and until recently I had also thought that they would also require parking. This may not be the case since I could see a future where cabs are plenty and not regulated, perhaps run by organizations like Uber. A car could be requested to take a passenger to a location, then drops them off and leaves to go pickup the next passenger.
The idea that a fleet of vehicles could be "owned" by a community is not so crazy, and we may actually see a day when we don't have our own personal vehicle to drive us from place to place. If I had a self driving car, I would be happy to rent it out all day to anyone using the car sharing model. My car sits at the office all day, or sits in my laneway most of the weekend. How would such a model affect parking as we know it. No longer am I having to "store" my vehicle for later retrieval, no longer am I having to have to rent a parking space. Even if I am not interested in renting my self-driving car, I could simply send it home (or to some backstreet) until some time later in the day and never have to worry about parking.
Yes I know, most regulations as they exist now require an alert person to be behind the wheel, but I fully suspect that will change in coming years.
I look forward to your thoughts about the future... oh, what fun it will be!!