From March 14 – 17 the international real estate industry will be gathering in Cannes for this year’s MIPIM. APCOA will have a strong presence and will be showcasing a number of projects to demonstrate just how much easier parking is becoming thanks to digitalisation. Our Pre-Booking is one such solution, allowing shopping centres to further enhance their customers’ shopping experience. A presentation of our “Park&Go” concept at Stockholm’s “Globen” shopping centre, which works with barrier-free entry and exit systems, is also sure to attract a great deal of interest. Finally, our anticipation is steadily growing for the opening of the "Parking Royal Hamilius" in spring 2018. Operating the underground parking facilities at Luxembourg’s luxury “Royal Hamilius” shopping centre is an extremely prestigious project for APCOA. You can read more about each of these exciting projects in this latest edition of our newsletter.
Parking: Fit for a king
In spring 2018, APCOA PARKING will open the parking facilities at the “Royal-Hamilius”, providing more than 630 new parking spaces in central Luxembourg. Construction of the six-storey car park is currently underway in a 35-metre deep trench. The “Royal-Hamilius” is a multi-purpose building complex and has been designed to breathe further life into the city centre with a strong mix of shops, apartments and offices. We spoke to Raphaël van der Vleugel, Deputy Director General of Codic Luxemburg S.A. and Detlef Wilmer, Managing Director of APCOA PARKING Deutschland GmbH, to find out about the specific challenges of such a large-scale project.
Why is the “Royal-Hamilius” such a special project for you?
Raphaël van der Vleugel: This is the first car park to be developed in the heart of Luxembourg, right on the capital’s most prestigious thoroughfare, the Boulevard Royal. The “Royal-Hamilius” is ideally situated: It is incredibly easy to reach by car, has extensive public transport links, including the planned new tram line, and also has an extended pedestrian zone at street-level above the car park. The centre’s users will have access to this full range of infrastructure.
Detlef Wilmer: It is always exciting when you start working in a new country. The “Royal Hamilius” is APCOA’s first car park in Luxembourg. And, of course, we are proud to be able to make an important contribution to such a prestigious project. The “Royal Hamilius” has already become one of our reference projects.
What will make the car park so special?
Raphaël van der Vleugel: Well, in addition to its large capacity of 630 parking spaces spread across six storeys, the “Royal-Hamilius” will have a number of entrances, one of which will be available for external users via Monterey Avenue. Regular parkers and tenants with apartments in the complex will have their own separate entrance and exit. We made the decision to build a car park with numerous entrances in order to ensure a smooth flow of daily traffic, and to make sure that long-term parkers are not adversely affected by shopping traffic. Detlef Wilmer: In terms of technology, the car park will be state-of-the-art, including the digitalised parking process. Customers will be able to register with APCOA in order to enjoy a wide range of added benefits. Naturally, the car park’s features will include charging stations for electric vehicles. We are extremely pleased that we have been able to fully implement our vision of future-oriented parking.
What role does digital technology play?
Raphaël van der Vleugel: A very important one, which is why we chose to work with APCOA. We involved APCOA in our discussions with Luxembourg’s municipal authorities from the outset, ensuring that they had a direct input into the integration of cutting-edge technologies. We are really pleased that APCOA was able to incorporate the necessary technological foundations, including its signal technology, into the design of the “Royal-Hamilius” project. As a result, we are creating a user-friendly and safe car park, a place where users can comfortably park their cars and easily get to their appointments. Detlef Wilmer: Our registered customers will benefit from automatic barrier opening and monthly billing of parking fees. Registered customers will no longer need to pick up a ticket or pay at one of our payment machines. This will save them a great deal of time – the key word is convenience; market research has shown us that convenience is the highest priority for consumers today.
Did you face any particular challenges when you were planning the parking facilities for theRoyal-Hamilius?
Raphaël van der Vleugel: The key challenge has been to integrate the requirements of the car park’s operator into a project that is currently in its execution phase, and where some work requires the expertise of civil engineers. There will be no traditional handover of keys as would be the case with a classic building development. We are now working together as a single team to make sure that all of the necessary works are implemented and completed in time to open the car park in spring 2018. Detlef Wilmer: Due to the car park’s central location in Luxembourg, we expect a particularly high frequency of vehicles. This means that we have to consistently deliver the smoothest possible parking process at all times. Overall, with this project, we are taking a joint step into a new era of parking.
“Park&Go”: Digital solution cuts complaints by 98 percent
Digitalisation is transforming the parking sector. APCOA’s implementation of the “Park&Go” concept at Stockholm’s “Globen” shopping centre is a perfect example of how modern technologies can improve the parking experience.
The centre’s car park faced a number of challenges. During popular shopping periods and major events, long lines of vehicles waited to enter and exit the car park as the car park’s barrier system did not allow traffic to flow quickly. The problem was exacerbated by drivers entering and exiting the car park repeatedly during the day in order to take advantage of the shopping centre’s offer of two-hours free parking. These cars contributed to significant bottlenecks at the car park’s entrance and exit barriers. There were further lines at the car park’s payment machines. With such a challenging situation, it’s no surprise that the car park’s managers received roughly two hundred complaints per day from annoyed and frustrated drivers.
APCOA has addressed all of these challenges, remodelling the car park and implementing our “Park&Go” concept. The barriers have gone. In their place, cameras have been installed to scan number-plates. The system recognises exactly when a car enters and exits the car park. Coloured lights have also been installed to allow drivers to see vacant spaces from a distance. Payment can be made by credit card in the car park, online or via monthly billing.
The results of this digital offensive have been truly astounding. The car park’s customers are happier and the volume of complaints has been cut by 98 percent. Cars enter the car park more quickly, and the lines of cars have been eliminated thanks to the barrier-free entrance and exits. Customers no longer have to spend time finding a payment machine to pay for their parking. At the same time, the new systems also ensure that parkers can only take advantage of the centre’s two-hours of free parking once per day. Last but not least, the new systems require significantly less maintenance.
MIPIM / Pre-Booking
APCOA showcases digital car park at MIPIM
A self-driving car cruises through the barrier-free car park and heads directly to its reserved parking space; the fee for parking, accurate to the minute, is transmitted directly to the driver’s smartphone. This may be a vision of the future, but APCOA is about to showcase what innovative parking technology can already deliver. From March 14 -17, during the MIPIM real estate fair in Cannes, Europe’s largest parking facility operator will be presenting a range of current projects to showcase the potentials of digitalisation for the car park of the future.
Stress-free parking with Pre-Booking
If they hope to vanquish their online competitors, shopping centres need to offer their customers a unique retail experience. And this has to include providing their visitors with a seamless parking experience. This means that Pre-Booking solutions are sure to grow in importance. These systems reserve parking spaces for drivers, guide them to their spaces and make sure that the right car is in the right space thanks to number-plate recognition and RFID technology. Parking fees are then conveniently invoiced and paid by monthly direct debit. As this scenario demonstrates, parking will be seamlessly integrated into the customer's overall shopping experience.