Parking management software company FlashParking secured $60 million in funding from private equity firm L Catterton to expand mobility hubs to 40% of U.S. cities in the next three to five years, equivalent to about 22,000 hubs, according to FlashParking CEO Juan Rodriguez.
The hubs will be "the next phase of what a traditional parking asset is today," Rodriguez told Smart Cities Dive. Services will include ride-share staging areas; electric vehicle charging; last-mile package deliveries; space for drones and rovers; car and fleet servicing; and rest areas for drivers.
The company plans to use the funding to double their workforce, including research and development roles to aid mobility hub expansions, Rodriguez said. FlashParking also plans to formalize a team that will work with city officials, including CIOs, city planners and parking managers, to educate and provide resources about what’s possible for city mobility hubs.
Founded in 2011, the Austin, TX-based company provides real-time data visibility and insight into areas like supply data and dynamic pricing for real estate owners, parking operators and cities to help confront issues like congestion and visibility into supply and demand, according to the company press release.
FlashParking views its competitors as legacy providers like Amano and WPS Parking Systems, which have similar software offerings. Unlike FlashParking, they do not have one centralized system with all of the data, according to Rodriguez.
The company’s plans to repurpose urban parking garages fit into a broader trend among cities seeking to reduce congestion and free up curb space. With cities actively discouraging personal car ownership, there could be more space in parking garages for the services that mobility hubs promise.
The hubs can also be used to accommodate the proliferation of new micromobility vehicles in cities, according to Rodriguez. Instead of relying on scooter "juicers" who often pick up scooters and drive them to charging areas outside of the city, the hubs can provide a convenient, central location for the vehicles to be parked and charged.
Mobility hubs could also help alleviate the fierce competition for curb space, an issue that cities are increasingly looking to resolve. Washington, DC's Department of Transportation (DDOT), for example, recently completed a three-month pilot with curb space management company curbFlow. The pilot resulted in a 64% reduction in double parking and 15,000 reservations from commercial drivers for spaces.
With such reductions in curbside parking spots, cities are freed up to use that space for other needs such as public space to enjoy, or for cities to designate as pick-up and drop-off zones during busy times of the day to ward off double parking.