For three months I was interning at the digital design agency AKQA. During the last two weeks of my internship we were tasked with creating an application to solve a major problem in San Francisco. We were asked to present in front of the entire company, so I created Parkour.
The Concrete Nightmare
In San Francisco there are roughly 850 thousand residents, and 69% of those residents own a vehicle.
Each day, half a million people commute into San Francisco.
There are only 448,000 parking spaces in san Francisco.
The problem here? There are a lot of vehicles, and not a lot of parking.
“More than 1.5 million parking tickets are issued in San Fransisco each year.”
1.5 million tickets, for 69% of 850,000 residents. That’s about 2.5 tickets per resident. Per year.
“That equals out to 100+ million dollars in revenue for the city…”
So, I asked myself:
How can we give that money back to San Francisco’s residents?
I conducted some initial research by surveying people in the Bay Area – to get a feel for how to answer that question.
“Parking downtown is incredibly difficult, and parking in garages/private lots is expensive. I try to get street parking but don’t usually succeed..”
“I work downtown and finding parking before work can be frustrating. I usually allow 20 minutes to find a spot before work and will usually have to walk several blocks. When we get out late… I don’t like having to walk so far by myself.”
From this, I assumed that most people are simply looking for a parking spot. They don’t search for the perfect parking spot, and nor do they care much about the price (except for when it comes to garage parking). They are simply looking for the next available parking spot.
The biggest problem? Just a lack of spaces.
I followed up with some competitive research to find how other companies are solving this issue – like Parking Panda and ParkNow. They leverage garage and parking lot spaces, but their models are not fully effective.
“Cheap garage and lot parking”
“Just like Panda. But partnered with BMW”
Other companies are trying to provide an on-demand valet service like Luxe and Zirx, but this model is also proving to be not effective, as seen by Zirx’s recent consumer-facing implosion.
“On-Demand Valet Parking”
“Just like Luxe. But out-of-business”
During this internship I was living in San Francisco and I noticed many potential parking spots – driveways, garages, curb cut spots – all empty. As homeowners leave on their commutes into work in the morning, or to go about their day, parking spots are left empty.
I thought to myself:
What if, due to the massive amount of empty driveways and personal garage left open, you could just crowdsource parking?
After doing some math, I found that there are over 400,000 private driveways and garages within the downtown sector, many of which are empty during the day and have the potential to be rented out. This could almost double the amount of parking spaces in San Francisco alone.