It seems like just yesterday that the future of the car was shifting hard away from personal ownership into a new era of rideshare services, autonomous vehicles, and more reliance on public transit. Many of our parking facilities were preparing to repurpose their space into staging zones where autonomous taxis could wait for their next ride without clogging up our streets. Others were considering urban farming, delivery hubs, or even converting the space into retail or apartments. One way or another, parking operators were getting ready for the end of the personal vehicle as we know it.
But, like so many trends, 2020 flipped that future on its axis – public transit was totally off the table and getting into a car with a stranger seemed like a life or death decision for a minute. During that time, any concerns about the environment that may have discouraged millennials from buying a car took a back seat to the freedom to get out of home safely that car ownership provides. Virtually overnight, all across the country, people ditched their reusable coffee mugs, got off the subways, and hit the Starbucks drive-thru in their new SUVs.