Header image

Parking research The power of partnership TransPark* is a research project by the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex, carried out in partnership with the BPA. Kejia Yang, one of the researchers working on TransPark, is investigating interoperability in the intersection between parking and energy. Dr Ralitsa Hiteva, principal investigator for TransPark, asks her more about her work Why does interoperability matter for the parking industry? TransPark works towards developing a shared understanding of interoperability between stakeholders in parking, energy, digital, transport and mobility services, and identifying what business model innovations can emerge through embedding interoperability in the provision of parking in the UK. Although it is referred to in different ways in different contexts, interoperability means the ability of two or more systems to work with one another for the purpose of delivering a service or a product. This could involve understanding one another, exchanging actionable information, and/or using the functionality of one another. Interoperability covers multiple elements: material, technical, organisational, regulation and cultural. This is the right time to be thinking about interoperability across multiple vectors such as electricity, heat, hydrogen, transport, mobility and digital services and within parking. With the UK commitment to reaching net zero by 2050, the need for a green recovery, and rapidly changing business models for parking because of the global pandemic, interoperability can help make parking a key space for innovation, or innovation junctions. Through these, new business models and services can emerge, which can support a broader social transformation towards a low-carbon future. Why did you focus on different perspectives on interoperability in the study? Currently, there is no shared understanding of interoperability. It is an evolving concept and we need to understand the multiple and different ways it manifests in different sectors and contexts. Most of the understanding of interoperability only refers to technology (devices, apps, platforms) and material interoperability. For example, discussions of interoperability for electric vehicles (EVs) mainly focus on making EV charging points interoperable across different devices and suppliers. Not all types of interoperability provide equal opportunities for social transformation and innovation. Interoperability through data sharing often using apps and digital platforms is developing fast, but, on its own, is not sufficient to enable a broader set of innovations for co-delivery of energy, parking and mobility services in parking facilities. Furthermore, neglecting cultural and organisational interoperability may lead to market fragmentation, both spatially and functionally. What are the important lessons for interoperability from an energy perspective, 40 britishparking.co.uk PN Dec 2020 pp40-41 Inter feature.indd 40 23/11/2020 16:23