The Rise of the Mobility Hub

By Maggie Rush | MRV Consulting

The Rise of the Mobility Hub

Reinventing the Urban Parking Garage

The Rise of the Mobility Hub

Today nearly 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas and the UN estimates that in the next 25 years this number will grow to nearly 70%. This growth will inevitably put new demands on urban infrastructure and logistics—so how are cities, innovative companies and investors responding?

Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose

Today nearly every type of traditional commercial and retail space is being repurposed and reinvented for new and innovative uses—a trend accelerated by the global pandemic. In fact, The CCIM Institute forecasts that adaptive reuse of retail centers and malls will be the most impactful trend for retail between now and 2025.  Empty storefronts are being repurposed as ghost kitchens and micro-fulfillment centers, while larger, “dead” retail spaces are being turned into schools, event spaces and eCommerce distribution centers.

This major shift in how existing retail and commercial space is being used includes parking garages as well. Growing urban populations increasingly rely on public transportation. Urban planners are challenging decades-old zoning laws that set arbitrary parking minimums and experts predict that the American need for plentiful parking will decrease significantly in the coming years, with developers and planners shifting their focus to market-driven parking strategies for urban areas. The US currently has more than 2 billion parking spaces for only 250 million cars—that means a lot of very valuable real estate, especially in urban areas, is sitting empty. So, what will become of the urban parking garage as we know it? 

Introducing The Mobility Hub / Reintroducing
NOYACK Logistics is preparing for a paradigm shift in parking. Centrally located and with vast, underutilized square footage, structured parking garages  are ripe for reinvention as Mobility Hubs. Mobility Hubs are part flexible parking garage, part fulfillment center, and part fleet management depot for ride-sharing services and last-mile delivery—developed and operated right where the customers are in the urban core rather than the urban periphery. 

Mobility Hubs address a number of logistics issues unique to urban centers—from easing large truck and curbside delivery congestion to creating short-term, flexible ‘holding areas’ for rideshare and delivery vehicles. For businesses, they offer the potential for flexible expansion space, climate-controlled storage and last-mile fulfillment. They also enable faster delivery of goods and services for customers.

But What About Parking?
So what happens when parking garages are used for things other than … parking? Will fewer spaces make it harder to park? The research predicts this will not be the case. 

Independent think tank ReThinkX forecasts that by 2030 private car ownership will drop by 80% in the U.S., and the number of passenger vehicles on roads will decrease from 247 million in 2020 to 44 million. Furthermore, the eventual shift to autonomous vehicles will create a surplus of spaces by optimizing parking in under-utilized areas and decreasing the amount of time cars sit idle. as new networks for shared, electric and possibly autonomous vehicles grow, the demand for private cars and parking will continue to shrink

It’s All About Value 

Reinventing “dead” commercial space like parking garages into innovative Mobility Hubs can create value in many ways. Yes, they’re good for business, generating new income for commercial landlords and supporting the municipal tax base,  but they also create intangible value above and beyond ROI. Repurposing existing structures reduces material waste and energy consumption and supports the growing need for electric vehicle charging hubs and ride-share programs. 

Mobility Hubs also create value for businesses: flexible, affordable space for fulfillment and last-mile delivery to consumers. 

Urban communities will also benefit from the value that Mobility Hubs offer. Benefits that go beyond faster delivery of goods and services and include reduced traffic congestion, noise and environmental pollution thanks to the Hub’s staging area for delivery trucks and rideshare vehicles. 

For more information about how Noyack Logistics is investing in new Mobility Hubs, click here.