Mobile App Entrepreneurs Will Solve Oslo’s Parking Problem

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oslo parking app space

Have you ever tried to park in Ekeberg during the Norway Cup? It’s definitely not an easy task. The funny part is, there are plenty of parking spots available on private properties in the area.

– “We conducted an experiment last year in Oslo,” said Sigurd Høystad, general manager of a start-up called Space.

– “We knocked on the doors of 40 homeowners in Ekeberg during the Norway Cup, asking if they would like to rent out parking space for one or more cars on their plot. In the course of one evening, we got approval for 80 parking spaces,” said Høystad.

Space: A car parking App
Image Courtesy: Ilan Kelman

 

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So many spaces, but where?

After this evening of canvassing door-to-door, Høystad strengthened his belief that there is currently no service available to “mediate” parking spaces.

At any given time, there are many parking spaces open but they’re usually on private property. In addition, there are many areas that are not designated parking lots, but it could be possible to drop off a car with permission.

Therefore, the market was prime for Høystad to launch an enterprise in the form of a mobile app that connects car owners looking for a parking space with land owners who have space to spare. The mobile app “Space” has already been recognized, earning second place in the ranking of Best Start-up Company during Oslo’s Innovation Week this past Fall.

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Short-term or long-term

The Space app has been called a “p-space-variant” of the residential service, Airbnb.

– “The idea is simply that those who have an available parking space, for example, people who bring their car to work and have a driveway that stays empty all day, can post their parking spot for free on this app. They decide how long they will rent it out – a few hours one day, or even long-term for a few months. So, people who are looking for a place to drop off their car can reserve a spot and avoid having to drive around.”

 

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So far, it’s looking like a win-win for Høystad. The constant driving around in search of a parking space is not good for cities.- Donald Shoup, an American professor who has thought most deeply about parking issues worldwide, has estimated that 30 percent of all traffic in city centers is created by people in search of parking. If the Space app can reduce the proportion of people searching for parking, there will be a benefit for all.

– And you will make money?

– “We hope, of course,” says Høystad.

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The market determines the price

When car owners pay for a parking spot, Space takes a share of each parking fee and the rest goes to the land owner.

– What will it cost?

– “We’ll start with a proposal for land owners, but they can take what they want. So it’s up to drivers whether they will pay that price or find a cheaper spot. The market determines the price. It’s only natural to expect that it will be much more expensive to park in a spot near Ullevaal Stadium during the Norway Cup than on an ordinary Thursday,” says Høystad.

– What about parking garages, don’t they often have extra capacity?

– “We currently have a large operator in the market, Indigo Invest, supporting us as an investor, so we have thoughts about also posting such places on the app,” says Høystad.

The plan is to launch the Space app in Oslo during the first half of March 2017. Initially, 500 parking spaces will be offered, and by the end of 2017, Høystad hopes to increase the service to include 3,500 spaces.

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