Like most things that are being shared via the new trend of web and mobile-based collaborative consumption — apartments, cars, tools — parking spots have long been shared via a site like Craigslist. But as more consumers become comfortable with the idea of connecting with a stranger to rent out their stuff, more sites have emerged solely focused on connecting parking spot and driveway owners with parkers.
The latest to come to the U.S. is Park At My House, which has been mostly in the U.K. for several years, but on Wednesday is officially launching in the U.S., starting with New York, Washington D.C., and Boston. The site offers home and business owners way to put their parking spots and driveways up for rent to prospective parkers, and the site says it has earned its home owner parking spot renters a collective $5 million.
Park At My House is backed by BMW’s venture firm, the investing arm of the car company, which is focused on financing mobile apps and mobile technology. BMW only launched the $100 million fund last year and has also invested in mobile app MyCityWay.
Park Circa is another a small project looking to create a network around parking spots and people renting out their drive ways, and it appears to be mostly in the Bay Area right now. Park Circa says on its website that it launched at the beginning of January 2011 and has been organically growing out the site, but is looking for more driveway owners to join in.
It seems like in the U.S. people still largely turn to Craigslist for this market, and if you check out San Francisco and parking you can find loads of spots. But parking spots seem like something that could be readily shared via an easy to use mobile app and web site. And sites like Airbnb have been able to break out with apartment vacation rentals — once the dominant domain of Craigslist — and Airbnb is now moving steadily into sublets, which is more Craigslist fodder.
I like the idea of sharing parking spots because it’s a more efficient way to share and rent out resources. Why not make money off of the parking spot asset and use the spaces already available, instead of encouraging more parking lot developers to build?
These types of web and mobile tools will be needed to share resources and better manage transportation as our populations boom from 7 billion in the world, to 9 billion in the world, with much of that growth happening in cities.