Ward Vleugels Q-Park Thesis Award 2015

Friday, 26 February 2016

The Erasmus University and Q-Park have organised the Ward Vleugels Q-Park Thesis Award: a competition for the best master's thesis from students at universities in the Netherlands and Flanders about parking in the broadest sense of the word.

This year, seven theses were submitted from four universities: Delft, Rotterdam, Hasselt and Eindhoven. A jury of academics from various universities selected two finalists from all the entries based on the economics of the submissions:

  • Exploring the possibilities of using a parking facility as a power plant using hydrogen fuel cell technology by Jurriaan Coomans (Delft University of Technology)
  • Analysis of effects of parking measures in an urban context by Johannes Martens (University of Hasselt)

The car park as power plant

This thesis looks further into the future than using the battery capacity of parked electric cars to flatten peaks in energy demand. If hydrogen technology for fuelling passenger cars develops into viable vehicles, this will offer opportunities to use parking facilities as power plants.

The hydrogen car is still in its infancy, Toyota being the first manufacturer to market such technology. The hydrogen car generates electricity from hydrogen, which powers the car. When a hydrogen engine is running, the only waste is water, which means that you can leave the engine running when parked. A modern wind turbine has about the same capacity as approximately 25 passenger cars.

The advantage of the cars is that they can also generate electricity if there is no wind. If you leave the engine running while parked at home, you will have your own electricity generator, (and more than likely, you'll be at home to consume that electricity). If a car is parked at home for half the time, (4,000 hours per annum), only 15 cars will be needed to generate as much electricity as a wind turbine.

There are still many technical aspects to be worked out in detail, such as producing and storing hydrogen (high pressure, safety) and optimising the economic model (the current first generation hydrogen cars are rather expensive). The scale required to be economically viable will have to be integrated into the social context, including a far-reaching transition process.

WV Thesis 2015 CPPP

Effects of parking measures in an urban context

Instead of the customary local ‘stated preference’ mobility research (in which respondents are asked about changes in habits in response to a local measure) this study distinguished between various push measures in different cities. A push measure discourages the use of a particular mode of transport by imposing blockages, such as limiting capacity or imposing additional costs. This study concentrated on parking measures.

Residents of Geel in Belgium were asked about their travel habits, not only to the city itself, but also to nearby cities such as Turnhout and Antwerp. They were asked about the impact of an increase in charges, reduction of capacity, and closure of their preferred parking facility. According to the study, reduction of capacity will result in a greater change in behaviour than increasing parking charges. In urban areas, this would mostly likely result in greater use of bicycles; in rural areas, an alternative location would probably be chosen (for example for shopping), or a shift to public transport would be made.

Based on a scaled exercise, the study concluded that expansion of parking capacity and reduction of parking charges or subsidising public transport could lead to (limited) increases in the attractiveness of the urban area concerned. If the public transport subsidy were to be paid from an increase in parking charges, on balance, the attractiveness of the area would not increase.

And the winner is…

Based on the originality of the topic and the depth of the analysis, a panel of parking experts from the industry has selected Jurriaan Coomans to be the winner. The cheques for the winner and the runner-up were presented by Ward Vleugels, former CEO of Q-Park at a meeting at the Automotive Campus in Helmond on 25 February.

WV Scriptie Thesis 2015

FLTR: Ward Vleugels, Johannes Martens, Guiliano Mingardo, Jurriaan Coomans, Frank De Moor

The thesis award is a partnership between the Erasmus University Rotterdam and Q-Park. The Erasmus University is committed to high-calibre academic education, embedded in societal requirements. As trend-setting company in the field of parking solutions, Q-Park is committed to innovation and sustainability. Since its inception, this partnership generates innovative contributions from students and interesting insights for the parking industry.