As new tenants of downtown, we understand the struggle of finding a good parking spot. Our struggle led this commuter filled office to monthly parking permits in various surface lots and parking garages. Which led to the next struggle of paying for said monthly parking spots.

We’re not the only ones fighting the parking dilemmas. 79% of Columbus commuters drive alone to work. That adds up to a lot of cars needing a lot of parking spots.

Here’s what’s even worse: parking spots are dwindling. Surface parking lots are being redeveloped into housing. Adding more people, more cars, and less places to park them. The parking lot I fought to find, is one of the lots on the list to redevelop. So what do we do Columbus?

“The Capital Crossroads Special Improvements District (SID) has come up with a solution to this by giving about 43,000 downtown workers free, unlimited access bus passes. It’s called the Downtown Transit Pass Program and it’s slated to launch on June 1, 2018.”

SID’s solution is free busing to downtown workers. Changing the way we think about commuting. Turning drivers into riders, and providing it for free.

It’s a solution to be optimistic about, but there’s work still to be done. It doesn’t help everyone, and it may be a hard shift for commuters with longer drives, or the want for the independence that a car provides.

It’s not the only solution either. Rideshare programs seem to be flooding the scene. Uber, Lyft, Car2Go, CoGo Bikes, Hopper Carts…The list goes on. Though, rideshare options solve short commutes and freeing up parking spots, they aren’t always practical for the daily commute.

What about autonomous cars?

Self-driving cars scare most of us at Rave, but it seems like its a race to see which car manufacturer will have it first. Ford announced that it will have self-driving cars by 2021.

Could autonomous cars help solve the parking dilemma?

Some predict that 15 years from now, autonomous vehicles will have erased the need for up to 90 percent of our current parking spaces.

Since they are managed by computers rather than humans, they can park closer together and take up less room. Plus by sharing vehicles, you could be dropped off by a car, which would then turn around and drive someone else to their commute. The car could then park itself out of the city, and return to you at the end of the day.

The (scary) thought of autonomous cars is still a few years off, so the Downtown Transit Pass program hopes to alleviate some parking stress in the near future. Either way, it’s clear that we’re trending towards finding a solution for the growing problem.