Over the past five years, there has been a huge shift in the parking industry as it moves toward innovative technologies. The COVID-19 pandemic brought a pressing need for contactless parking, and overcrowded urban spaces are demanding smart, sustainable parking solutions. As we’ve begun to replace antiquated parking equipment with cloud-based methods and the industry focuses more and more on digitization, here are some of the ways emerging technologies are transforming the future of parking, writes Jeff Patterson of Phoenix Parking Solutions, Atlanta, Georgia.
Dynamic Pricing Models for Parking
A dynamic pricing model adjusts parking rates based on real-time supply and demand by connecting parking guidance sensors that monitor spaces with software that takes this information, as well as market rates for the area, to calculate and adjust prices. By charging a premium when demand for parking is high and lowering prices to draw in more traffic when occupancy is low, parking garage owners and operators can maximize revenue. As the algorithm gathers more data, it can forecast trends and adjust accordingly.
Although this strategy provides a smoother parking experience to customers who no longer have to circle in search of open spaces, it is primarily beneficial to clients who are looking to optimize occupancy and increase revenue.
Data Collection and Analytics
We are able to collect so much data now, but the parking industry is still figuring out what to do with it to provide better customer service. Tracking volume and finding ways to increase a facility’s revenue will allow for a competitive edge, and this is a trend that excites property developers. Restaurants, apartment complexes and other businesses are adjusting their prices in other aspects of their businesses, so why not parking?
New cloud -based software can streamline operations via web, mobile and SMS technologies to make it easier for guests or residents to access parking services using their mobile phones—we can collect real-time data and make real-time updates without having to speak to a representative.
Real-time parking management allows for revenue optimization, but it is not just about enhancing profits. I encourage property owners and property management companies to use real-time data to improve their services. The technology we offer our clients allows them to gather customer feedback from user reviews. Providing customers with the option to easily leave a review right after they park enables our clients to respond and adjust immediately. It gives customers a voice and allows garage and surface lot operators to be proactive. This data also helps parking management companies create new features and products that focus on what customers truly want.
Parking validations and monthly permits are a huge component of retail, office and residential building leases; however, managing them is cumbersome, time-consuming and costly. But thanks to gateless garage operations, these validations and permits can now be managed virtually.
Each building tenant may have different policies regarding parking validation, and by going digital, it is exponentially easier to set and manage specific discount options. Businesses like movie theatres, fitness centres and restaurants may want to offer free or discounted parking to patrons, while office tenants must have access to a certain amount of parking spaces for employees. These can be assigned or changed virtually without the laborious onboarding process that standard pay-on-foot parking equipment requires.
Cameras with license plate readers (LPRs) track plate numbers for garage enforcement, and consumers do not have to keep track of tickets and instead get a validation code from the retailer they are visiting. Simply by entering their phone number and license plate number, consumers receive a confirmation text and notifications about when their time is expiring. Apartment residents can do the same for their permits. Before this technology existed, all these steps had to be done manually on an individual basis, so clients appreciate the seamless process that does not add to the workload of their leasing agents and property managers.
Continued License Plate Reader (LPR) Solutions
Utilizing LPRs for enforcement is an essential component of the future of parking. When garage monitoring systems are integrated with the appropriate software, LPRs can help provide real-time data on what is happening in the facility. For parking garage operators who are worried about going gateless, LPRs provide a way for them to protect their revenue.
LPR technology removes the friction and frustration from parking regulation. The software is connected to a garage’s LPR cameras to detect violations based on customized regulations and parking permit lists. The system then mails out a parking charge notice. Violators pay their notices via an online portal, so parking operators can start seeing this increased revenue quickly and do not have to chase anyone down for money.
The beauty of LPR-based enforcement systems is that they offer a much softer touch than the more aggressive booting or towing methods that place a huge burden on customers. Additionally, the 24/7 monitoring of a garage offers both safety for customers and additional real-time data for clients.
In a residential setting, LPR technology simply scans license plates, so these complexes do not have to purchase and issue key fobs or transponders for residents to access the garage. If a resident does not pay for their monthly permit or if a lease is broken, the plate number can be immediately removed from the system. Residential communities that utilize these LPR-integrated platforms streamline operations for the leasing or management team while also making parking a seamless process for residents.
Technology Delivers Sustainability
A huge advantage of utilizing emerging technology in the parking industry is that it promotes sustainability. For instance, there are technologies that enable an integrated parking guidance and lighting system that operates on a wireless platform. Combining lighting, security cameras and guidance sensors into one system reduces the overall installation cost while also reducing the parking garage’s overall electricity bill, which amounts to enormous savings over time. But more importantly, these solutions also lead to energy efficiency, lower carbon dioxide emissions and lower environmental impact.
It is essential for real estate developers to start considering these integrated parking guidance and lighting systems in the planning stages as it becomes much more difficult and costly to replace or convert existing equipment.