Parking Structures Use Mobile Technology for Flexibility
Pay-in-lane technologies can allow owners to provide an efficient automated parking experience without requiring customers to walk to a pay station. For instance, with credit card in/credit card out systems, customers merely swipe their cards upon entering a structure and then pay with the same card on the way out.
New parking guidance technologies that tie directly to access control are also breaking new ground in parking management. Sensors or cameras can monitor usage on parking decks to determine where open parking is available. That information is then communicated wirelessly and displayed via LED signage at facility entrances and on individual floors so drivers can be directed to areas with open parking. Some structures even have sensors at each parking stall to keep track of which spaces are open. That information can then be conveyed to parkers so they don't have to search for open spaces. A red/green/blue light can be added to easily identify every space as full, open or accessible to people with disabilities without the driver having to go down the aisle.
Finally, breakthroughs in mobile technologies are bringing new developments to parking. It's now possible to set up a system allowing customers to pay for parking via their cell phone. If they parked at a metered parking space, they could receive a text alert advising them that their time was about to expire and asking if they wanted to purchase more time.
There are also mobile apps that enable drivers to keep track of where parking is available and what it will cost. Some of these apps even send drivers text messages advising them when a particular facility is full, and directing them to alternative parking. The benefits to customers are obvious, but parking owners also benefit by making their facilities more attractive and convenient to customers.
Dan Kupferman, CAPP, is director of car park management systems at Walker Parking Consultants. He can be reached at email@example.com.