What would we do without our smartphones and connected devices? With 1.2 billion apps1 (as of 2015) and a steady stream of new ones coming our way, consumers have access to the world at their fingertips. Millennials (not to mention every succeeding generation) have grown up with this technology and will demand better access to information and resources. So how is parking evolving with the smartphone
and mobile app revolution?

IPI’s 2015 Emerging Trends in Parking report found that technology continues to drive parking. Among the top 10 emerging trends in parking, half relate directly to a range of different technologies that
have revolutionized the parking sector in the past few years.

With 327.6 million cell phones in the US, and 64 percent of adults actively using them and downloading an average of three apps a month, the parking industry has kept pace, offering apps designed to help customers locate, reserve, and pay for parking.

So Why All the Interest in Mobile Apps?
Smartphone apps put real-time information into the hands of patrons. They can improve the convenience, security, and reliability of each parking experience. Customers locate and compare pricing for parking facilities, make parking reservations, and start and stop parking sessions from the comfort of their cars or before they even begin their trip.

Parking apps allow patrons to make more informed parking and transportation decisions that are based on real-time information. This increased access to information and convenience may reduce barriers to making a trip downtown or to another busy urban location. But the benefit does not stop with the consumer; parking apps and other mobile technologies can assist parking professionals through more efficient (and informed) asset management, increased compliance, and satisfied (and connected) patrons.

For the Parking Professional
Considering launching a new app or integrating with an existing app. Make sure you ask these questions first.

  • What are your success factors and goals for the application?
  • Will the app have universal log-in and be enabled for Google, Facebook, Android Pay, and Apple Pay?
  • What is the business model of the app – how does it generate
    revenue? Does its business model affect yours?
  • Who will own the data and usage of that data generated by the app?
  • What security processes does the app provide? What does your organization need to provide?
  • How will the app be updated to reflect changing rates and
    information? Will the console be linked to your system or require an
    additional process?
  • What are the adoption and retention rates for the app to date? What is the cost to acquire a routine user?
  • Who is responsible for the branding and marketing?

Read more in At a Glance: Mobile Apps for the Parking Industry.