Parking Anxiety is Real

By Victor A. Hill, CAPP, MPA

Seriously. Google it and the first result is a blog post about anticipatory car park anxiety.

So how do we mitigate it? Let’s start a conversation. I’m interested in common concerns expressed by customers and it would be great to hear from operations of all sizes. Certainly, parking operations in more urban areas may experience this type of feedback more frequently, but even a university our size—about 10,000 students—has customers who suffer from parking anxiety. Several companies have already created parking apps to help customers find spaces, but it’d be interesting to know what else is out there.

Commonalities may lead to best practices we can either formalize or enhance to reduce anxiety and increase customer satisfaction. Examples of concerns we encounter on our campus are from customers who dislike parking in our five-level ramp. Anecdotal feedback includes: spaces are too tight, ceilings are too low, too many cars park in the ramp, and fears of what’s around blind corners. We rarely hear about anxieties experienced in surface lots because our campus is not particularly large. However, that same Internet search for parking anxiety leads to several articles and forum posts from people who experience obvious anxiety about parking, whether they are searching for a space, parallel parking, or avoid parking close to other cars.

Please share in the comments your experiences and ideas about how we can reduce anxiety and make the parking experience less stressful for our customers.

Victor Hill, CAPP, MPA, is the director of parking and transportation services at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

2 thoughts on “Parking Anxiety is Real

  1. Hi Victor,

    Based in Gulf, as a parking professional, I had experienced customers anxiety in the following real-time scenarios.

    1. Paid Parking Exits: In a complex structure built (mall) in center of the city. The Mall has multiple entry and exit points leading towards the different streets (main roads). Area 1, 2,3,4 &5 all have separate entry and exit points and mall consists of 3 car parks A,B,C(2 multistory and 1 surface parking). The customers entered from Area 1 normally parked at car park A which is near to the Area 5. While exiting, the visitors prefer to exit from Area 5, this outside street is the busiest in the town and traffic jams between peak hours 4-9 pm. Instead of exiting from Area 5, If visitors exit from Area 2, they immediately reach in the center of the city. We help customers by placing sign board before Area 5 exit to divert towards Area 2 if they want to avoid traffic jam and to reach center of the city.

    2. Widen the Road: In the paid parking area of the mall, I experience the customer anxiety in the car park where 80% visitors try to exit from the same exit lane during peak hours (although mall have 5 exit points). This ends up in traffic jams, delays, customers complaints, non payment issues and some time ends up in the big mess. So we discussed with the mall management and implement the plan to widen the road and ADD another Exit lane. This works very well, all of our problems suddenly solved. Visitors are happy and the mall management too.

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