Are You Available?

By Robert Ferrin

No, we aren’t talking about a dating pickup line. In Columbus, Ohio–America’s Smart City–our team is piloting multiple parking availability technologies to improve the customer experience and reduce congestion.

In our dynamic Short North Arts District, the city selected three vendors to test sensing technology during a three-month period this fall and winter. During the pilot, city staff will evaluate each vendor on a number of key factors, including accuracy, ease of installation, integration capabilities with our mobile pay vendor, and data management system ease of use, among other data points. This  pilot is a great way for the city to test new technology in an effort to be innovative and responsive to our customers.

If successful, the city may choose one or more vendors to deploy additional sensors in high-demand parking areas and provide our customers with real-time parking availability information to positively influence their trip planning processes. We are encouraged by our leadership in Columbus to test and innovate and we encourage others to do so as well. Pilot projects such as this can only help raise awareness for our profession and move the industry forward.

Robert Ferrin is assistant director for parking services with the City of Columbus, Ohio.