Tag Archives: parking technology

Member News: What Automatic Access Control Systems Can do for Car Parks in This New Reality

Quercus Tech ACS


May 21, 2020

Interaction is natural and it is an inherent need of every human being. Nevertheless, latest technologies lead to avoiding human contact and simplifying lives thanks to automation. This path to the future based on avoiding interaction has been accelerated by the Covid19 situation. Considering the trend of increasing use of private transport, now it’s the best time for parking. More than ever it is mandatory to decrease or eliminate the physical contact points inside the premises.


How can LPR cameras like Quercus Technologies’ help prevent the virus spread at entries and exits of a car park? Quite simple. The less we poke around, the less chances for it to spread

In everyday life drivers who park in a car park have to interact with different devices in the process. It seems unavoidable to use things such as ticket dispensers, payment machines, cash or vouchers… And it’s been confirmed that the virus can stand on surfaces for long.

The major issue lies with the use of the ticket dispensers at the entry and exit; the best option to avoid this contact point is to simply go in and out without using a ticket. Technology built in SmartLPR Access cameras integrated with access control systems allows to automate entries and exits of the parking facilities. When drivers arrive at the parking premises, their vehicle’s license plate is recognized and registered and the barrier rises up automatically. This ticketless feature is widely used for car park monthly subscribers because it grants them a “hands free” access; bear in mind that this can also be used when creating registration lists for employees or regular customers with benefits.

If prepaid ticketless operation is not available, another physical interaction will be held at the payment stations. Don’t worry though, there are options that will allow you to minimize this such as using QR codes that make paper tickets readable at short distance away from the payment device. QR codes combined with the fact that most of the patrons will likely use a credit card will reduce the amount of user input.

Quercus Technologies ACS

To facilitate the previous process even more, some banks have taken the temporary measure to increase the contactless payment security limits. This will ensure that most of your daily parking fees can be paid without entering PIN and therefore making the payment a zero contact process.

Otherwise, if you want to avoid cash or credit payments altogether you can opt to integrate the LPR cameras and Access Control System into a mobile app. By using a mobile platform parkers will use their devices to pay using their licence plate or a pre-registered account as identification. This way they will be paying without touching any local device.

Last but not least, when users drive to the exit Quercus Technologies’ units will once more read their plate number, allowing them to verify if the user has already paid in order to automatically let them out. Every contact point can be easily removed with the combination of License Plate Recognition cameras and an adequate Parking Access and Revenue Control set-up.

LPR technology is not a one day work, it requires several years of experience.

Quercus Technologies has been developing LPR cameras for more than two decades now. SmartLPR Access is the latest generation of License Plate Recognition units designed to contribute to security and smart mobility in car parks and access controls. A single device integrates all what is needed to provide the highest reliability worldwide.

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Marketing Department

Member News: SKIDATA Completes Installation of Cutting-Edge Parking Technology Suite at Delta Hotels by Marriott Dallas Allen & Watters Creek Convention Center, A BENCHMARK® Resorts & Hotels Property

ALLEN, TEXAS – (March 23, 2020) — SKIDATA announced today that it has completed the installation of a cutting-edge parking technology suite at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Dallas Allen & Watters Creek Convention Center. The parking technology suite includes advanced Parking Access and Revenue Control (PARCS) equipment, pay-on-foot kiosks, and an integrated validation system. The system is also paired with Marriott’s PMS system to provide full room key access. The new parking suite is designed to improve the parking experience for hotel guests and visitors.

“We are excited to be working with Delta Hotels by Marriott Dallas Allen & Watters Creek Convention Center, along with BENCHMARK®, A Global Hospitality Company, to improve the parking experience at the hotel,” said Steve Menrath, senior manager of SKIDATA in Dallas. “The hotel hosts many events and it’s also a popular property among visitors to the Dallas area. This new technology suite will dramatically improve the parking experience for hotel guests and visitors.”

SKIDATA is a long-time parking technology partner of Delta Hotels by Marriott and Benchmark Global. The company was also a sponsor of the Delta Allen Craft Beer & Spirits Festival, which was held on February 29, 2020 to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star – Greater Dallas.

About Delta Hotels by Marriott Dallas Allen & Watters Creek Convention Center:

Just 30 minutes from downtown Dallas, Delta Hotels by Marriott Dallas Allen & Watters Creek Convention Center delivers a fresh, new lodging experience with a taste of southern hospitality. The property boasts 300 spacious guest rooms and suites featuring amenities appreciated by frequent travelers such as lush linens, productive work spaces, complimentary bottled water and fast, free WiFi. Also featured on the property are 23 state-of-the-art conference meeting facilities, two hospitality suites, and 15 suites in all, offering a remarkable 79,000 square feet of meeting and convention space that can accommodate gatherings of any size.  Enjoy inventive and expertly crafted cocktails at Canyon Bar & Grill or grab a quick bite on-the-go from Provisions, the property’s 24/7 grab and go pantry. The Delta Hotels by Marriott Dallas Allen & Watters Creek Convention Center is the ideal destination for business or personal travel as guests are welcome to revel in the ample parking, full-service fitness center, expansive outdoor patio and pool, high-end shopping and dining at Watters Creek shopping center just steps away, or just simple relaxation in the well-appointed rooms.

Visit the hotel online here

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SKIDATA is an international leader in the field of access solutions and their management. Almost 10,000 SKIDATA installations worldwide in ski resorts, stadiums, airports, shopping malls, cities, spa & wellness facilities, trade fairs and amusement parks provide secure and reliable access and entry control for people and vehicles. SKIDATA places great value in providing solutions that are intuitive, easy to use, and secure. The integrated concepts of SKIDATA solutions help clients optimize performance and maximize profits. SKIDATA Group (www.skidata.com) belongs to the publicly traded Swiss Kudelski Group (www.nagra.com), a leading provider of digital security solutions.

Bill Smith Smith Phillips
(603) 491-4280

Member News: Park Assist’s M4 System is Changing the Parking Game

Park Assist Cache Creek News ReleaseNEW YORK, NY – March 17, 2020 – Park Assist® was selected by Cache Creek Casino to install its M4 Parking Guidance System (PGS) in Brooks, California. The Casino, owned and operated by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, is a world class resort located about 1.5 hours from San Francisco. With an 18-hole championship golf course, day spa, casino, and nine restaurants, it is an extremely popular destination. On a typical weekend the parking garage is often at maximum capacity and during special events it is overflowing, but the addition of Park Assist’s camera based M4 smart-sensor PGS provides an exceptional solution. By optimizing occupancy and increasing operational efficiency of the garage, Park Assist’s PGS ensures that every customer will have a positive parking experience.

After vetting multiple PGS vendors, Cache Creek Casino selected Park Assist based on its advanced camera technology, as well as its menu of select API add-ons. Some of these add-ons include Park SurveillanceTM, Park AlertsTM, and Park FinderTM, which Cache Creek Casino elected to incorporate in their new system.

The installation, equipped with Park Assist’s M4 PGS, uses color-coded smart sensors to guide drivers through the facility to vacant spaces, reducing traffic congestion, confusion, and parking search times. Upon returning to the garage, parkers can use the Find Your CarTM feature in Park Finder to easily locate their vehicles. As they enter all or part of their license plate number into the Park Assist mobile app, the system uses license plate recognition (LPR) technology to pinpoint the car and direct the guest to its exact location within the garage.

Additionally, Park Assist’s Park Alerts and Park Surveillance add-ons will provide an extra level of security to Cache Creek Casino. The Park Alerts software extension allows parking management to set automated rules and alerts that help staff manage awareness and control of activity within the garage, while Park Assist’s  Park Surveillance module enables the M4 sensors to capture streaming video whenever motion is detected in or around parking bays. Because the M4 cameras have unobstructed views of each space, they can successfully capture any and all action in the garage, serving as a proven deterrent of theft and other criminal activities.

“Cache Creek Casino is one of the first casino’s in Northern California to install a PGS and Park Assist is extremely excited to equip them with the right solution to fit all of their needs. At such a highly-visited destination we are so pleased to be able to upgrade the customer parking experience while also increasing efficiency and security of the garage itself.” Said Will Cai, Regional Account Manager.

The garage installation was completed in January of 2020 and the site is now live and ready to improve parking for all visitors.

ABOUT PARK ASSIST Park Assist® is the parking industry’s leading camera-focused innovator with the most camera-based parking guidance installations in the world. Park Assist’s patented technology helps customers effortlessly find parking spaces in real-time as well as find their cars when they return. Simultaneously, we provide parking operators with tools to improve customer satisfaction, create new revenue opportunities, realize greater operational control, capture parker analytics and expand CCTV capabilities. Park Assist is part of the TKH Group (Euronext: TWEKA), a $1.8 billion publicly traded company headquartered in the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.parkassist.com

Katie Rodenhiser
Global Marketing Manager

Image Credit: Cache Creek Casino

Member News: EDC Corporation introduces e-ticketing to its AIMS Parking Management Solutions Suite

New function allows parking enforcement officers to issue citations electronically from within the Parking Office in conjunction with AIMS LPR system; benefits include speedier and safer ticketing, increased fee collection, and better documentation of violations.

AIMS E-ticket image
Syracuse, NY – EDC Corporation, the Syracuse, NY-based developer of the . E-ticketing enables parking staff to issue citations within the parking office, using the violator’s license plate as the primary credential. Benefits include enhanced safety for personnel, higher productivity, lower operational costs, faster collection of fees, and a more robust and automated documentation trail, which includes photographic, time-stamp and GPS ‘proof’ of the violation.

“Moving from physical to virtual ticketing is the next, logical step in the evolution of the parking industry,” said Ellen Genung, Vice President of EDC Corporation. “We’ve seen this same progression in other segments of the transportation industry, beginning with Red Light Cameras as early as 1993 – to the current rush in the U.S. to migrate from staffed, paper-ticket toll booths to LPR cameras and pay-by-plate tolls, after longstanding use of that technology in Europe.” According to Genung, e-Ticketing is likewise a logical enhancement to and investment in EDC’s suite of parking software modules.

EDC customer Derrick Davis, who is Director of Parking and Transportation for Georgia Southern University, has seen excellent results from the AIMS e-Ticketing software, which was rolled out to select customers as a beta this past fall.

“Building on our use of AIMS LPR and virtual permitting, we implemented the AIMS eTicket module in the fall of 2019,” said Davis. “We’ve been able to issue 54% more citations, are no longer spending a quarter of our time looking for vehicles to tag with a windshield envelope, and we’re providing violators with far more information with each citation. Even better, our web payments have increased around 10%, which saves hands-on processing time. And, if we cite an unregistered vehicle, the license plate RO Lookup has enabled us to collect over $26K of previously unpaid citations and link over half of the unregistered vehicles to students.” Davis adds his department has also seen a drop-off in parking ticket-related office traffic. “This has been a real game changer for our operation.”

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                                                                                                                                                       AIMS e-Ticketing – PG 2


The AIMS system provides parking enforcement personnel with digital tools for virtual enforcement. LPR-equipped vehicles and Fixed LPR cameras continually patrol and monitor parking lots, garages and streets, tracking vehicles and easily triggering needed citations in real-time.  On the backend of the system, office personnel review the LPR data and issue citations from the safety of their office via email or, if desired, through AIMS’ print-and-mail ticket management system.



  • Increased officer safety – The officer continues to work in the LPR vehicle, checking plates without having to exit and interact with disgruntled customers.
  • Increased efficiency and citation issuance rates – Mobile and fixed LPR cameras do the work in the field, enabling office staff to efficiently review hits and issue citations without the enforcement officer having to walk from vehicle to vehicle, across campus, or across city blocks.
  • Fixed cameras can capture violators without an LPR vehicle patrolling a lot or parking structure to physically place the citation on the windshield
  • Reduced costs in enforcement staff and parking violation stock
  • Increased accuracy as the office has more time to review data before completing the citation
  • More information can be sent with the citation than can be printed on a ticket. This information can include images from the LPR cameras and the GPS location of the ticket.
  • AIMS generates and delivers the ticket automatically

Those interested in learning more about the new AIMS e-Ticketing Module from EDC – and the broader AIMS Parking Solutions suite supporting the app — are encouraged to visit the company’s website and/or schedule a live demo.



EDC Corporation is a leading provider of parking systems for municipalities, higher education, and other industry segments. For 25 years, our flagship software suite — AIMS Parking Management Software – has
been implemented, innovating, and hard at work at over 180 parking operations across North America. Proven, reliable, easy-to-use, fully integrated, scalable and fully supported by a customer-focused team of in-house software developers, seasoned field/sales professionals, and knowledgeable implementation experts

AIMS Parking Management Software supports: ticket management; permit management; mobile enforcement; LPR (license plate recognition); event management; and, new in 2019, a consumer-facing mobile payment app.

In acknowledgment of the significant challenges facing operators reliant on parking management systems that have fallen short of expectations, EDC also offers a proprietary LaneChange™, step-by-step process for migration to and implementation of its platform.

To learn more about AIMS Parking Management Solutions — or schedule a live demo for a parking management or facilities team — visit www.aimsparking.com. The company is also on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Member News: FlashParking Introduces Revolutionary Hardware-as-a-Service Purchasing Model with No Long-Term Contracts and a Future-ready Operating System

Austin, TX (March 5, 2020) – Today, parking asset owners and operators have a chance to leap into the 21st century and get ahead of the technology curve with the launch of FlashParking’s Hardware-as-a-Service, a purchasing model with no long-term contracts. FlashParking is minimizing risk exposure for asset owners and operators that ensure today’s investment provides an efficient, intelligent, and future-ready platform.

FlashParking’s HaaS model wraps 21st century parking technology, business intelligence, and a lifetime equipment warranty into a predictable monthly payment. This gives parking professionals an alternative to the hamster wheel equipment replacement cycle of seven to ten years. As asset owners and operators subscribed to FlashParking’s HaaS model discover new opportunities to diversify revenue and expand into new locations or markets, they can confidently grow their investment with upgrades and expansions without taking on more risk. Mandatory technology updates needed to maintain functionality and PCI compliance are included at no additional cost — a market first.

“We are at an inflection point in the market,” said Alan Poulton, EVP of Sales of FlashParking. “Everyone recognizes that customers, regardless of the industry, want technology delivered as a service. In parking, that means a solution free of the headaches of burdensome PCI compliance and unpredictable upgrades, like the Windows 7 end-of-life obsolescence. The launch of FlashParking’s Hardware-as-a-Service purchasing model delivers exactly that: a solution free of financial risk and antiquated, difficult-to-maintain technology. HaaS is a complete, future-ready, extensible solution with software updates and payment security managed on the customer’s behalf.”

By offering a standard package of hardware, software, maintenance, installation and other support services on a month-to-month pricing structure, FlashParking is creating tremendous value for asset owners and operators. Shifting these costs to an operating expense rather than a capital expense gives owners and operators the opportunity to align entire portfolios, standardize on a single operating system, and revamp static parking garages to become flexible mobility assets for success in the future.At a time when consumer demands are rapidly evolving and the capital needed to meet those demands is scarce, FlashParking’s Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) purchasing model is eliminating risk, tearing down financial barriers, and opening the door to the future.

To learn more, read our latest blog: “No Risk. All Reward. Is Hardware-as-a-Service Right for You?

About FlashParking
FlashParking is the leader in parking technology powering the transformation from isolated parking assets to connected mobility hubs with the first Mobility Hub Operating System. Once underutilized parking assets are optimizing operations, gaining real-time visibility, and connecting to the smart city through FlashParking’s suite of enhanced 21st century parking, a robust business intelligence engine, and partnerships in the logistics, transportation, and mobility ecosystems. In an age when we have more ways of getting around than ever before, FlashParking is creating value at every turn of the modern mobility experience and opening opportunities in present and future markets. Visit FlashParking.com to learn more.

Media Contact
Michelle Madonna, Carve Communications for FlashParking
michelle@carvecomms.com; (305) 458-9085

Member News: Parker Technology Partners with Greenleaf Hospitality Group in Kalamazoo, MI

Indianapolis, IN—Parker Technology, the leading provider of parking customer service, has successfully been providing 24/7 customer support for the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Kalamazoo, MI since September. With Parker’s customer service platform, guests and visitors to the Radisson Plaza Hotel can immediately reach a Parker Technology customer service representative if they experience problems when entering or exiting the hotel garage. Parker’s call buttons are integrated into all of the hotel’s parking payment kiosks to provide instant access to their cloud-based platform, and thus a connection to their customer service reps. The Radisson Plaza Hotel is owned and operated by Greenleaf Hospitality Group.

“Greenleaf Hospitality Group (GHG) was excited to identify Parker Technology as a solution provider within the Parking Access and Revenue Control (PARC) world that focused on the Customer Care challenges that a parking operation can present to both our parking guests and our PARC operator team. Due to the breadth of clients Parker Technology partners with, we are leaning on them as experts in this space to collaborate with us to provide the best solutions for our parking guests. It is not a one and done conversation either, we are routinely monitoring Parker’s customer service reps’ recorded interactions with our parking guests to identify ways to continuously improve the experience for everyone involved. We are learning and discussing what works and what does not, as well as how to prevent certain types of issues from arising in the future. Parker Technology listens to us as a partner as we tackle the opportunities together; they are truly an extension of our own customer service team. We are excited to see their business model grow and be part of the story to develop a new standard of PARC related Customer Care through ongoing continuous improvement, engagement and passion for the customer!” – GHG’s PARC Experience Task Force

In today’s increasingly automated parking industry, customer support platforms often provide the sole connection between parkers and trained professionals who can help solve common problems related to paying for parking or entering and exiting garages. Each year, parkers across the US reach out to customer service professionals via call buttons at least 85 million times. This statistic is extrapolated from the Parker Technology platform, which also records and analyzes data about each call to determine which issues are most common and help hotel administrators better manage their parking resources.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Greenleaf Hospitality Group to offer customer support to the Radisson Plaza Hotel’s parking patrons and guests,” said Brian Wolff, president and CEO of Parker Technology. “A hotel’s parking garage is often the first experience a guest has at a hotel, and our parking customer service platform can have a vital role in guest satisfaction. We are proud that Greenleaf Hospitality Group has entrusted their guests’ satisfaction to us.”


Greenleaf Hospitality Group (GHG) is comprised of Radisson Plaza Hotel, Wings Event Center, Wings West and several outlets located in each. GHG aims to make a positive impact on the greater Kalamazoo community by providing premier establishments of dining, hospitality, and entertainment. Learn more at greenleafhospitalitygroup.com.

Parker Technology is a fast-growth tech-led software and services company that provides parking facilities with a premium customer experience, by helping resolve issues for parking guests when they fail in the face of automated payment kiosks. Parker’s patient, well-informed customer service specialists answer and resolve intercom “help” calls 24/7, and boasts being the only company in the parking industry that can deliver this service with face-to-face, two-way video communication. Putting this personal, human touch back into an automated situation enhances the customer experience, provides metrics to improve operational efficiencies, increases successful payments and outcomes and ensures customer service calls are answered. Learn more at www.helpmeparker.com.

Member News: ARRIVE adds innovative smart parking recommendation engine to its industry-leading enterprise parking platform, combining on-and of-street parking in a single solution

CHICAGO, March 5, 2020 — Finding parking is now easier than ever. Arrive announced today that it has added industry-first features to its enterprise parking platform that will radically transform the way we park: a smart parking recommendation engine that suggests the best on-street or off-street place to park and transacts seamlessly using your voice, in-dash system or mobile phone.

Arrive sPARK logo Arrive becomes the only parking technology company to integrate a variety of data sources into its platform, including navigation details, traffic, weather, on-street parking prices and availability, dynamically priced off-street parking, and deliver it through a cutting edge recommendation engine for customers.  Through the acquisition of sPARK Parking Technologies and their industry-leading technology, Arrive reinforces its position as the leading provider of transactional parking solutions for connected cars, autonomous vehicles, car share companies, and more, and provides drivers an unparalleled parking experience.

“Imagine having a personal assistant who helps you choose and navigate to the best spot while considering price, availability and parking restrictions from among the myriad options in real time. We are making that a reality today,” said Yona Shtern, CEO of Arrive. “We’re thrilled to be the first to offer customers and partners a single source for all types of parking and a profoundly better experience finding, paying for, and navigating to the best space possible in cities across North America. This is a game-changer — not only for our company but for our partners building smart cities and experiences in vehicles that will shape the future of mobility.”

When a driver selects a destination via an Arrive-powered mobile app or website or asks Alexa or other voice platforms to find a parking space near their desired destination, Arrive’s platform will recommend the single best space available in real-time by comparing on-street metered spaces with unmetered blocks and off-street options in a lot or garage. The recommendation provided will vary depending on the day of the week, time of day, how many people are parked in the area, other events happening and more.

Arrive’s recommendation engine will launch first through the ParkWhiz Alexa skill and on the company’s apps in select cities this summer before expanding nationwide. While Arrive had been building and testing a recommendation engine for some time, it is acquiring sPARK, a Tel Aviv-based technology company, to help scale the engine to multiple cities more quickly. On-street parking pricing and availability will be provided by a network of partner companies and providers.

“We’re delighted to be joining Arrive in its mission to transform mobility through its smart, connected parking services. Our team has been focused on making parking easier to find for a long time and we believe our technology and experience will further accelerate Arrive’s evolution into the backbone of urban mobility,” says Zohar Bali, CEO of sPARK.

sPARK employees will join Arrive’s existing team in Tel Aviv at the company’s Global Mobility Lab. Together, they will focus on building and enhancing technology that facilitates the last mile of mobility, including recently launched connectivity solutions that will enable frictionless garage entry and exit at tens of thousands of lots across North America.

About Arrive

Arrive powers the last mile of mobility through smart parking solutions. It offers the only seamless mobility experience that predicts and recommends the best parking solution for any journey. Arrive powers smart parking and other connected mobility services through apps, websites, voice platforms, and in-dash integrations to hundreds of clients including smart cities, automakers, fleets, venues, navigation and voice platforms, as well as to its own ParkWhiz and BestParking consumer brands. For more information, visit www.Arrive.com.

About sPARK

sPARK was founded in 2012 by Eran Balter and Zohar Bali in Israel to address a widespread urban problem: lack of parking in city centers. To address the problem, the company developed a recommendation engine that allows people to easily and efficiently find an ideal parking spot in cities. sPARK’s mobile app, Polly the Parking Fairy, and SDK utilize urban data, statistics, and real-time information help drivers reduce the time they spend looking for parking, saving them time and money

Member News: Access Professional Systems Chosen to Install State-Of-The-Art Parking Technology at Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa

Palm Desert, CA (Feb 24th, 2020)— Access Professional Systems (APS) announced today that it has been selected by The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa in Palm Desert, California to install an advanced TIBA parking technology suite. The equipment will be paired with Westin’s Opera PMS interface to provide an exceptional and seamless parking experience for hotel guests. The project is part of the hotel’s initiative to help provide a better, more secure guest parking experience.

“We’re extremely excited and honored to have been chosen by the Westin family for their inaugural transition to automated parking controls,” said Chris Dix, Director of Business Development for Access Professional Systems. “With several large annual events taking place just down the road, the hotel had been wanting to make this move for many years in order to secure their parking inventory. We’re extremely pleased to be a part of these important improvements.”

The Westin Mission Hills parking technology suite will include six lanes of TIBA revenue control equipment. The parking technology suite will be fully integrated with Westin’s Opera PMS, which will permit guests to use their room keys to enter and exit the parking facility. The state-of-the-art parking technology suite will provide an extraordinarily convenient parking experience for hotel guests.

About Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort

Located just six miles from the Palm Springs International Airport, the resort features 65,000 square feet of indoor event space and 26,000 square feet of outdoor event space, with audiovisual, catering and event-planning specialists on-site. Set on 360 acres, the Palm Springs resort showcases Mediterranean architecture, picturesque mountain views, and a secluded natural desert landscape. Listed as one of Golf Digest’s® Top 75 Golf Resorts in North America, the hotel features two championship Troon golf courses, The Pete Dye course and the Gary Player Signature Course. Resort amenities include family programs and kid’s activities, three pools with a 60-foot slide, the Spa at Mission Hills and a Fitness Studio. There’s also an array of unique dining experiences including Italian, American and California cuisine.

About Access Professional Systems

San Diego-based Access Professional Systems (APS) is a leading provider of parking technology. Founded in 1977 by Russell L. Scheppmann, APS has been providing comprehensive gate automation, access and revenue control, video surveillance, and parking guidance solutions for over 40 years. APS can be found online at https://www.accessprofessionals.com.

The Internet of Things and the Future of Parking


YOU MAY NOT HAVE HEARD OF THE INTERNET OF THINGS (IOT), or perhaps you’ve heard of The Internet of things Articleit but aren’t really sure what it is. If you aren’t familiar with the IoT, it’s time to acquaint yourself with the topic because chances are it’s already affecting your day-to-day life.

The IoT is the system of internet connectivity through which technologies and the devices we use in our everyday lives are connected online so they can interact with each other and be controlled remotely. So, if you use a smart thermostat or web-enabled security systems or remotely controllable doors (just to name a few common devices), you are already using the IoT. Go ahead, pat yourself on the back because you are officially an IoT trendsetter.

The IoT is already transforming our person­al lives, and that lifestyle trend is accelerating dramatically. It won’t be long before we are all constantly in contact with our homes, vehicles, and other elements of our lives (sadly, this in­cludes the office).

Taking Control of Mobility

The IoT is having just as significant an effect on the parking industry. Many of the most im­portant technologies that have been introduced in recent years offer internet connectivity. As a result, they allow parkers, and parking owners and operators as well, to instantly access parking resources from any computer or smartphone.

“Online connectivity has become very important in recent years,” says Dan Kupferman, CAPP, director of car park management systems for Walker Consultants. “Many new connected technologies have been intro­duced to make the parking experience much more con­venient for drivers and more manageable for owners and operators.”

The most recognizable IoT-enabled parking tech­nology is the mobile payment app. During the past decade, a number of apps have been introduced that permit drivers to pay for parking on their smartphones from the convenience of their vehicles.

“Look at how technology impacts your day-to-day life,” says Roamy Valera, CAPP, CEO, Canada and U.S. for PayByPhone. “We already manage so many aspects of our day-to-day lives with our smartphones, iPads, and laptops. When it comes to mobility, parking pro­vides the introduction to the IoT.

“The IoT and mobility start with you and your phone,” continues Valera. “Think about how much better the parking expe­rience is when we apply these concepts to parking. Drivers can pay with their phones, keep track of how much time is left on the parking session, and add more time remotely. When you can manage your park­ing session with your personal phone you can take con­trol over your journey.”

The IoT’s impact on parking can even begin before the driver leaves the house. Parking pre-booking plat­forms allow drivers to reserve a space before they set out on the journey. Rather than having to search for a space when they arrive at their destination, drivers can just go online, input a payment credential, and reserve a space. Some parking facilities even let you reserve specific spaces online.

“For many people, parking can be a stressful expe­rience,” says Theresa Hughes, CEO of Chauntry, Ltd. “That stress can be significantly reduced by providing access to a parking space before the driver even leaves home. Garages offering pre-booking technology essen­tially allow patrons to connect with them from home, ensuring they’ll have a place to park when they arrive. Pre-booking platforms also allow them to enter their payment credentials in advance, which means they don’t have to fumble for a credit card or cash when it’s time to leave.”

When you can reserve parking and manage your parking session in advance, you have another way to take control of your mobility.

Kupferman agrees that pre-booking is a vital ele­ment of IoT-driven parking: “Owners are starting to sell parking like entertainment venues sell tickets. That trend will only grow in the coming years.”

IoT Benefits Owners and Operators Too

As many industries have already discovered, the IoT can offer extraordinary benefits to companies as well. That includes parking owners and operators. Connec­tivity provides tremendous management advantages that benefit owners and operators, as well as patrons.

“When parking equipment is always connected it’s possible to complete management tasks from any­where, anytime,” says Waldemar Batistella, national prod­uct portfolio manager, SKI­DATA. “For instance, owners and operators can manage their contract parkers online from anywhere. They can also view detailed data on their operation, as well as the status of equipment. Some owners even use connected technol­ogy to remotely manage their garages. Today, owners and operators don’t need to have a physical presence with­in the parking facility to keep it operating smoothly.”

Selim Esen, CEO and chief technology officer of AVPM, says the remote monitoring benefits of the IoT are significant. “The IoT allows owners to constantly monitor the performance of their equipment,” he says. “PARCS and other types of parking equipment often include monitoring software that allows clients to con­trol their parking assets wherever they are, from nearly anywhere. They can manage their machines, processes, and systems to control costs and help increase safety and improve customer satisfaction.”

According to Esen, by monitoring performance in real time, not only can owners and operators identify problems when they happen, but they can also often anticipate issues before they occur. That’s because sys­tem breakdowns will often be proceeded by impaired performance; when that happens, remote fixes can often be implemented.

Gorm Tuxen, president of parking software provid­er IPsens, agrees. And he says that when equipment doesn’t come with its own monitoring software, inde­pendent monitoring technology can handle the task.

“Independent maintenance software allows streamlining of the preventive system maintenance procedures, allowing problems to be fixed remotely in many cases before dispatching expensive field ser­vice personnel,” Tuxen says. “It also provides an on­going history of the performance of the hardware over time. It’s sort of like having an independent monitor on hand to make sure everything is working properly.”

Parking guidance is also an important part of the IoT. Sensors play a leading role in IoT connectivity in other industries and it stands to reason that they would play just as vital a role for the parking industry.

“Parking guidance technology provides constant two-way communication,” says Jake Bezzant, CEO of Parking Sense. “The sensors tell drivers where they can find available parking and at the same time, com­municate with owners and operators, telling them which spots are full and when, and providing data about how long parkers occupy their spaces and which spaces are most popular within a structure.”

The benefits of this two-way communication are obvious. Drivers benefit by gaining convenient access to available parking while owners collect real-time data they can use to better manage their parking facili­ties and make informed planning decisions.

Connected parking technology is even making its way to America’s highways. Departments of transpor­tation (DOT) in Florida and across the Midwest re­cently implemented systems combining parking guid­ance sensors and specialized software to help fatigued truck drivers find the closest available truck stop or rest area parking space.

The programs, which are managed separately by each state’s DOT, use parking sensors installed in truck stop and rest area parking spaces to monitor individual space availability and communicate that information to truck drivers via roadside signage and a specialized smartphone app. The systems are man­aged by a custom-made open source software platform with an application programming interface (API) that connects the system with the apps drivers use to find available parking, allowing drivers to connect with the system no matter where they are. The API can integrate to any network within a state’s system and is able to provide real-time data about where parking is available for tired drivers. All drivers have to do is open the app on their phones and the technology does the rest.

“These programs are already saving lives, and they will become standard equipment on America’s high­ways over the next 10 years,” Tuxen says. “The tech­nology allows truck drivers to constantly be connected with servers that can guide them to a safe resting place. Ultimately, as smart cities mature, the same technol­ogy will be in our cars and will direct us to the closest available parking space to our downtown destinations.”

Looking to the Future

As important as the IoT already is to our daily lives, it’s still in its infancy. As new parking technologies contin­ue to be introduced and added to the grid of connected technologies, garages and vehicles will become more dependent upon them.

“Some of the advances we’ll come to rely on in the future are already in place,” Bezzant says. “For in­stance, many parking guidance sensors have Bluetooth chips to facilitate payment. In the future, this same Bluetooth technology will be able to manage reserved parking areas for autonomous vehicles, guide the vehi­cles to open spaces, and manage the transaction.”

According to Kupferman, when it comes to the IoT, the future is limited only by the limits of our imaginations.

“Connectivity offers so much promise for the future of parking, mobility, and transportation,” Kupferman says. “When all these connected technologies are tied together, we can build parking transportation suites that ensure a seamless parking experience while con­stantly collecting incredible amounts of data that can be used to manage parking facilities better.

“And more amazing breakthroughs are right around the corner,” he continues. “For instance, roadways can now be built with materials that include sensors and computer chips that can collect immense amounts of data about vehicle and pedestrian patterns. There’s even a connected glass road covering that, in addition to recording data, can permit lanes to be realigned in response to utilization patterns identified by its sen­sors. When it comes to IoT and mobility, the future really is unlimited.”

Read the article here.

BILL SMITH, APR, is principal of Smith-Phillips Strategic Communications and contributing editor of Parking & Mobility. He can be reached at bsmith@smith-phillips.com or 603.491.4280.

Thoughtful Management: A county’s division of parking management shines in the close-in suburbs of Washington, D.C.

By Sindhu Rao

IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD., the Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) Division of Parking Management has served the parking lot districts (PLDs) of the Washington, D.C. suburbs of Bethesda, Silver Spring, and Wheaton for more than 60 years with thoughtful parking management techniques.

Charged with addressing on- and off-street parking needs while supporting economic and transportation-­related initiatives, the PLDs con­tinually implement new parking management and operations solutions to enhance the competitiveness of these traditional and urban environments. The PLDs receive no direct government subsidies and are responsible for generating sufficient revenue to cover capital, operational, and debt service costs. Additionally, a certain amount of PLD funds are transferred to the county for the promotion of tran­sit benefits, streetscape and lighting improvements, and other public amenities.

Organizational Structure

MCDOT’s Division of Parking Management is respon­sible for the administration of the county’s three PLDs. The division’s mission is to promote economic growth by offering sufficient parking, encouraging efficient transportation mode choice through a careful balance of parking rates and supply, and developing parking management strategies to maximize the usage of avail­able parking.

The PLDs are a single administrative entity, giving it full control over on- and off-street parking manage­ment, regulatory and compliance coordination, and customer service. As an enterprise fund, the PLDs must generate enough revenue on an ongoing basis to not only be self-sufficient, but also to transfer millions of dollars to transit funds, urban districts, and the county’s general reserve every year.

The division governance structure is organized into four sectional units: administrative management, financial management, engineering and capital project management, and parking operations. Their roles are divvied up in the following ways:

  • The administrative management section manages the planning, information technology, and customer and administration services staff to optimize organi­zational effectiveness. The section plans for the stra­tegic redevelopment of PLD real property. The plan­ning team leads the division’s innovation initiatives and plans for growth in the PLDs through short-term demand studies and long-term strategic plans.
  • The financial management section has overall responsibility for recording and reconciling all revenue, the management of the encumbrance and invoice payment process, the revenue bond debt, and budget. In 2018, the section was responsible for man­aging program-wide revenue of nearly $38 million.
  • The engineering and capital project management sec­tion provides engineering and project management for the design and construction of new parking facilities. The program ensures the preservation and structural integrity of existing parking facilities. It also provides services such as snow and ice removal; housekeeping services; equipment maintenance for elevators, elec­trical, and HVAC systems; and groundskeeping care.
  • The parking operations section is responsible for collecting and processing parking revenue from the many methods of payment offered by the division. It is also responsible for managing the parking citation database, providing onsite security, and overseeing the appeal process for parking tickets.

Biennial Customer Service Survey

As bounded by Montgomery County government bylaws, the Division of Parking Management is required to conduct a park­ing customer service survey every two years to gauge custom­ers’ perception of the public parking system’s performance. The division hires a consultant to administer the survey, ensuring it is completed in an independent manner. The survey targets two subgroups—permit holders and visitors—and offers those customers an opportunity to provide feedback on a wide range of parking issues. The survey results are used by MCDOT staff to measure the division’s performance. In the most recent sur­vey, visitors and permit holders gave their highest marks to the conditions of facilities, safety and security, and convenience to destination. Overall satisfaction with the PLD’s facilities was high, with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5.

Recent Accomplishments and Initiatives

The county recently became one of the first jurisdictions in the U.S. to partner with two mobile payment vendors. The two-vendor mobile payment system was phased in during six months and is now available at more than 10,000 meters throughout the county. By offering two choices, MCDOT is providing greater flexibility and convenience for parkers.

Another technology adopted by the division is a digital parking guidance system, which offers ­real-time message signs outside and inside garages to direct people to available parking. This information is published to websites and mobile applica­tions as well. The division’s electric vehicle (EV) infrastruc­ture overview plan addresses the need and pathway for install­ing electric-vehicle charging stations in PLD facilities. To date, 16 charging stations that can serve 32 vehicles system-wide are operational with plans to install additional stations.

Another positive change the division made in its parking operations is an upgraded lighting system in each of the di­vision’s 20 garages. The new high-output lamps are not only brighter but have saved the division around 20 percent in ­energy-related expenditures per facility.

Finally, with its partnership with Zipcar, the division has been a leader in promoting the usage of car-share. The division has more than 30 car-share spaces in a mixture of lots, garag­es, and on-street. To promote the visibility of car-share and encourage MCDOT’s alternative transportation objectives, the division has located the on-street car-share spaces near vibrant retail centers.

Additional initiatives implemented recently include a new residential permit program using mobile license plate rec­ognition (LPR) enforcement, modernization of four parking facilities from single-space parking meters to master meters, a variable parking policy program, a dynamic parking map embedded on the county’s website, the county’s first “cy­cle-track” bike lane, and revamping the Ad Valorem tax pro­gram that helps fund the PLDs.

To support the general tax base and improve pedestrian experience, the division has repositioned land by developing three surface lots into mixed-use centers. As part of a pub­lic-private partnership, the division transformed an existing 200-space parking lot in downtown Bethesda into a 950-space subterranean parking garage with first-floor retail and a multi-story residential building above. The publicly owned and operated garage was needed to release pressure off a nearby garage that frequently operated at capacity during peak hours. The project included wider sidewalk space, a pedestrian cut-through connection to an adjacent trail, a public plaza, restau­rants, and the addition of hundreds of residents within a short walk of a transit station.

Two other public-private partnerships are currently un­derway. In Wheaton, the division is redeveloping a 160-space parking lot; by 2020, it will have been converted into a 400-space underground garage with first floor retail, a town square, and a 310,000-square-foot office building above. And in Silver Spring, construction recently wrapped up on a 162-space underground public parking garage with a residential tower above and associated plaza on what was formerly the site of a county parking lot. Beyond these projects, the division is in var­ious planning stages for the future redevelopment of additional PLD lots and garages.

Dual Vendor Mobile Payment System

Mobile payment technology is a win-win. For customers, it is a convenient cashless solution. For parking management agencies, it requires little financial investment or continual operating costs. As the second largest jurisdiction in the Washington met­ropolitan area, Montgomery County has a significant demand for parking from employees, residents, and visitors in its urban areas. In 2010, the division introduced a mobile payment solution to its payment ecosystem. The division partnered with MobileNOW, and success followed immediately with high adoption rates. To­day, the program processes more than 150,000 parking sessions monthly and has generated over $30 million in revenue since its inception.

To build on this success, the county explored solutions to fur­ther increase mobile payment use for several reasons. First, mo­bile payment systems have minimal infrastructure requirements and limited ongoing operational costs and lack credit card pro­cessing fees. Benefits flow to customers too, including the ability to conveniently pay for parking, receive a text message when parking time is close to expiring, extend the parking session remotely, pay for only time parked, and track personal parking activity.

Second, the county serves a cross-jurisdictional consumer base. A substantial portion of MCDOT’s parking facility users come from outside the county. Consequently, these parkers are accustomed to using the mobile payment provider offered in their hometown, which may differ from Montgomery County’s. Wanting to avoid balancing multiple payment accounts, there’s a segment of the customer base that’s disinclined to register with the county’s vendor’s app. Therefore, to mitigate the downside of parkers eschewing mobile payment due to unfamiliarity with the county’s vendor, improving mobile payment access became a division priority.

Ultimately, the county decided to become one of the country’s first jurisdictions to provide customers with a choice of mobile payment vendors. The county wanted to capitalize on the op­portunity to nudge customers in the mobile payment direction. The county issued a request for proposals in early 2017, and following the bidding process partnered with its existing vendor, MobileNOW, and a new vendor with a well-estab­lished presence in the Washington, D.C.-area market, ParkMobile.

Prior to the rollout, a few issues needed resolution. For example, the county needed to get both vendors on board with a sign package. To keep sign clutter to a minimum, it was apparent that both vendors’ branding would have to be integrated into the same signs. The county spearheaded the design process, contracted with a local graphic designer, and developed instruc­tional signage to be installed in visibly prominent loca­tions within garages. Both vendors provided feedback during the design process and approved final drawings. The result was a cohesive sign package that reduced visual clutter in parking facilities.

Another issue impeding a smooth deployment was enforcement complications. The county was challenged with integrating both vendors’ parking en­forcement technology into a single software platform. MCDOT collaborated with the vendors’ IT teams for workable solutions, and the county’s enforcement of­ficers are now able to view transaction data from each vendor on their handheld devices in real time.

Decals on meters inform customers of the mobile payment option. However, relinquishing space on me­ter heads exclusively to vendor decals could have nega­tive future consequences if either vendor folded or did not meet contractual obligations. To work around this potential problem, the county configured a consistent meter layout with four distinct decals:

  • MobileNOW’s decal displaying a QR code and space number.
  • ParkMobile’s decal displaying a QR code and space number.
  • A Montgomery County decal displaying the space number.
  • A Montgomery County decal displaying a URL address directing patrons to the county’s website with mobile payment instructions.

This approach eases the transition if the partner­ship with one of the vendors were to end. That com­pany’s decal could be removed or replaced without disrupting the mobile payment program.

By late 2017, the county began an incremental launch. A phased approach was adopted as staff was tasked with installing the four decals on more than 10,000 meters throughout the PLDs. By mid-2018 the launch was complete with 10 garages, 20 lots, and more than 2,300 on-street meters in the PLDs outfitted with dual vendor mobile payment capability. The county plans to expand the program to additional facilities, including pay-by-space environments.

Program Outcomes

Due to the widespread diffusion of mobile technol­ogy, consumers have come to expect convenience in many aspects of their lives. While the county has modernized the payment systems in several facilities, budgetary realities have prevented the county from modernizing the entire parking system. This has given rise to frustrated customers. Paying for parking with coins is a common pain point. Indeed, the dual vendor mobile payment system has provided MCDOT and its customers with tangible benefits and improved expe­rience. For MCDOT, the system has proven powerful because it does not require new equipment or main­tenance costs. For customers, it has aligned with the convenience that technology has brought elsewhere in their lives.

The county has access to a comprehensive web-based collection of reports from both vendors, enabling analyses of mobile payment activities. To benchmark success of the program, the county tracked mobile pay­ment sessions and revenue per facility in the months leading up to the dual-vendor implementation and tracked sessions and revenue post-implementation. Since implementation of the dual vendor system, year-over-year total parking sessions increased over 20 per­cent and revenue by $1.3 million.

MCDOT plans to expand the dual vendor mobile payment system to additional parking facilities. The system is currently only available in facilities operated by single-space meters and pay-and-display environ­ments. The county anticipates rolling out the dual ven­dor system in its pay-by-space garages and lots soon. With this impending expansion, MCDOT will reap further benefits, and greater convenience will flow to additional county parkers.

Read the article here.

SINDHU RAO is IT specialist III in the Division of Parking Management of the Montgomery Department of Transportation. She can be reached at sindhu.rao@montgomerycountymd.gov.