Hamilton’s Transition to Digital: Building a Mobility Strategy for the Future

By Alicia Smart, Passport

Over the past decade, the City of Hamilton has experienced a tremendous influx in urban growth and development. The City, known for its tourism and medical research, is also the fastest growing mid-sized city in Canada for tech and healthcare. This rapid growth and urbanization have caused the City to reimagine its parking operations.

Many areas in Hamilton are undergoing secondary plans to ensure that there are land use, transportation, and infrastructure plans in place to meet the needs of the growing communities. Hamilton’s parking operation handles all on-street parking related matters, inclusive to parking bylaws. In addition to the day-to-day parking that occurs on Hamilton’s 2,700 on-street and 5,000 off-street paid parking spaces, construction, special events and filming heavily utilize parking. Many of the core parking surface lots have made way for urban growth and Hamilton expects this to be a growing trend over the next 10 years.

Up until 2019, a large portion of the City’s parking operation was simply collecting and reconciling cash and coin. Enforcement operations caused a number of issues at the time, including hardware malfunctions and coin jams. Additionally, data collection was almost non-existent due to the coin and cash dependence. “When I joined the parking system in 2017, what I saw was a large group of very hardworking people who were working too hard at the expense of manual processes,” says Amanda McIlveen, City of Hamilton parking operations and initiatives manager. “From past experience, I knew that Hamilton was in need of a massive digital transformation.”

Amanda and her team quickly realized that in a data-heavy industry, it is difficult to run a parking operation efficiently using antiquated and manual processes. Leveraging data allows cities to manage and allocate staff properly, manage parking demand, create efficiency in…

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