Data Driven – Municipal Parking Administrators May Be Focusing on the Wrong Types of Data

By Brian Wolff 

Over the past decade, municipal parking has become extremely data centric. As municipal parking administrators have come to rely increasingly on technology to improve the parking experience, they’ve discovered that these same tools can provide valuable operational data that can be used to manage parkades more efficiently and effectively. 

PARCS systems, parking guidance, LPR, and mobile payment apps are wonderful management tools that provide important utilization data. Need to know how full your lot or parkade is, and when it tends to be most full? These technologies can tell you, often in real-time on any device. Want to know what types of parkers are using your parkade, an automated permitting program tied to your PARCS system can tell you that. 

It’s obvious why these types of data are so valuable. Benchmarking is an essential element of any parking management program. If you understand your parking trends you can make sensible decisions about how to manage your parking programs. It’s why so many parking owners and operators rely on their PARCS and guidance tools for data.

Ask the Customer

But if you are focused solely on utilization data, you are only getting half the story; and you may not be getting the most important half. As important as it is to know who is parking in your facility, and when, it’s even more important to know how their experience was. Did they have trouble getting in and out of the parkade or lot? Did their payment go smoothly? Did gates and ticket machines work as expected? These are essential issues if you want to earn repeat business from parkers. 

The most obvious way to get this information is by surveying customers. Hearing about parkers’ experiences straight from their own mouths is the best way to see how…

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Enforcement Is Good Customer Service

Municipal parking managers have the challenging task of balancing the management of a scarce resource and providing service to a wide range of customers. The mindset is a shift from the mentality of an enforcer to that of a protector.

Enforcement is the one element of parking planning and management that people generally don’t like to discuss. People resent getting parking tickets—or getting towed—and they often associate enforcement with greed on the parts of municipal parking authorities. Why else would a city penalize parkers with fines if they weren’t trying to generate additional revenues, right?  (more…)

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