Parking management systems automate the allotment of parking spaces. The system allows vehicle owners to reserve parking spaces, park their vehicles at the allotted time, and pay for the parking using a prepaid or postpaid card. Although the aforementioned is a simplistic representation of a parking management system, there is more to this system. Depending on the complexity of a parking area, the adjoining traffic, residential areas, commercial areas, jurisdictional rules, and flexible traffic planning policies, the system could be a complex one too.
Why is there a need for a parking management system?
Using technology is one of the best ways to manage parking spaces. Without the use of technology, most parking spaces lack coordination, management, and foresight. Technology also reduces manual effort and the need for human parking personnel. There is no requirement for any parking attendant to apply rules, procedures, routines, or policies. Because everything is automated, parking spaces are efficient, speedy, and have a higher turnover.
The following are some reasons why there is a need for parking software or parking management system.
Parking space optimization
Parking space is a limited resource in cities, urban areas, and sub-urban areas. Inadequate management of parking spaces leads to lost opportunities. The people who are hit are the business owners in that area. Assume there is an ice cream shop in an area. During evenings, the whole area is teeming with activity. This is the time when this shop gets the most business. But because there is no parking space available, or others occupy the available parking space, the ice cream shop may lose customers.
This is one of several examples of how a lack of management of parking spaces could affect businesses and individuals. Because of being a limited asset, parking space optimization is critical for the success of a region. A parking management system can provide an all-encompassing 360 degrees view of a parking space area. Parking area managers and attendants can use the view to apply automated policies.
Parking space optimization also provides insights into unutilized parking spaces, over-utilized spaces, and the cost of operating a parking space over others. It helps parking area owners tune their parking space processes to create a win-win situation. They do not run into overheads nor levy any additional surcharge on parking space users.
Easy to use
A parking management system creates a paperless parking area watch tower. There is no administrative overhead. No paraphernalia that the parking staff has to carry. Everything is organized and automated. Every one who is authorized to use the system can use it. Because of its user-friendliness, the parking management system can be used even by those with little tech-savvy. The management folks of the parking area need not invest any money in training the parking staff on the parking management software.
Over some time, the parking management saves money. It positively influences the parking area ownership’s net profit margins. Notably, modern parking area systems don’t need maintenance. All maintenance activities and upgrades are automated. Even if there is a downtime, cloud-based parking area systems provide failover systems that function in the interim. This way, the parking area is never sabotaged by downtime or the non-availability of a parking management system.
Nowadays, parking management systems are cloud-based or on hybrid clouds, allowing parking region owners access to the latest technologies. Being part of the cloud, parking area software can leverage the functionality of other software based on subscription. Within the cloud ecosystem, there is also no need to repeat oneself. If functionality is available, it can be reused instead of building one from scratch.
A trend that has been increasing over the past several years and will continue is machine learning and artificial intelligence in parking management. The systems learn based on traffic and parking usage patterns. Based on the learning, accurate inferences are made on probabilities related to parking area usage. This type of insight is not rule-driven as in traditional parking area management systems. Rather, the insights are generated from continuous learning by the system and require no human intervention to feed into any configurations or rule sets.
Parking management systems can also be built using open architectures and open-source frameworks. It allows various types of integrations and collaborations. The parking management system can leverage the functionality of other systems and vice-versa. Courtesy of the usage of open architectures and standards, data exchange in popular formats is possible. Implementing data security and several other mechanisms to ensure data confidentiality is also possible.
Workforce is not required to manage a parking area with the use of a parking management system. Several high-end parking areas have no human staff to manage parking area activities. This self-regulating parking area can only be created using a parking management system. From allowing vetted vehicles to enter restricted areas, disallowing reserved parking areas from being occupied, to generating tickets and receipts for parking usage, every aspect of the process can be automated.
Going by these use cases, it is clear that a parking management system is not a simple solution. It has various aspects to it. Using machine learning, artificial intelligence, and sophisticated imaging technology reduces manual error. Any suspicious activity in the parking area can be easily detected and reported using a coordinated effort by on-site cameras and the parking management system alarm functionality.
Therefore, parking management systems are vastly more efficient than human staff. In due course of time, parking area management costs reduce to almost zero. The use of technology also creates discipline in parking area users. The ones who use the parking area regularly start to use the parking area in an orderly manner. Others soon use this type of usage behavior, becoming a type of parking space usage culture.
Manually managing this parking area traffic can be difficult in high throughput parking areas, with several hundred or even thousands of vehicles crisscrossing each other. Accidents may happen, and the likelihood is high. With the use of intelligent and adapting parking area management systems, the incidences of any accidents happening can be reduced to zero. A parking management system can implement gates in the parking area complex to stop or allow vehicles depending on the state of the traffic in the parking area.
With manual staff, this can be done, but not without the element of human error. But with automation, the potential for a mistake is non-existent. Therefore, a parking management system can ensure safety in a parking lot, parking area, or parking complex and on the adjoining roads, highways, and vehicle passageways.
What are some of the features of a parking management system?
Customized parking area solution
A parking management system should not just have generalized functionality. It should allow for customizations too. The functionality must be flexible to be customized as per the requirements of certain companies, staff, and pay-park policies.
Live and historical reports
Continuous monitoring of activity allows for the generation of data that gets converted into reports. The type of reports that a parking management system generates can be various. These can be live or historical reports. The former is generated as it happens, and the latter is generated periodically. Live reports must be accessed via phone, tablet, PC, laptop etc.
Pass and ticket management
Passes can be allotted for parking area users using QR codes. Visitors can also get passes, which can be digital or hard. Depending on the region’s policies, a flexible pass policy can be implemented. A parking management system should generate tickets automatically. It can also have alerts and notifications functionality to alert parking area users of a timeout and the need to replenish their parking space usage account with more funds.
Secure payment gateway
Passes for parking area usage can be obtained by users on a per-day, per-week, or per-month basis. They may have to transact via an app to get such passes. The app would be an offering of the parking management system. The app should allow for secure payment via a secure payment gateway.
How can parking management systems help businesses?
No opportunity loss
Well-managed parking areas allow more visitors to park their vehicles. The business owners in that region benefit from more footfalls.
Business owners who pay money to parking area authorities to allow them to park vehicles will start paying less.
A business can preempt an increase in parking area usage and get allotted more parking slots based on the need and reason.
A parking management system can do wonders to a parking area and the surrounding regions. But not all parking areas are the same, and not all traffic flows are similar. The best parking management systems allow customizations to suit such variances.