6 Trends in Parking Management Every Owner and Parking Operator Needs to Know

January 23, 2024
April 1, 2024

6 Trends in Parking Management Every Owner and Parking Operator Needs to Know

January 23, 2024
April 1, 2024

For decades, parking was a stagnant industry. Drive into a lot, take a ticket, pay, and exit. Fast forward to the last few years, and changes in how Americans work, live, and play are evolving quickly. These lifestyle changes combined with economic changes, pivots in commercial real estate, and rapid technological advances are igniting new trends in the parking industry. 

Digital and Contactless Payments

The leap towards digital and contactless payment methods is here to stay and gaining traction with consumers. This evolution is part of the broader shift in consumer preferences towards convenience and speed. For real estate owners and parking operators, this means reevaluating current systems to ensure they align with the expectations of a modern, tech-savvy clientele. 

Integrating digital and contactless payments into parking facilities enhances the user experience by eliminating the need for physical cash or cards—ultimately creating a frictionless environment. These changes translate into business benefits such as streamlined operations, and significant cost savings in labor and maintenance. 

The Rise of PropTech in Commercial Real Estate

PropTech (or property technology) is reshaping the commercial real estate (CRE) landscape in every way possible. It's infusing it with cutting-edge digital innovations and data analytics and in the process, transforming everything from how properties are marketed to the relationship between property owners, operators, and tenants. 

The tech that has been embraced inside the building for years is finally making its way to the parking area of the property. This trend is only expected to accelerate in the next few years. For tech-forward CREs and parking operators that have already made the switch, the results are streamlined operations through automated systems for payments, reservations, and access control, improved customer experience, and increased revenue. 

Smart Technology and AI Integration

For parking management, embracing PropTech means leveraging a suite of digital tools—from smart parking systems to AI-driven analytics platforms—that can transform traditional parking lots into intelligent, responsive spaces. This digital shift is not just about upgrading hardware; it's about reimagining the parking ecosystem to be more adaptable, efficient, and in tune with the modern urban landscape.

Leveraging AI and smart technology is becoming non-negotiable. These tools provide unparalleled insights into parking patterns, user behavior, and space utilization. Real-time data (finally) provides the visibility needed to make informed decisions that can significantly impact operational efficiency and profitability. This can involve adjusting pricing strategies availability, implementing loyalty programs, or redesigning layouts to better meet the needs of our users.

Increasing use of License Plate Recognition (LPR) Technology

Another big shift in tech advances is LPR. This tech marks a significant leap forward in parking management, fundamentally altering both operational efficiencies and user experiences. Automating the identification and verification of vehicles as they enter and exit parking facilities streamlined the entire parking process. LPR technology reduces the need for manual ticketing systems, which can be both time-consuming and error-prone. It also significantly cuts down wait times for drivers, enhancing their overall experience.

Beyond simplifying entry and exit, LPR technology provides a robust solution for improving security and surveillance within parking spaces. By automatically capturing and storing license plate data, it enables a more effective monitoring and enforcement mechanism against unauthorized parking and enhances the capability to quickly respond to security incidents. 

Vend takes the accuracy and reliability of LPR one step further with AVR (Automated Vehicle Recognition) which not only factors in the license plate number on the vehicle, but also the vehicle make, model, and color, making vehicle identification faster and more accurate than ever.

Flexibility for Hybrid Work Models

The advent of hybrid work is reshaping the demand for parking spaces, presenting both challenges and opportunities. With employees splitting their time between working from home and the office, the once predictable demand for parking has become highly variable. This fluctuation poses a dilemma for fixed parking infrastructures, which were designed for a 9-to-5 occupancy pattern and rely on selling monthly subscriptions to hit revenue targets.

An example of one of these new offerings is Flex parking, which offers dynamic adaptability to varying parking needs, enabling tenants to maximize parking space usage and property owners to optimize revenue. In contrast to traditional monthly subscriptions, Flex Parking doesn't allocate specific parking spaces to named drivers. Instead, businesses can share these space allocations among as many drivers as they wish, provided they do not exceed the allocated number of spaces (or concurrent parks) at any given time. This flexibility is ideal for businesses with hybrid work models, ensuring better utilization of this valuable amenity.  While some parking garages have offered similar pass options as Flex for a while, traditional parking payment and management technologies lack the infrastructure to track the number of vehicles a tenant has parked simultaneously. This loophole could lead to potential revenue losses through misuse of the system.

Additionally, owners can use insights generated from PropTech to repurpose or redevelop underutilized parking areas for alternative uses that complement the hybrid work model. This could include creating green spaces that enhance the property's appeal or developing shared amenities that support employee well-being. 

Embracing Sustainable Urban Mobility

As cities move towards more sustainable transportation options, the role of parking management is also evolving. This trend encourages a shift in perspective, viewing parking not just as a standalone service but as an integral part of the urban mobility ecosystem. Forward-thinking strategies may include integrating parking solutions with public transportation, supporting electric vehicle charging infrastructure, or repurposing underutilized spaces for alternative uses.

Looking Ahead to the Future of Parking Management Technology

The continued integration of technology in parking management points towards even more personalized, efficient, and sustainable solutions.

Request a demo to learn more about how Vend can help you quickly adapt to these rapidly evolving trends.

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