Last week, I attended my first show in 2021 after the pandemic – the Parking Industry Expo at the beautiful Gaylord Texan Resort in Dallas, TX.
While I’ve been in payments for 20+ years and technology is not something I shy away from, I was impressed by the technology displayed on the 105 Exhibitors at the show. The immediate focus on consumer demand and experience was apparent. The innovation that has transformed the parking industry will shape the automobile, software, on-street, and off-street parking in the future.
This was my first parking show to attend so I wanted to start with a little bit of history. The earliest known parking garage in the United States was built in 1918 for the Hotel La Salle at 215 West Washing Street in the West Loop area of downtown Chicago, Illinois. The world’s first installed parking meter was in Oklahoma City on July 16, 1935. By the early 1940’s, there were more than 140,000 meters operating in the United States. Now you will find metered parking and garages in all the major cities across North America.
Covid-19 certainly had a major impact on the parking industry. In March 2020, the national shutdown resulted in parking volumes declining by 80% in only a few weeks. As of June 2021, volumes have not returned to pre-covid volumes.
However, the industry is seeing a number of changes and innovations. Here are some of the insights that I took away from the show.
- Smart Cities: The future is smart cities. Building and maintaining smart infrastructure to support parking, traffic, lighting, curbside, kiosks, and analytics will change the experience for consumers and set expectations that shape the demand for parking services.
- Ticketless Solutions: Consumer expectations drive technology-based solutions that deliver a convenient, streamlined process for their parking experience. One way that technology is supporting this consumer demand is by the identification of vehicles by their own license plate. The consumer can simply enter and exit parking garages with automated payment capabilities based on account preference and profile.
- Mobile Pay: Mobile payments are a popular way to buy everything from groceries to concert tickets. Some of those payments occur online or within apps. Mobile payments are faster and allow consumers to forgo the now-outdated practice of carrying cash or using credit cards. Integrating a digital payment offering into your parking system can increase adoption of public parking services by incentivizing users with convenience, transparent pricing, and rewards. While apps are a popular way of increasing loyalty, some consumers are resistant to download yet another app. That’s why it’s smart to offer other parking payment solutions like text-to-pay to the other mobile experience meter app.
- Payment Terminals: The mobile payment technology is reducing the need to have payment devices on every meter. QR Code and mobile payment streamline the parking experience for consumers and allow them to add additional time as needed from a remote location.
- Electric Vehicle Charging Station: – In 2018, there were a million electric cars on the US roads. As the annual sale of EVs reaches the 1.4 million mark by 2025, there will be more than 18 million electric cars in the US alone. Ensuring that cities, hotels, and valet stations have electric charging options is must.
- Parking Violation: New immobilizing technology to manage parking violations has evolved to an efficient and convenient solution. Consumers can now pay the parking violation and remove the immobilizing unit from their vehicle. While no one enjoys paying a parking violation it saves the consumer time and money by not having to locate the tow yard and retrieve their vehicle from the lot.
Self-service innovative parking and enforcement technology such as pay stations, smart meters, enforcement and permitting, and mobile payment apps will provide a consumer driven experience throughout smart cities across the world.
ISVPay’s payment platform is built to support the current and future payments needs within the parking industry. Learn more and connect with us here. Let’s take 15 minutes to explore how ISVPay can work with your business.
Written by: Sarah Adams, SVP Partner Development at ISVPay