Updated: Jan 6
Parking is an essential part of any office, apartment, condominium, and places of worship; and for most employees, business clients, customers, and patrons. However, parking lots are often left at the bottom of the priority list or simply ignored by most property owners and managers. Parking revenue can be a significant portion of any residential or commercial real estate. With the average parking spot priced at $332 per month, a 500 spot parking lot is capable of earning close to $2 million per year, and this figure doesn’t even account for other add-on services such as car wash or enforcement ticketing . According to an article published by the BOMA (International Building Owners and Managers Association) magazine, poor maintenance of parking lots by outsourcing contracts, irregular finances, fraud, theft, and poor parking lot operations and management can cause loses up to 28% in parking revenues. Smart parking solutions can reduce revenue leakage and increase cash flow, making the real estate asset more attractive.
OWNER MANAGED OR OPERATOR MANAGED LOT
Managing these parking spaces can be done either by the real estate owner or a specialized parking operator. Some commercial real estate owners attempt to manage parking on their own; however, unless the owner has the capacity and skills to manage their own parking spaces, the costs of running parking spaces can be quite high while the diverging valuable time from the owner’s core business - real estate asset management and leases.
Currently, there are 4 typical sets up for commercial real estate parking operations
Gateless parking with payment machine or parking app
This method requires the lowest capital investment. The basic requirement would be just proper signage plus a method to pay such as using a parking app. There are also solutions for payment that does not require the driver to download the app but still pay using their phones. Though this method requires enforcement, with the proper enforcement frequency and giving out city tickets instead of private tickets the parking lot can run smoothly without any hardware such as gates or even payment machines, both of which are prone to high maintenance costs when they break down and often in need of regular servicing. This method is ideal for a small to a medium-sized lot and owners looking to start monetizing their parking lot and increase their real estate ROI with minimum capital requirement and as soon as possible.
Gates with cashier
This option provides one advantage over the gateless parking method. The person staffed at the parking stall can help drivers with special requests such as parking in a tight spot or answering other questions. Nevertheless, the salary parking crew will cost more in the long run than gateless parking or automatic parking. Not to mention the added complexity the real estate owner or parking lot operator has to deal with such as payroll, insurance, and benefits.
Gates with payment machines or parking app
This method controls the revenue losses of parking violators not paying for parking and eliminates the expenses of hiring parking staff. Although owners often focus on the initial capital investment of parking upgrades, it is important to calculate the payback period of such technology as compared to paying a full-time parking staff member. The only drawback is that this method is that drivers with special requests may not be able to park or be helped, hence many parking lots will install a customer support button for the driver to reach a remote customer support member if the driver encounters any issues at the parking facility.
Gateless parking with ALPR
ALPR, Automatic License Plate Recognition, can detect and identify vehicles arriving and leaving the parking lot using cameras. If the driver has their vehicle’s license plate linked with their credit card, payment will be automatically deducted once the driver leaves the parking lot. This eliminated the need for expensive parking machines and staffing costs. Another benefit of gateless parking is to resolve the traffic congestion that often occurs at egress. This is especially relevant for a parking lot that experiences a high volume of ride-hailing traffic such as universities, malls or office towers where the car is coming in and out of the lot within the 15 minute grace period. The gateless parking can accommodate this high volume of traffic and significantly reduce the risk of gridlock in these types of parking facilities. It should be noted that this technology that weather conditions such as snow could inhibit the operation of the ALPR, and in colder climates, it is recommended to have a duty setup such as mobile payments to ensure high uptime of the parking facility.
AUTOMATIC LICENSE PLATE RECOGNITION (ALPR)
ALPR is a technology that uses optical recognition on images to read vehicle number plates. It is used by Police forces around the world for various purposes like law enforcement or even to check if the vehicle is registered or licensed. It is also used for tolls and pay-per-use roads and nowadays also for smart-parking solutions.
Concerns about the ALPR systems have centred on privacy issues, such as government tracking citizens movement, high error rates. Some critics also describe it as mass surveillance. The other challenges related to the technology are that the cameras must work fast enough to accommodate the speeds of the vehicles.
Finding Parking spots in public locations like schools, subway stations, bus terminals, etc. can be a major problem which represents 30% of the traffic congestion, by implementing smart parking solutions and techniques a large problem can be successfully solved.
LEVERAGE PARKING DATA
With ParkAI, our fullstack parking lot management and operator solution, we are creating solutions tailored for each site depending upon the size, capacity, traffic, etc. We are creating technologies by setting parameters, catered for requirements such as to permit only parking, free limited parking times, set time parking, zero-tolerance policies and also Business hours/After business hours. GoParkr can provide a detailed picture of the parking situation and ensure the accuracy, consistency, and speed of accessing the data. A good system can perform tasks that were previously very costly. These tasks include managing the performance, analyzing the occupancy minute wise and managing profits. The analysis of data can help generate a report that provides information on inefficient factors and information on revenue generated. Here at GoParkr, we are combining the data from the ALPR cameras located in the buildings and the ticket issued over the mobile application, by this method we will be able to notify the operator of the overstays or non-payments and also developing information about real-time parking usage and the various trends for future solution plans.
In Commercial Buildings like Shopping centers etc. a common frustration for the people arriving at these locations is the traffic and the shortage of parking spots. This causes a negative impact on the customer, leading them to go to another shopping center. Our software system can be designed to work for any commercial site. The system helps us to create a good plan and manage the flow of traffic. This system can offer a hassle-free parking experience at any time of the day. This method will give customers a good parking experience, which is the main part of their shopping experience. This will make customers feel comfortable and confident about their parking, which will, in turn, increase the rate of returning customers. This system can help companies generate good revenue and also create satisfaction among the customers.
Technologies that help people to locate empty parking spots and find prices in real-time with the help of communication sensors are being created. Smart technologies are being built every day, self-driving cars, electric cars, cars with parking assistants, etc.
With Cities becoming smarter every day, the implementation of such smart technologies can generate efficient methods of parking, control the revenue, cut down on expenses and increase customer service.
Author: Frank Jing, Strategy & Operations at GoParkr
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