Parking management system is a label attached to numerous products in the parking industry and it can sometimes be hard to figure out what it actually means.
The basic idea behind any parking management system is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a system which helps people to manage their parking. Where the confusion can sometimes arise is when you dig into the various segments of parking management systems which have evolved to meet the differing needs of different types of car parks.
A lot of elements can be included in parking management systems but there are four vital components:
- Payment method
- Enforcement options
- Access controls
Here a quick overview of how the most common types of parking management systems work:
Manual: the traditional “man in a hut” who keeps an eye on who is coming and going. You’ll often find these operations in low-tech environments where the car park owner for one reason or another is looking to retain a cash operation.
A staff member will accept payment from motorists as they come and go. He will also give them a manual piece of paper to monitor entry and exit. He will keep an eye out to make no one is staying longer than they should be. He’ll keep a track of all this in a big ledger or on a computer.
Obviously this is a very resource intensive system with large margin for error and corruption.
Hardware Focused: this is how most traditional car parks have been run for the last 50 years. They are dominated by big expensive pieces of hardware to control things like payment and access.
Motorists tend to have access managed by large barriers, to enter they need to pull a ticket. Before departure they need to pay at a paystation for the length of their stay. A local staff member will often be on site in case of any difficulties with users and to monitor any cars which may be abandoned. The hardware will all have backend reporting functions which can generate reports on occupancy and revenue generation.
Software Focused: with consumers looking for smoother parking experiences and car parks looking to reduce upfront capital cost on parking equipment this is where most progressive car parks are looking to move.
Companies like Parkpnp are really driving this digital revolution. Drivers can pay using their smartphones, overstay and illegal parking can be monitor using software products on staff smartphones or tablets. Entry & exit can be linked directly to smartphones or license plates. While real-time reporting is available to let car park owners know how they are operating whenever they want the information.
Many car parks are slowly migrating from hardware focus to software focus and you’ll often see a hybrid parking management system between both models.
Office Centric: the fastest growing of all the segments. Traditionally offices have used adapted systems from big hardware suppliers focusing on barriers, fobs etc. However, these are not fit for purpose and have led to large parking problems in many companies.
The growth of software products like ParkOffice has changed the game for workplace parking. Software driven automation and optimisation is now top of the agenda. Companies can increase capacity to park staff, without increasing the number of spaces they have. Administration and capital expenditure is also rapidly decreasing as this segment moves toward a fully automated model.