Aside from traffic, parking is easily one of the most stressful parts of the modern driving experience. Whether on city streets or in parking garages, there are many challenges drivers face when seeking to park their vehicles. These challenges include insufficient parking on city streets, difficult-to-find spaces in parking garages, challenges with meters, and hassles with valet services.
Thankfully, over the last several years, technology has revitalized and revamped the parking experience. From sensors to GPS to the Internet of Things (IoT), here are some of the biggest ways that technology has transformed parking.
What is Frictionless Parking?
Payment is a common challenge drivers face while parking their vehicles. In the past, parking garages, lots, and streets required payment via cash or coins. For drivers without sufficient coinage, this requirement posed a significant problem—especially when there are no other parking options in the area. Technology eradicated this issue through the creation of frictionless parking. This system allows drivers to park their vehicles without the use of traditional payment systems, such as old-fashioned parking meters and gates. Instead, frictionless parking works through license plate recognition, barcode readers, and even reservation software.
Parking Guidance Systems
Parking guidance systems allow for a simple and seamless parking experience. PGS works by guiding drivers straight to an open space, eliminating the guesswork, frustration, and wasted time spent searching for a parking spot. Better yet, parking guidance systems will even steer a driver back to their vehicle when they are ready to leave. Many parking guidance systems use sensors with license plate recognition software. This software is helpful not only for helping a driver return to their vehicle but also for notifying enforcement officers if a vehicle is parked in a reserved spot and for recording information if a parked car is hit by another vehicle.
Managing Parking Rates
A major way technology has transformed parking is through the management of parking rates. Technology now allows for the use of sensors and Virtual Parking Systems to manage a variety of parking-related behaviors. For example, cities can use these sensors to better enforce set periods of free parking (for example, 3 hours). Additionally, software allows cities to adjust meter rates. Rates can be adjusted to ease congestion created by drivers searching for an affordable spot and to increase prices during days and times in which the demand for parking is high.
Easier Valet Payments
Advancements in technology have allowed for the creation of apps that help drivers find and pay for valet parking. These apps, such as SpotHero, will also warn the driver if their reserved space is about to expire. Apps can also notify drivers if their parking meter is near expiration. Valet apps such as CurbStand even allow drivers to pay via credit card, eliminating the need to find an ATM to withdraw cash for payment.