Six Ways Municipalities Benefit From Privatized Parking

Successful parking companies take lots, garages, and on-street parking programs that are barely self-sustainable and turn them into a legitimate source of income. For municipalities, this means additional revenue can be injected into local projects and amenities.

But beyond profit, parking managers can yield greater productivity at a lower cost, improve traffic flow, and reduce pollution levels.

Greater productivity, lower costs

  1. Turnkey management

Municipalities operating at critical mass face daily challenges relating to how and where human capital is deployed, with parking oftentimes seen as an unnecessary investment. Thus, it inevitably slides down the ever-growing priorities list. In this instance, outsourcing to a professional parking management company could be a turnkey solution.

With an abundance of resources, expertise, and specially trained personnel, parking management companies are fully equipped to provide an end-to-end service that does not require micromanagement. In action, this means:

  • Municipal back-office staff are able to focus on other, higher priority tasks.
  • Lots and garages are regularly and reliably maintained, curbing instances of vandalism, visual pollution, and customer complaints.
  • Consumers are more likely to receive a high-quality, standardized level of customer service.
  • A variety of technological solutions can be successfully integrated into service delivery.
  1. Technological consciousness

Offering an appropriate range of technological solutions to consumers is necessary in order to match or exceed their expectations in an increasingly digitized market — but it’s difficult to keep up with technological developments, including what simply does or doesn’t work, without a dedicated finger on the pulse.

Half of the top 10 emerging trends in the $100 billion parking industry are directly related to sector-revolutionizing technologies, including payment automation, electronic (cashless) payment, and mobile applications. With a little push from millennial consumers, these innovations have disrupted the marketplace enough that they must be viewed as staple service offerings by all parking providers who wish to remain a viable consumer choice — including municipalities.

Partnering with an organization heavily invested in researching the ever-changing technological landscape of the parking industry ensures that technological solutions are selected, implemented, and managed effectively.

  1. Dynamic forecasting

Day-to-day operational efficiency can be vastly improved by the more detailed, refined strategies that parking managers put into action, like dynamic forecasting.

Dynamic forecasting is a responsive, analytics-driven approach to resource management that takes into account variables like traffic, rate structures, and the environment. In the hands of experienced parking managers, dynamic forecasting can facilitate the strategic decision-making that optimizes overall operational performance and results for municipal parking programs.

Take enforcement initiatives as an example: dynamic forecasting enables enforcement officers to be deployed more strategically. This not only increases patrol efficiency but also facilitates a more appropriate level of citation issuance and potentially decreases payroll costs.

  1. Cost-efficient development

An outsourced parking management partner can leverage long-standing industry relationships to purchase equipment and labor at a low price when it’s time to renovate, redevelop, or start afresh. This increases cost-efficiency and goes some way toward guaranteeing the quality of purchased resources. Additionally, their ability to infuse modern-day technology into parking strategies (as mentioned previously) can cement a new parking system’s relevance for years to come, reducing the need for repeated system ”facelifts” and the associated costs therein.

Improving traffic flow and pollution levels

  1. Market-driven pricing

Approximately 30% of drivers in congested downtown traffic are cruising for a parking space — and they spend an average of 20 minutes doing so. This behavior pushes air pollution levels up and brings traffic to a grinding halt. Luckily, the market-driven pricing that parking management companies implement can help to crack down on cruising.

Donald Shoup captured it perfectly: “Because city governments set the prices for curb parking, they choose whether drivers will cruise.” Market-driven pricing manages demand to ensure a sufficient supply of parking spaces is available for the appropriate end user. As a result, drivers spend less time searching for a space, reducing cruising averages, emissions, and congestion significantly.

Increased parking space availability is, perhaps unsurprisingly, to everyone’s benefit. Drivers are less likely to argue with each other over a parking space, providing a small but not insignificant boost to civic satisfaction. Beyond harmonious driver relations, increased space availability fosters a higher consumer turnover for downtown businesses, allowing the local economy to prosper.

  1. Traffic management

Good parking managers deliver a valuable service to the surrounding community through the strict management of ingress and egress patterns on a day-to-day basis, positively affecting traffic flow in the immediate area. They also can — and often do — partner with local authorities during special events and periods of construction, working together to create and implement traffic management plans that reduce both vehicular and pedestrian congestion. This can include scheduling police presence, stationing certified flaggers, and even changing traffic light patterns at peak times.

The bottom line

Experienced parking management companies can offer municipalities a service that goes far beyond simply increasing meter revenue. Though finding the right provider can take time and patience, the financial, logistical, and environmental pay-off is undeniable.

Impark — the largest operator of U.S. municipal parking systems — provides municipalities with comprehensive patrol and enforcement capabilities, a team of technical experts to manage facility automation and equipment upgrades, and unrivaled customer service support. .

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