A recent project asked that we evaluate trends in the parking industry. One of the specific areas of focus was parking technology.
IPI released a very nice piece last year, 2013 Emerging Trends in Parking, based on a survey of its members. Two of the top trends noted in the report were the rapidly-expanding use of smartphones and mobile apps as both a means of pushing out information about parking and as payment options.
The report said, “Topping the list of trends in the $30 billion parking industry is the ‘move toward innovative technologies to improve parking access control and payment automation,’ cited by 59 percent of respondents. Another top trend is ‘real-time communication of pricing and availability to mobile/smartphones.’”
The second major trend related directly to the expansion of payment options:
“The second leading trend is the ‘demand for electronic (cashless) payment,’ with cities such as Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Houston, and Miami among others, incorporating pay-by-phone programs. Acclaimed as the world’s most successful of its type, the D.C. program has earned 550,000 customers and accounts for 40 percent of the city’s parking revenues. About 80 percent of the seven million transactions to date employ smart phones, with payment options that include credit cards, an online and mobile money management solution, and PayPal.”
As we began our own investigation of industry trends, a friend shared an interesting fact with me” Almost $25 million in funding has been invested in parking-focused mobile payment firms during the past 12 months:
- Passport – $6M (December 2013)
- Pango 6.5M (February 2014)
- QuickPay – $5.5M (February 2014)
- ParkMobile – $6.3M (February 2013)
These facts, combined with other significant investments by major multi-national corporations such as Xerox, 3M, etc., reinforce the fact that the importance of parking is being recognized on a broader scale than ever before.
This speaks volumes about the advancement of the parking profession and underscores the critical role parking plays in community and economic development, the importance of parking planning, the evolution of a more sustainable transportation industry, and ultimately our ability to directly enhance the parking experience of millions of parking patrons every day. It’s an exciting time to be a parking professional!