Parking Availability Platforms
The effectiveness of shared parking arrangements, shared-parking districts, and even municipal parking programs can be greatly increased by using a parking information platform that identifies:
The location of public and shared parking facilities;
Hours of operation;
Rates and restrictions; and
Real-time space availability.
Such a parking information platform, complemented with effective branding and cohesive messaging, can create a user experience akin to that provided by a municipal parking program – even if most/all parking facilities are privately managed by several distinct parties.
Optimizes the value of existing parking resources, supporting area travel, access, and economic opportunity
Minimizes the need for new parking construction
Provides many of the benefits of District Parking programs, without the need to own, operate, or manage any parking facility
Provides many of the benefits of having a formal parking authority, and a managed public-parking system, in places where these are lacking; this potential can be enhanced through complementary strategies, such as providing branding, wayfinding, information, and monetizing technologies that make available shared parking as easy to find and access as parking in a public parking facility
ParkPGH is a real-time-availability and pricing-information platform that aggregates and disseminates this information for 22 off-street parking facilities within Pittsburgh's Cultural District. This platform presents these primarily commercial facilities – all operated by several competing companies – as a managed, district parking system of over 22,000 spaces. Despite branding and messaging-cohesion suggestive of a coordinated, municipal parking system, ParkPGH was created and is maintained by the Pittsburgh Cultural. Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to the development and promotion of Pittsburgh's Cultural District. The Trust created ParkPGH to make parking less stressful for patrons of the Cultural District’s theater and arts programs, as well as for business, restaurant, retail, and residential communities in the downtown area. The platform now extends to include downtown spillover parking serving the stadium complex on the North Shore, just over a one-quarter mile walk away from the heart of the Culture District. The effort began with development of a dedicated software platform that communicates with the existing technology at participating garages. Real-time availability information is communicated via mobile app, web, text message, and a call-in service. Participating parking operators pay an annual fee to have their facilities included in ParkPGH’s system and must have technology that provides an availability feed to the system. Regular visitor surveys show that ParkPGH’s impacts have successfully changed perceptions about the lack of parking in the Cultural District and requests are made regularly to expand the system to other parts of the city.
To fulfill goals laid out in the Downtown Dallas 360 Plan, ParkMe and the City of Dallas partnered to provide real-time assistance for hundreds of facilities with information on parking availability, directions, and rates. The application also utilizes Dallas’ PayByPhone service offering cashless mobile meter payment. ParkMe provides a point-and-click user interface for parking wayfinding and availability for Downtown facilities and on-street parking. Select parking facilities allow in-app space reservations. On-street parking probability factors are shown, providing high (green), medium (orange), and low (red) likelihood of space availability based on historic observations. The app also consolidates parking regulations, which are often confusing for the general public, into one central place. The advent of ParkMe is a step towards optimizing parking management for the City and simplifying parking for Downtown patrons, workers and visitors
Role of Public Sector
Initiates platform development, branding, security, and outreach
Engages potential participating parking facilities
Defines information-sharing and fee requirements to ensure platform effectiveness and sustainability
Role of Private Sector
Initiates development of a platform, branding, security, and outreach
Helps fund the program, in return for the benefits of having their parking capacity promoted to drivers
Installs necessary technology to track and share availability information, and updates the program administrator on hours, fees, and other regulations
Offers promotions and discounts for platform patrons
Viable for both established and future TODs