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Parking Should be Data Driven

March 30, 2020

Price Downtown Parking Rates

Wen Sang

During the past decade, the world has been dazzled by autonomous vehicles, bitcoin, and a major comeback of AI. Meanwhile, significant changes were happening quietly and rapidly in parking, a massive $100B+ industry here in the U.S.


 Within the past couple of decades, a tremendous amount of data has become available to parking stakeholders through implementing parking access revenue control systems (PARCS). The majority of paid parking (105MM+ spaces) in the U.S. is now covered by digital devices. 


Within the past couple of decades, a tremendous amount of data has become available to parking stakeholders.


 Per our estimate, the volume of parking transaction data generated across the U.S. exceeds the total information volume of the U.S. Congress Library in a week! 


 But most of it wasn't available until the recently. I remember at my first parking trade show, in 2015, no one I spoke to knew what an “API” was. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, it’s an application that allows two programs to talk to each other. Today, the requirement of “make my parking data available to me via an API however I want it” is standard in RFP’s and contracts.


 Some of the most competitive parking payment and access control solution providers are the ones that made their API available to their customers the earliest. 


 So, what does it mean for me?


 For those who own and manage parking assets, here are some of my predictions about the biggest changes under way.


Demand-based pricing will dominate the parking world


For decades, the pricing of parking inventory has been largely based on competition (off-street) or convention (on-street). This will change significantly as demand-based pricing is finally available and puts your parking data to work. 


Parking assets will become a core business component 


For years, parking has been treated as an auxiliary service and a non-essential business component in real estate, cities, hotels, airports, hospitals, stadiums, universities, and many other industries. Parking management was segmented from core business concerns, and often overlooked by corporate leadership. 


 


Parking management expectations will change


It’s like consumers who order their coffee on the phone when they walk out of the door, and have it ready when they arrive. Executives, managers, clients, all want answers backed by data, now. 


 


Leaders will focus on technology adoption 


That’s what we’ve seen successful executives who work at the intersection of parking and technology do.


 


Changes in talent


The success of every business comes down to the people behind it. 


 


Partner & buy, not build


While “anyone can do anything” continues to be undebatable, the most successful organizations instead focus on strategic focal points to enable effective technology adoption instead of trying to build everything on their own. 


 


Land on the business results, not the data 


Data is just a means to an end. Everything needs to be tied back to the desired business results, whether it be P&L, resident/visitor satisfaction, or new business accounts. 


Hear Wen Sang and a panel of leading experts as they discuss these issues and the intricacies of pricing parking downtown at PIE 2020 on Monday, March 23.  


Dr. Wen Sang is founder of Smarking. He can be reached at wen@smarking.com



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