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A “Quick Rant” by Christine Parisi

Too often, monument signs that are supposed to be displaying open and occupied parking spaces are turned off, putting the “parking experience” right back into the drivers hands; leaving it up to the customer to guess where (and if) there are open spaces.. Strong-willed drivers might not even notice, while others…not so much.

But before I dive any deeper, I want to make it known that I am not referring to product malfunctions, integration issues or even a specific occasion when I witnessed this, because it happens and that’s okay. It’s inevitable – “glitches” will occur and fast workarounds will sometimes be needed. 

But why is this such an unspoken topic? Why isn’t anyone talking about how many signs are turned off? It’s in plain sight, and leaves me only to assume: 

  • “As long as the space by space overhead lighting is showing availability, it’s not a pressing issue, we’ll fix it later.”
  • “We plan on doing that during the next phase of installation.”
  • “People have been parking without technology for years, they can use their eyes to find a spot.”
  • “Loops, pucks, gates are all working fine. You don’t know what you don’t know.”
  • “We don’t trust the data.” 

Here’s what I think. I think all of the above are extremely kind assumptions. Chances are, drivers probably don’t even care why, they just can’t get a clue about where to find a spot. So, how much impact does this have on the parking experience? 

What Happens When Your Signs are Off

Reality check – TAKE NOTE:

  • Parking managers/garage owners lose money
  • Parker/driver confusion = poor impression of the facility
  • Increased traffic density due to lack of visibility into available parking
  • Increased stress on garage staff as they have to scramble to manage traffic and frustrated parkers
  • Inaccurate counts can result in overselling and this can cause customer frustration/dissatisfaction

Over the last three years I have purposefully acquainted myself with those I consider to be extremely educated on all things parking. I have been involved in countless conversations with parking leaders, I’ve asked a lot of questions and received great insight. Yet, with all of this knowledge, experience, and technology no one seems to be talking about the importance of displaying accurate counts. And I get it. There are thousands of abandoned scooters that need cleaning up, air-taxis services in the works, and thanks to data received from LPR technologies, there are even new dating apps hitting the pavement. There’s a lot going on. I just don’t think that is reason enough to ignore such an integral component in creating a successful parking scenario.

The Fix

The truth is there is no perfect parking scenario – at least not yet. But there are lots of kickass technologies challenging the way we think about parking and reinventing the old paradigms. The fact that we are even talking about air taxis is incredible. It’s 2020 and the world is changing. So let’s keep doing what works, leverage what is the most accurate, and align all of it to give our customers something they can be happy with. 

And please — turn your signs back on! #accuracymatters

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