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Improving Parking Occupancy Counts

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Accurate Parking Counts, Improving Parking Occupancy Counts, Make Parking Better

You can turn your signs back on now!

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

Accurate Parking Counts, Improving Parking Occupancy Counts, Smart Parking Systems

Smart Solutions to Car Parking Problems in Large Shopping Malls

solutions to car parking problems in large shopping malls

Retail shopping centers face an increasing threat of decline due to online shopping. It’s not surprising that many consumers find it more convenient to do their shopping over the Internet, rather than face lines of traffic in and out of shopping malls and in parking areas. Once in the lot or garage, they must cruise up and down rows of full spaces searching for the elusive available spot, which may be blocks away from their intended shopping destination. So, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why many consumers avoid brick and mortar shopping at all costs.

As buyer behaviors change, shopping center operators are coming under increased pressure to find solutions to car parking problems in their large shopping malls to improve and enhance the traditional shopping experience and drive revenue. Many commercial operators are turning to new technologies that leverage data to analyze foot traffic, identify drivers of customer satisfaction and increase spend.  What they may not realize is that by applying smart parking technology to collect and analyze accurate parking data, retail operators have a powerful tool to improve the parking experience, increase customer satisfaction and maximize parking and retail revenue – turning their properties into thriving consumer centers.

Benefits of High-Accuracy Parking Availability Data

Improve Customer Satisfaction

For the majority of retail customers, the first experience they will have on any shopping trip is with your parking operation. One of the biggest customer complaints is not having access to parking availability. They don’t know where to look for convenient (or cheap) parking spots. Unable to navigate directly to desirable parking or reserve and pay for a spot in advance, they’re forced to circle parking garages or lots. We’ve all seen studies that show after as few as one bad shopping experience, a customer may never return again. Poor satisfaction means lost revenue and wasted acquisition spend. Make life easy for your customers, and they’ll keep coming back.

Operators can address customer needs by using real-time parking occupancy data across their operation to understand space availability (including premium or restricted spaces). This requires connecting the counting devices you already have to a central system that updates in real time. Whether you have counting devices installed at garage entrances and exits, on parking levels or at each individual space, they can be connected to a centralized platform that sends that data out to strategically-placed signage in and around your property, to your center’s app, your website, and your social networks.

Increase Revenue

Every minute a customer spends looking for parking is one less minute they have to shop.  Accurate parking availability data allows you to direct shoppers to convenient open parking faster (including premium spaces) and keep congestion to a minimum. If you have a parking management system that provides accurate real-time occupancy counts, you can decrease the time they spend in the parking area and maximize their shopping time. You’re also increasing the value of your customers’ shopping trips by increasing their productivity, maximizing their shopping experience, lowering their fuel costs, and reducing their carbon footprint.

There are other revenue benefits to having accurate parking data. By analyzing trends by location, daypart, seasonality or other factors you can institute dynamic pricing to take advantage of times when parking spots are at a premium. You can optimize revenue streams by directing parkers to VIP parking areas, charging stations or other premium-add services that make shopping at your property more attractive and convenient.


For commercial operators considering expansion, accurate historical parking data can inform decision making so you make smarter, money-saving decisions like whether to build, renovate or expand parking facilities. You can also move toward predictive parking availability.

Finding a solution to car parking problems in large shopping malls doesn’t have to cost a fortune. By using systems you already have in place, you can collect and analyze parking occupancy data in real time to make your property more attractive to consumers, and more profitable for you today and into the future.

If you’d like a simplified, integrated smart parking solution that gives shopping centers highly accurate real-time occupancy data that works with the systems you already use, contact us.

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