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Make Parking Better

Parking Sucks: Let’s Make it Better

by Christine Parisi, ATS Business Development Manager and Observer of All Things Parking

I moved to the Northern, VA area just over four years ago. Since then I’ve relocated four times, each move placing me a little closer to Washington DC and a little farther from my country lifestyle and dirt roads. I certainly did not imagine myself living alongside Interstate 495, commonly referred to as “The Beltway”, the 64-mile highway that encircles Washington DC. Nor did I foresee taking my broadcast background and working for a traffic and parking technology company. 

Nevertheless, I continue to be extremely intrigued by the vast amount of traffic and parking information I encounter daily in both my work life and my commute. So, I figure if I’m living in it, why not talk about it? 

Murphy’s Law of Parking

ATS Smart Parking Blog

Parking sucks for drivers, or “parkers” if you will. I find it extremely unlikely that anyone would disagree with this statement unless you are from my small town in Pennsylvania and have entire cornfields of parking options. From the moment we leave “X” with the intention of driving to “Y”, we want to know the perfect parking space is waiting at “Z”. Am I wrong? Parking a car can be a lot like Murphy’s Law – if anything can go wrong, it often will. 

Here’s an example: several weeks ago, my roommate and I were headed to the movies in the bustling Tysons Corner area. Not anticipating any traffic (apparently I haven’t lived here long enough) we left a little later than we should have, and arrived at the theater with only ten minutes to spare. (Mind you, it takes us over ten minutes just to get snacks!) 

When we pulled into the parking garage, the signage overhead displayed plenty of available spaces. Perfect…not! In truth, we wouldn’t be parking for a while. Parking traffic was so backed up within the garage that we had to put the car in park and wait for a solid five minutes. Words cannot accurately describe the cacophony of echoing, honking and beeping as frustrated shoppers and “late to the movie” goers sat, helpless in the dark garage, trying to avoid fender benders and resorting to foul language. I personally could not avoid the last one. It was a parking garage disaster.

When the congestion finally subsided, I told my roommate to ignore the parking space signage and just drive. In other words, my backseat driver voice said, “forget the technology”. I noticed at least six vehicles parked incorrectly, causing the sensors or loops to miscalculate occupancy, and this particular garage has over 1000 spaces so I’m sure this wasn’t the only issue causing the inaccurate counts. Every upgrade, every fancy new sign, they all bring new challenges we can only try to learn from and improve.


Bad Counting Makes for Bad Parking Experiences

ATS smart parking counting accuracyThat particular evening is only one of the many times I have talked myself out of a parking garage anxiety attack. Without accurate availability counts, we are failing our customers and ourselves and creating frustration. Sure, we could rely on error-prone loops and cameras or go back to the inadequate method of having someone walk the grounds taking a physical inventory, or we can fix parking once and for all. There are far too many overpopulated cities and people like myself who actually enjoy driving for us to rely on manual counts. AND, we have the right technology now, so why not use it?

If we want to make the overall parking experience better, we need to start by perfecting a basic skill: just like when we were children we need to count—accurately. If the data output doesn’t match the true data input, clearly we messed up somewhere. I don’t know about you, but I do not want to be the one in charge of digging up all of the millions of concrete spaces, starting from scratch to fix the problem by installing yet another parking counting system. We need to ask ourselves why we work in this industry and remove those dollar signs floating around in our heads and think about The Customer. Start over and start counting accurately because parking shouldn’t be better, it has to be better. Or else I’m going to get out of the car in the next garage and walk.



How many drivers actually trust the numbers we see on parking signage? Think of yourself, for example. Do you trust your occupancy data 99.9%? Or could it be the inadequacies of your loops or cameras, the mistakes made during manual inventory, or the fault of drivers— because strong-willed game fans in a hurry with seats on the 50-yard line are going to park wherever their hearts desire. (At least my father would, and does when we go to a PSU game.) I think it’s a little bit of all three, and that’s where it gets interesting. How do those of us in the parking industry make it better for the driver and the parking operator’s pocket? 


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.

Parking Revenue

Maximize your PARCS System Investment with Accurate Vehicle Counts

integrate your PARCS systems

If your organization operates a parking access control system (PARCS) to manage parking inventory and availability, you made a hefty investment. So, it may be disconcerting when you realize your facilities are still losing revenue. Just because you have a PARCS system doesn’t mean you’re getting accurate parking occupancy counts in your garages and lots. And if you don’t know how many open spots you have at any given time, you’re most certainly losing revenue.

The problem with loops

Many parking facilities rely on inductive loops to count vehicles as they enter and exit. Loops are expensive and inconvenient to install and replace – and they’re not always accurate.

  • Before you install a loop, you must have a survey performed on your structure, which takes time and costs money
  • You have to tear up the floor or pavement, which is a mess and causes disruption to your business and to customers
  • Installing loop detectors may shorten the life of your floor surface or pavement
  • Loops go bad, can get damaged by weather or heavy vehicles, and the more wear on the loop, the more inaccurate they are
  • You can’t get accurate level counts because people don’t always stay in one lane, which throws off your numbers

Manual Audits
leakage in your parking facility means you're losing revenue.

When doubtful of occupancy counts, parking operators resort to gate audits and receipt reconciliation to determine their true parking availability. If you’re one of them, you know that manual counting uses up resources, and doesn’t guarantee you’ll get greater accuracy. Or perhaps you’ve purchased a license plate inventory system, adding more expense and tying up personnel. In the end, you have to adjust your counts, which leaves a large question mark looming overhead… Just how many cars are you losing?

Inaccuracy Affects Customer Satisfaction

Without accurate availability counts, you can’t guide customers to open spaces efficiently. With each decision a customer must make to find a suitable parking space, it’s taking longer to park, increasing frustration and decreasing satisfaction.


It can be tempting for some employees to pocket parking fees here and there, and without the certainty of the number of vehicles in your facility at any given time, it’s difficult to know just how much revenue is being lost, and on what day or time of day it occurs most. Parking owners also report that their management company’s employees have been known to open exit gates near closing time to let customers out faster. That’s a scary thought —you have no idea who’s leaving or how much revenue is driving through the gates.

Stop Guessing and Increase Your ROI

With an open, SaaS software and LIDAR sensor parking availability and guidance solution, you can have greater than 98% accuracy levels – the highest in the industry.

Better Than Loops

  • Integrates seamlessly with your legacy PARCS and other systems so you increase the ROI on existing equipment
  • Integrates data sets from all your parking systems into one comprehensive dashboard view, so you know exactly what’s going on right this minute
  • The improved accuracy you get from LIDAR sensors means more revenue because you maximize availability and can stem leakage
  • By choosing above-ground sensor equipment, there are no surveys to deal with and no tearing up the infrastructure
  • Because the sensors are mounted on pole or ceiling, they stay out of harm’s way and won’t get damaged

A sensor counting system can activate your gates just as those unsightly loops can, but unlike loops, sensors continue to count vehicles even with the gates up. So next time someone decides to lift the gate to let vehicles out faster, you’ll know when it happened and how many vehicles passed through.

Have the Right-fit Technology for Each Environment

Not every situation calls for parking occupancy counts by individual space. You might need that granular data for your garages, but you may only want zone counts for your parking lot. Find a vendor who will work with you to configure the most cost-effective solution using the appropriate sensors for each environment, floor surface and the indoor/outdoor climate. Discuss the degree of counting specificity you need – by facility, level, zone, row or space. Then choose magnetometers, cameras, radar or ultrasonic depending on need and budget. With an open platform and SaaS software, your vendor should be able to integrate the equipment you want or already have, so your options will be pretty much limitless and you’ll have real-time data for accurate guidance and reporting.

It should be seamless to integrate real-time availability data, with not only your PARCS and other parking systems but with variable signage, indicator bollards and pucks, parking apps, your social media accounts and website, to increase customer satisfaction and revenue.

Rev up your ROI with Open SaaS software and a LIDAR sensor parking availability solution. For information on ATS ParkingCloud availability and guidance solutions, contact us now or visit our webpage.


Parking Systems for Colleges

How to Increase the Accuracy of Your Campus Parking Availability Information

cost-effective smart parking solutions for universities and colleges

I have sometimes thought of the modern [U.S.] university as a series of individual faculty entrepreneurs held together by a common grievance over parking.  – Clark Kerr, former President of the University of California

If you manage parking operations at a college or university, you want to help students and faculty find open spots safely and efficiently so they can get to class on time. Unfortunately, it often feels as if the cards are stacked against you.

Adding more parking structures can be cost-prohibitive and won’t necessarily solve the availability problem. Parking occupancy levels can vary from structure to structure due to class schedules, campus events, traffic, weather conditions and many other factors.

Oftentimes, the total number of parking spaces is adequate to handle demand, but availability varies by location depending on the time of day, the day of the week, campus events and other factors. If there’s no system to share real-time availability information, parkers won’t know where to look.

Perhaps you have an availability system that is inaccurate, or the information needed to quickly guide parkers is inadequate. Perhaps you have multiple parking systems that don’t communicate with each because they’re technologically incompatible, outdated or both. Or like many universities, you have no system at all.

If your university relies on performing manual counts to understand inventory, you know this isn’t the most practical solution nor is it giving you real-time availability counts. The right parking system automates the process so you don’t have to do manual counting.

Inadequate Parking Availability Hurts Your School’s Image…

You can’t keep inadequate parking availability a secret. One college visit can be all it takes for parking hassles to discourage a prospective applicant or teaching candidate. Students and faculty may be habitually late for class, which hurts productivity and leads to reduced student engagement and teachers’ job satisfaction. Problems compound when would-be parkers create congestion in lots, garages and roads. Congestion caused by vehicles circling for parking has a negative impact on air quality, which hurts your institution’s Earth-friendly image.

…and Your Pocketbook

Games may be under-attended because spectators would rather not deal with parking hassles. Special events can be a nightmare for campus personnel and police directing traffic.  Hundreds of cars descending on campus can cause endless queues at parking areas or parking illegally.

While parking tickets can be a source of funding for colleges, they don’t fix the underlying parking issues. Some individuals will even accept parking tickets because they care more about getting to class or work on time. But they’re not happy about it and that affects both student and employee satisfaction and retention.

Optimize with Real-time Availability Data

The answer to your campus parking problems is not building more spaces, changing the parking rules or handing out more fines. It’s about optimizing the utilization of the spaces you already have, and to do that, you must have highly accurate, real-time parking availability data from all your garages, lots and on-street parking in one central place. With insight into your total parking inventory, you can stop the circling cars, ease congestion, guide parkers into spaces faster and get them to their destinations on time. And most important of all doesn’t cost a fortune.

With real-time availability data you can:

  • Understand space availability (including premium or restricted spaces) by location, zone, level or individual space
  • Send availability information immediately to variable message signs around campus and at parking entrances
  • Share availability in real time with students, faculty and visitors on your campus app, website and social media
  • Direct parking traffic efficiently at orientations, graduations, alumni and parent weekends, football games and other highly attended events
  • Spot trends by location or overall, such as changes in demand, unexpected occupancy spikes, and understand the impact of class schedules, seasonality and other factors
  • Make smart, money-saving decisions based on accurate data when it comes to building, renovating or expanding parking
  • Move toward predictive parking availability

Successfully addressing campus parking availability issues doesn’t have to cost a fortune. If you’d like a simplified, highly accurate smart parking solution that works with the systems you already use, talk to us.

Smart Parking Systems

Improve the Parking Experience with an Open-Platform Parking System

We all want to provide a smooth parking experience for our customers, employees, students, shoppers and more. Whether you’re buying one component of a parking availability and guidance solution, outfitting a single lot or garage, or building a system for your entire parking environment, your goal is to solve parking challenges with a system that can handle future needs—not create new issues.

You need a solution that doesn’t require an engineering degree to implement. The system should be flexible, cost-effective and able to disseminate information throughout your diverse infrastructure— lots, garages, street parking. The right solution will meet your high-accuracy needs at a price that will drive value and ROI.

That’s quite a list, but the good news is that the solution is simple: If you want a highly accurate system that delivers a superior parking experience for customers and makes your job easier, you need an open platform parking solution.


What is “Open Platform”?

open platform smart parking systems

The key difference between an open platform and a closed system is the ability to connect to different data sources and outputs without having to pay for custom coding to integrate it with your existing systems, new technologies or a specific component from another manufacturer. The open platform has pre-built integrations or toolkits that make this a simple process that the supplier has to worry about, not you. But what does this have to do with the people looking for a convenient place to park?

Lots. (No pun intended.)

Here are five benefits of an open platform parking availability and guidance solution.


#1 You can have the most accurate counting solution for each separate component of your parking operation

Most parking operations have a number of different environments in which tracking availability is necessary—garages, lots and street parking, to name the most common—and a variety of applications they want to deploy, such as availability and guidance, access control, safety and reservations. Messaging, mass notifications, custom analytics and integrations with other systems may also be required. The challenge is that there isn’t typically one technology that fits every environment or configuration, and there aren’t any suppliers who cover every possible scenario.

Across it all, you want one “source of truth”: a central system where you can see the availability, utilization, occupancy time, duration and type of parking stay at every structure under your management. This level of efficiency can only happen when you have very high accuracy rates, and without them, you can’t solve your parking problems.


#2 Choose the most cost-effective availability and guidance solution across your operation

You have a budget to meet, but the desire to have one system of record for all of your availability data means that you

choose cost-effective and accurate smart parking technology

must make tradeoffs in terms of cost and accuracy—unless you invest in an open platform.

An open platform allows you to integrate the most accurate technology and manage the cost at each location. Perhaps you need availability information at the lot level at Location A, so using one laser or thermal camera at an entrance and exit is sufficient. At Location B, you may require bollards for every space as well as the ability to know the exact number of premium spaces on each level. An open system allows you to choose the right system for each location to optimize costs while at the same time achieving your parking goal. With the right systems in place, you can reduce congestion in your garages, lots and on-street parking locations, so parkers find the best spot, faster and with far less hassle.


#3 Future-proof your operation

You invest in a great new system with all the latest technology, only to have it leapfrogged the next year by a more accurate, cost-effective component that would solve your problems but you can’t add it to your system because it doesn’t integrate with your technology. If you have an open platform parking system, you future-proof yourself against obsolescence and keep your options open as new, more accurate and efficient options are introduced.


#4 Leverage your current technology investment

You need to be able to adopt future technology improvements as needed, and leverage the investments you’ve already made. Parking hardware can be expensive, and being able to re-tool it into the next generation of parking technology is a benefit when you are looking to add to or upgrade your system. This means the ability to pull in data from your on-premises PARCS or ALPR system for availability, integrating new devices to supplement your existing configurations or devices, and leveraging your signage, apps or website for guidance can all reduce the cost to upgrade and provide you with the most flexible path to introducing new technologies on an ongoing basis. Not only are you saving time and cost, but you’re also increasing efficiency levels while reducing parker stress levels—a win-win situation.


smart parking lot#5 Freedom from vendor constraints

End of life issues, price increases, maintenance and other cost issues as equipment ages are ongoing challenges with a closed system. In the event that the vendor doesn’t progress at the pace or with the technology you need as you grow and expand, it can be difficult and expensive to switch. Other issues include hardware purchases and installation, software configuration, custom integration with other systems and the learning curve for your IT and maintenance staff.  These are all  barriers to switching that can be insurmountable.

By selecting an open and interoperable solution, you can select the technology you want with the peace of mind that your investment is protected. You reduce complexity and add flexibility without giving up highly accurate counts across your operation.



By creating open solutions for your smart parking system, you can better meet today’s needs as well as tomorrow’s without sacrificing accuracy, efficiency or affordability. This is a win for you, your stakeholders and your customers.

For more on the benefits of open platform smart parking solutions,  download our white paper How to Achieve “Availability Certainty” Using Connected Parking Systems and Real-time Data.

Blog, Traffic Data

Sharing Traffic Data: How Law Enforcement, Public Works and Municipalities Benefit


Public Works Installs SpeedLane Pro Counter Classifier from ATS


As towns and cities everywhere become more populated and industry continues to grow, our roads have become more congested, with more residential and commercial vehicles hurrying to get where they’re going. Increased traffic means more delays at some times and more speeding and traffic incidents at others. Though the solutions may be up for debate, one thing is for sure, the state of traffic on our nation’s roads falls under the jurisdiction of law enforcement, public works and local government in some way.

It can lead to the need for more frequent road maintenance, especially in areas with heavy commercial traffic, and traffic studies in others, to address shifts in population and commerce. For law enforcement, increased traffic has traditionally meant more officers assigned to carry out the important, neverending tasks of enforcing traffic speed, managing safety and responding to community concerns about both. For municipalities and public agencies, increased traffic has meant assigning more traffic engineers and other personnel to carry out the important, never-ending tasks associated with managing volume, speed and safety, as well scheduling road maintenance and construction.

Budget Restrictions Call for Creative Traffic Solutions

In today’s economy, cuts and hiring freezes have made it necessary for agencies and municipalities to become more resourceful in order to achieve traffic safety goals and manage risks. One solution lies in approaching the problem from a new perspective—one that leverages the technology with automated traffic data collection and reporting allowing for real-time sharing of data and analytics.

Sharing Data Has Many Benefits

Safer Communities
Sharing current, accurate data within a department and with surrounding agencies forms alliances that profoundly impact the safety and well-being public works departmentof our communities. Traffic intelligence enables coordination between traffic engineers who design roadways, public works departments who manage all the signage and road marking, and police departments who are responsible for traffic calming and enforcement.

For example, if there’s an area that experiences a lot of accidents annually, maybe that’s because the road markings or signs are inadequate, because the speed limit is too high, or because the intersection signal timing is too rapid. There are a number of reasons why those accidents may be occurring that have little to do with policing. Sharing traffic data helps departments lessen their individual burdens and responsibilities of calming traffic, reducing accidents and making roadways safer for the public.

Budgeting and Funding
school zone safety radar speed signCooperation among multiple departments within city and town governments is important as well as mutually beneficial. Spreading the cost of traffic safety equipment and software across two or more budget proposals has a better chance of being approved than if one agency makes the request. Government agencies often notice this trend when applying for grant funding. Many of the high-dollar grants require multiagency participation and that can be difficult when not all agencies share the same mindset or commitment to the partnership. By sharing traffic data with other agencies, partnerships can be formed, and groups can work together toward funding the solutions that benefit everyone.

Agencies can also pool their funds, such as for the purchase of traffic safety equipment that collects data. Recently, the Vienna Town Council in Virginia unanimously approved the purchase of eight portable SpeedAlert signs and Traffic Suite management software from All Traffic Solutions, which town officials will pay for using money from capital-improvement funds and the town’s traffic-engineering operating budget; the remaining portion will come from the Virginia Department of Transportation. “On a per-dollar basis, this might be one of the best expenditures we have,” said Councilmember Pasha Majdi.

LMPD with SpeedAlert radar speed displayATS customer Louisville Metro Police Department recently purchased nine new SpeedAlert trailers, complete with red and blue strobe lights, with funds provided by the Republican Members of the Louisville Metro Council. The radar speed displays upload speed and volume data to the ATS TraffiCloud automatically so the Department can run reports to respond to complaints, understand speed and volume trends and prioritize problem areas that require enforcement. The Department will share report access with the City Council and other elected officials so that they can monitor traffic information themselves.

Identify Problem Areas to Prioritize Enforcement

The ability to pinpoint high-speed areas and when problems are at their worst enables law enforcement to assign officers when and where they can do the most good, conserving resources and traffic equipment. With access to historical and real-time volume data for specific areas, the department of transportation can spot trends, look at ways to reroute traffic, change the timing of lights or make other adjustments to keep traffic moving and incidents at a minimum.

Long-term Planning
Traffic data can help identify what each agency will require in the future in terms of traffic safety and improvements. Analyzing traffic data allows municipalities to identify the locations and severity of traffic congestion and safety issues in the community to see which are trending upward and will require more long-term solutions, such as adding more traffic lanes or signals. Sharing traffic data helps law enforcement enormously in planning and budgeting for new traffic equipment and for resource allocation.

Holistic View of the Future
More and more municipalities are sharing data between agencies so that everyone can benefit from a larger, integrated database that paints a more holistic picture of the future. For example, when DOTs share traffic volume data with law enforcement, they can use that information to assign officers to a particular road during peak congestion hours. The vehicle count and classification data collected for traffic studies is helpful to them as well, for example, in identifying where trucks or motorcycles are most likely to speed through neighborhoods.

The city’s traffic engineers will find count and classification data useful, too. They can use it to determine how long to make turning lanes or to identify where they may need to reroute trucks away from heavy local traffic. Urban planners can use traffic data intelligence to plan new business and shopping districts, parking facilities and residential developments. Intelligent transportation and smart cities initiatives can use the data to build conditional messaging or dynamic traffic routing in real time, using a flexible open platform that integrates with existing equipment and systems. When public agencies share their data, everyone benefits from the combined pool of intelligence it creates.

Adopt a “Data-Analytics” Mindset
As municipalities and law enforcement find themselves continually challenged by the growth in population, commerce and sheer volume of traffic, adopting a data-sharing strategy to traffic management is more critical than ever. By applying a shared “data analytics mindset,” agencies can capitalize on the trends they see taking place. The result is informed decision making that leads to better traffic management and resource utilization, reduced congestion and work zone accidents, improved community relations and safer roads for everyone.

If you would like to simplify and streamline the collection, management and sharing of traffic data in your municipality, we’re here to help.

For more strategies and tips on how to use traffic data to reduce costs, maximize resources and keep your community safe, read our white paper How to Use Data and Analytics to Achieve Your Traffic Management Goals.

Blog, Smart Parking Systems

Why an Easy Smart Parking System is Better

ParkingCloud smart parking system dashboard All Traffic Solutions

Whether you’re buying one component of your parking availability and guidance solution for a single lot or garage, or building a system for your entire parking operation, you want it all. You want a solution with the highest accuracy levels, that’s easy to install, easy to implement and use, and easy to add on to as your needs change in the future. One that’s flexible enough to cost-effectively instrument and share information throughout your parking infrastructure—, at a price that’s affordable, that doesn’t require an engineering degree to implement, and that demonstrates strong positive ROI for your organization.

That’s a tall order, to be sure.

There are other smart parking “must-haves” as well:

Counting: Real-time availability and occupancy counts on a holistic level

Guidance: Direct parkers to available spaces and premium spots

Data: Having access to real-time and historical availability data provides insight for fast response, tracking and planning

Safety: Keeping parkers, pedestrians and vehicles safe is important for customer satisfaction and crucial to your operation

API: The ability to integrate with all your parking systems in real time is a game changer


Easy, affordable and accurate – the holy grail of smart parking solutions?

The quest for a robust yet simple parking system is not out of reach. You just need to know where to look.  ParkingCloud from All Traffic Solutions makes enterprise-grade parking availability and guidance accessible to everyone, regardless of size, type of facility or budget requirements.

  • Device-agnostic – you’re never locked into one vendor’s solution
  • Turnkey – you’re up and running in days, not months
  • Open platform – leverage your existing infrastructure and sensors
  • Real-time – up-to-the-minute data feeds to signs, apps, APIs or websites
  • Simple – everything in one location, accessible from one intuitive dashboard

If you’re fed up with trying to boil the ocean to achieve all that you need in your smart parking system, it’s time to step away from the stove. Easy is better.

For more information on All Traffic Solutions’ innovative smart parking solutions, contact us.

Visit our Smart Parking Solutions page.

Check out ParkingCloud NOW:  the world’s easiest and most accurate parking counting system

Blog, Parking Lot Blog

A Smart Solution for Real-time Parking Accuracy



With everyone from commercial operators and municipalities to colleges, universities and airports working to optimize operations, “smart parking” solutions can be a game changer. For parking professionals looking to reduce congestion, circling and emissions, increase customer satisfaction, optimize utilization, build yield-driven pricing strategies, increase safety and improve enforcement, deploying technology-driven solutions that cost-effectively provide real-time benefits opens whole new worlds.  

The Importance of Real-time Parking Accuracy Data

Your parking operation is adversely affected when you don’t have real-time availability data. Manually counting open spaces in your parking garage or on surface lots is ineffective and produces inaccuracies that have many repercussions. Let’s look at why tracking parking occupancy is important and the new parking counting system that gives you real-time parking availability counts with over 98% accuracy levels.

Why is real-time occupancy data so important? With real-time parking availability counts you can:

  • Send availability information to variable message signs in garages, lots and around your city to guide parkers to open spaces faster
  • Utilize historical parking count data to spot trends and anomalies so you can take action
  • Leverage availability data for long-term planning

For example, if you are a town with on-street and off-street parking facilities, you probably have high-volume areas where it’s difficult to find parking. As a result, drivers must circle for open spots, which makes them late for work, unable to shop and conduct business—and that makes drivers and businesses unhappy. Circling and waiting in line also cause congestion on streets and in garages and surface lots. That congestion, in turn, creates traffic problems and safety issues.

A Smart Solution is Plug-and-Play

One solution is to install a ParkTrak plug-and-play counting system from All Traffic Solutions. ParkTrak uses laser technology to precisely count vehicles with over 98% accuracy.  With ParkTrak, you can generate accurate availability counts and send that real-time information to your signs, apps, websites and more. 


ParkTrak is better than loops or cameras:

  • Mounts overhead or on a pole—no cutting up the cement, gravel or asphalt
  • Installs in under one day with no interruption to parkers
  • Easy to set up—just mount, point, and set directional ranges for vehicle detection. The audible beep tells you ParkTrak is detecting and ready to go!
  • Uses directional logic to detect tailgating vehicles, back-ups, vehicles entering/exiting the wrong way—even pedestrians, bikes and carts (Loops and cameras can’t do that!)

ParkTrak comes pre-configured for ParkingCloud™ so you have real-time access to data and analytics, including parking usage and availability reports, and can push information to wherever you need it. It can also integrate with other systems you’re already using.

If you would like to learn how ParkTrak can help you optimize your parking availability and guidance solutions, an ATS parking solutions expert is happy to assist you.





Blog, Traffic Stop Blog

Maximize Your Budget with Versatile Traffic Management Devices


Most organizations are looking to do more with less, but this can be difficult when it comes to something as critical as traffic safety. One way to maximize your traffic management budget and see better results is to employ multi-purpose, web-enabled traffic devices. 

What is a multipurpose traffic device? 

speed trailer variable message sign ALPR

ATS 5 Speed Trailer with ALPR device and SpeedAlert 24 radar message display

A multipurpose traffic device is traffic management or traffic calming equipment, such as a radar message display, vehicle counter classifier or speed trailer, which can be utilized in more than one application.

Here’s an example of an extremely multipurpose radar message display:

Many police departments and departments of public works own radar speed signs that display driver speed as each vehicle passes. Radar speed signs are very useful – All Traffic Solutions makes two sizes of portable radar speed signs that our customers swear by.  But if you want to do more than display driver speeds, but don’t have the budget to purchase different types of signs, then a radar message display is the answer.  These versatile radar signs record and display driver speeds, and you can also program speed-dependent or other messages to display as well. 

For example, when the Blue Honda Civic drives through the school zone at 15 miles per hour, the sign flashes their speed followed by a message to HAVE A NICE DAY.  But when the black Mustang drives through that same school zone going 38 miles per hour, they see not only their speed but a flashing TOO FAST! message as well. Taken a step further, the sign can also be equipped with flashing red and blue lights and an audible alert that sounds to warn students and crossing guards that a speeding vehicle is approaching. These instant, jarring reminders grab drivers’ attention so they slow down fast.

That radar message display can also be utilized as a variable message sign; for example, it can be moved to another road each Saturday to direct drivers to available parking for the high school game. Having radar speed displays that can be used as variable message signs can really stretch the budget.

Versatile SpeedAlert Saves Department Money

In Maryland, the Montgomery County Police Department utilizes ATS SpeedAlert 24 radar message displays on ATS 5 speed trailers both to calm traffic and to share notifications with the public. Because SpeedAlert 24 can also be used as a variable message sign, MCPD no longer needed their old message trailers and were able to reduce their monthly maintenance fees paid to the transportation department by half. “Our old speed trailers were really just window dressing that told drivers how fast they were going,” said Officer John Powell. “We now have dual-purpose speed and message trailers that provide valuable data we can use to clear complaints and calm traffic.”

The department’s seven existing custom speed trailers and seven message trailers were cumbersome to haul from location to location, and though they displayed driver speeds, they did not record speed or volume information and were too large to station on many roads. After seeing all that SpeedAlert 24 web-enabled radar message displays could do for them— such as record accurate speed and volume data and display speed-dependent messages—MCPD purchased six. They also purchased six ATS 5 Trailers for their new signs which, unlike their old trailers, are lightweight and can be maneuvered easily without using a truck. This saves on fuel and maximizes available resources.

StatTrak counter classifier with speed measurement is deployed on a pole in Natick, MA

Web-enabled radar message displays like SpeedAlert can also capture speed data, either while the sign is illuminated or in stealth mode so as to not affect driver behavior as it captures benchmarking data. Law enforcement, departments of transportation and municipalities all use SpeedAlert to run fast speed studies.

Count and Classify… and Measure Speeds

Vehicle counter classifiers can also be multipurpose wonders. In Massachusetts, the Natick Police Department rely on ATS StatTrak roadside counter classifiers’ speed measurement capability to run quick, accurate speed surveys that they can generate in seconds using the TraffiCloud remote traffic management system. StatTrak is installed on the side of the road, away from direct vehicle contact for safety and uninterrupted traffic flow. The speed surveys are used to address speeding complaints, to determine if the department should invest more time and resources into a particular roadway, and since oftentimes the data proves there is no issue, the Natick police can prioritize their resources more effectively.

Speed Trailers Pull Double Duty with ALPR Inside

Since that speed trailer is positioned at the side of the road anyway, why not add a portable automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) system?  Capture license plates to locate vehicle owners who have outstanding arrest warrants or unpaid tickets, cover access points for wanted vehicles or know exactly who’s on your campus. ATS 5 Trailers are available with optional all-in-one ALPR systems that are designed to simplify deployments from specification through installation.

If your agency struggles to make every dollar count, look into multipurpose, resource-saving traffic management devices.

Blog, Parking Lot Blog

Getting to 99% Accuracy with “Right Fit, Right Technology” Solutions: Part 2: Why Platform Matters

You want the most cost-effective availability and guidance solution across your parking operation

Continuing with the last post, while understanding your parking operation has a variety of needs and environments, you also have a budget to meet. The dizzying variety of options can quickly result in a technology solution that can over-equip you with the wrong sensors or below desired accuracy levels simply because the manufacturer you’re working with is only able to offer a limited technology choice. The desire to have one system of record housing all of your availability data means that you must make trade-offs in terms of cost and accuracy, unless you invest in an open platform instead.

An open platform allows you to not only integrate the most accurate technology, it also allows you to manage the cost to the level of accuracy you require. If you want to provide lot availability information, for example, instead of counting each space using individual sensors (ultrasound or magnetometer, video or camera), you might be able to count “ins and outs” to a zone, using one laser or thermal camera at an entrance and exit, if you don’t need space indicators above every spot. You can use those for your highest value spaces and instead use a bollard or zone guidance sign to optimize costs while at the same time

You need to future-proof yourself

We all know the scenario: you invest in  a great new system with all the latest technology, only to have it leapfrogged the next year by a more accurate, cost-effective component that would solve your problems even better and at a more attractive price point. But you can’t add it onto your system because it doesn’t integrate with your technology. In many areas of business, this has been overcome with the widespread adoption of open or interoperable systems, but in parking availability and guidance, there are few that have the ability to seamlessly add new technology when that “killer app” comes out.  

By leveraging an open platform, you future-proof yourself against obsolescence and keep your options open as new, more accurate, more functional and oftentimes less expensive options are introduced.

It’s best to leverage your current technology

Not only do you need to be able to adopt future technology improvements as needed, you want to retain your ability to leverage the investments you’ve already made. Parking hardware can be expensive, and being able to re-tool it into the next generation of parking technology is a benefit when you are looking to upgrade.

Pulling data from your on-premises PARCS or ALPR system to provide availability, integrating new devices into your technology stack that supplement your existing configurations of loops or cameras, and leveraging your signage, apps or website for guidance can all reduce the cost to upgrade and provide you with the most flexible path to introducing new technologies on an ongoing basis.

It’s important not to get locked into one vendor

A corollary to the last two points, getting locked into one vendor has many negatives. End of life issues, price increases, and maintenance and other cost issues as equipment ages all add together to create ongoing challenges with a closed system. In the event that the vendor doesn’t progress at the pace you need as you grow and expand or go in the direction, from a technical perspective, that you were expecting (or that the industry is), it can be difficult to switch.

The lifetime of parking equipment can be a number of years, and the investment is not insignificant, so switching can incur major costs, both hard and soft. Hardware purchase and installation, software configuration, custom integration with other systems, and the learning curve for your staff (including IT and maintenance) all compile to create a barrier to switching that can be insurmountable.  

By selecting an open and interoperable solution, you provide the flexibility to select the technology you want with the peace of mind that your investment is protected.

An open platform can extend beyond parking availability to integrate with any device or data set

On an ongoing basis, new data sets are introduced that have the potential to improve your parking operation—traffic and congestion feeds, city-wide parking availability apps, campus apps, HR systems, mass notification solutions, and yield management applications that leverage broader data sets, for just a few examples. With an open platform your options become endless. You can either ingest data from these sources or push your availability data to them to increase the impact of your efforts.  

By integrating your availability data or information about individual vehicle locations, the reach of your parking system can extend throughout the organization or community in a way that you may not have anticipated.  

Regardless of the sensors or signs required for your parking availability and guidance solutions, integrating new, more cost- effective or more functional technologies will always be a need. By creating open solutions for your technology stack, you can better meet your needs for today as well as establish the infrastructure that will take you into the future, regardless of your next generation needs or technology advancements. This is a win for you, your stakeholders and customers, and for parkers everywhere.

For more information or to request a quote, contact an ATS parking solutions expert.

This post is an excerpt from the ATS white paper Getting to 99% Accuracy with “Right Fit, Right Technology” Solutions: Why Platform Matters.

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