Intelligent Car Parks: How Technology is Transforming Parking

Due to the increasing adoption of new technologies in sites and facilities across the country, the humble car park is now becoming a place where innovation can truly prosper. As stakeholders look to optimise operational efficiency and cut costs, things such as cashless payment, ANPR and real-time incident reporting are starting to be ingrained into the fabric of car park design, maintenance and improvement.

And, as the industry makes the move towards more automated features, the increase in technology is likely to contribute to the development of parking services that are more agile, responsive and convenient than ever before.

In this article, we’ll cover these modern solutions and how car parks are benefitting from them.

ANPR technology

Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) is perhaps the most commonly used innovation right now, leading the charge of modern car park tech thanks to its proven, effective ability to better manage parking facilities, enforce payments and ensure the site is being used in the appropriate manner. For businesses, the 24-hour monitoring means that not only is admin is reduced but accurate data-points provide strong, irrefutable proof when making the case against unauthorised users. Since ANPR allows the landowner to monitor the duration of stay, they can theoretically gain the maximum amount of profit too.

Video surveillance camera on a wall looking at street parking zone

It works by using special cameras that detect the number plates of vehicles entering and exiting car parks. Specially designed to take on skewed angles and perspectives, as well as mirrored plates, they also employ infrared technology to detect changing light levels, allowing pictures to be taken at any time of day or night.

Cashless payment systems

Automating the process of paying for a car parking space, cashless payment systems utilise ANPR technology to deduct costs from a payment. Perfect for people who regularly use car parks which charge per stay, cashless payment systems automatically debit the correct amount without the user having to do anything.Users simply have to register their account once, connecting a payment card to their car’s number plate, and the system does the rest. This removes the risk of forgetting to buy a ticket or overstaying, and also removes the process of having to queue at a kiosk to make a payment.

Online permit management

Further to cashless payment systems, ANPR and API technology can also facilitate automatic permit management. Built for busy locations with a large number of permit holders, a web-based permit management system simplifies the process of approving permit updates, renewals and cancellations without the labour and physical printing costs.

Supporting different permit types, an online permit management system is perfect for car parks used by people with varying levels of access and authority. Furthermore, the digitalisation of permits protects the issuer against the risk of permits being fraudulently copied and distributed.

Naturally, the incorporation of ANPR into permit management can align the accounts with the other benefits of the technology. The owner of the site can better gauge how long each permit-holder stays, giving them insights into who is most deserving of the permits when it comes time to renew. And those people receiving the permits can benefit from the security features of ANPR – parking with the knowledge that their car is safe.

The use of big data

Big data is generally used to collect information from a number of sources as a way to glean patterns and trends associated with human behaviour. It should be no surprise then, that businesses and those in charge of parking facilities have been adopting the utilisation of big data; length-of-stay info, occupancy statistics and payment processing can all be used to optimise how things are managed and operated as a result.

Big data creates opportunities for businesses to set prices based on availability and other relevant variables, such as the weather or flight schedules for airport parking. The data received allows businesses to establish dynamic pricing strategies that benefit them in an ad hoc manner as well as off-peak promotions and optimum opening times.

Payment kiosks

Car parks of the past relied on their patrons to pay at manned kiosks. As the industry progresses and the marketplace dictates it, the need to be flexible and offer service users more choice becomes imperative.

An Asian businessman with curly hair and in sunglasses is paying his parking time via an outdoor terminal; a young man entrepreneur in a formal suit is making payment using parking meter on the street

Nowadays, innovative solutions are commonplace, with an extensive range of parking payment machines and options that allow customers to make transactions quickly and conveniently.

The need for physical staff is largely a thing of the past, with self-service kiosks configured to offer a range of chip and pin, coins, notes and receipt printing options, providing an all-in-one solution that’s easy to manage and helps to keep overheads low.

Bay sensors

Another way that landowners can keep track of vehicles entering and exiting their facilities is through the use of in-ground, surface-mount and overhead bay sensors. Developed to cater to almost any site terrain and requirement, from on-street parking to multi-storey facilities, bay sensors provide businesses with a range of benefits to optimise the experience for user and owner alike.

Thanks to real-time parking space guidance, trying to locate a space is greatly reduced, minimising driver irritation, while also allowing businesses to make informed decision-making about asset performance and user habits. They’re also quick, easy and cost-effective to install, minimising parking space closure time and traffic disruption.

Glyde Spaces

We also partner with Glyde, the parking and traffic solution specialists, to match motorists with both long and short-term parking spaces. We know how frustrating it can be to try and find a space, especially when you factor in things like work and social functions. Public transport isn’t always an option either, leaving businesses and residents to compete for parking spaces as a result.

Black car parking in line outdoor

Glyde Spaces allow space to be rented or leased out, reducing congestion and vehicle emissions, while also helping to make noticeable contributions to local neighbourhoods and communities. Their inventory of spaces allows for more readily available parking, helping those in need of consistent parking space, however long the duration. Businesses benefit from additional margin-rich revenue by using an under-utilised asset they probably didn’t even realise they had.

Variable Message Signs

Variable Message Signs (VMS) offer many advantages, and make good use of large outdoor spaces that would otherwise go to waste. Like bay sensors, they can guide motorists to free spaces and create paths to different levels of multi-storey facilities, optimising the flow of traffic.

They can also be used to display certain information to car park users. For example, a company car park may employ VMS to display weather and traffic reports to employees leaving work, while airports may have timetables for shuttle buses, so people know long they need to wait.

Along with parking prices and cautionary messages such as “don’t drink and drive”, VMS can also be used for digital out of home advertising (DOOH). Car parks close by or connected to shops and shopping centres can use their digital signage to advertise current offers and deals. Alternatively, retailers might use VMS as part of a special promotion to users of that car park only, such as for money off meals or cinema tickets.

ParkingEye is the market leading provider of ANPR on private land. Looking to improve your own car park management? Head over to our car park management solutions page for more information, and get in touch with us today!

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