Tailoring your requirements to the correct equipment
When considering a car park management solution from the wide choice available today, your chosen equipment must be tailored to the location, site-specific challenges, user demographics, operational requirements and growth plans to ensure it not only makes life easier but helps you make the most of such a valuable capital asset.
As well as addressing the immediate problems of removing complaints (often driven by unauthorised use), it can be optimised to lower operational cost, give site managers their time back and increase space turnover to boost parking or POS revenue, depending on what you want to achieve.
Before we get into the detail, you have 4 broad choices:
- Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) Solutions bring high levels of automation for a very ‘low touch’ administration, with many operators now offering a free installation. Abersoch Golf Club transformed their operation when they evolved from a manned solution to a ‘full-ANPR’ when integrated with paid parking technology.
- Manned attendants provided by a professional operator and represent your business on-site. They have the ability to issue Parking Charge Notices for inconsiderate parking but can also help with customer enquiries and mobility assistance when required. Again, blended solutions provide the ‘best of both worlds’, as with one of the UK’s largest supermarkets who we support with a combination of ANPR and manned services across their estate.
- Self-ticketing options allow your own team(s) to utilise modern hand-held technology to issue Parking Charge Notices and support the day-to-day operations on site.
- Barriers, whilst still popular, are not the go-to choice they once were. With ageing maintenance contracts and often temperamental mechanical parts frustrating operational teams, many businesses are now extending the lifecycle of their barrier by semi-automating with ANPR. Others are opting for a straight switch to full-ANPR – just like the Manchester NHS Foundation Trust.
Over and above these ‘types’ of management which may suit your operation, carefully consider the challenges you’re facing on-site and what value the car park could bring to growth plans.
- Reduce abuse (typical at town/city centres or near major hospitals/transport links) – Manned, self-ticketing or ANPR all provide effective means of eradicating abuse and enforcing compliance. However, ANPR is the most ‘admin light’ due to high automation which drives out both time and business cost. Manned solutions offer customer-centric engagement and flexible needs-based agility, whilst self-ticketing enables companies to retain their current workforce.
- Generate revenue from paid parking – ANPR can be integrated with easy-pay options like next-generation ‘ticketless’ payment kiosks, auto-billing capability for the ultimate drive in/drive out environment with an SMS on exit to confirm payment, as well as virtual permits (great for your CSR strategy). A service like Glyde Spaces logs available capacity on your site and matches your location with motorists looking for parking nearby to give you a brand new margin-rich revenue stream. Manual attendants can also take payments on-site but bear in mind loss prevention and security issues when emptying paid parking machines each day or revenue interruption when people are absent from work.
- Improve site flow – A temperamental, expensive-to-maintain barrier won’t do much for traffic flow in and out of your site, often leading to backlogs – either within the site itself or worse still onto public roads. Until switching to ANPR, this issue was so bad at Manchester NHS Foundation Trust that vehicles were blocking blue-light routes. ANPR-auto-payments are great for creating a positive, free-flow environment removing the need for payment on-site altogether.
- Free up time for busy on-site personnel/operational improvements – Nothing gives you time back like ANPR technology, removing the headache of manual car park management and greatly reducing complaints through better user experience. For instance, automated barriers at a busy hotel remove the need for reception staff to authorise entry manually or worry about who’s on-site. ANPR-integrated virtual permits enable back-office staff to manage thousands of permits simultaneously and make the application process easy. The removal of the barrier also reduces maintenance time/cost.
- Understand parking behaviours – Data generated by ANPR feeds insight around visitor numbers, daily/weekly/seasonal trends, occupancy levels, promotional opportunities, repeat visitor rates, contraventions, duration times and much more. Manned and self-ticketing solutions are unable to provide such information but only an issue if you need to know who’s on-site, when and for how long.
- Improve the customer experience – The big decision here is rooted in the types of users your car park serves. ANPR is super-efficient at getting your car park into shape, juggling different types of users, keeping track of visitors and ensuring your rules are clear – it gives you full control with zero-hassle. If you’d prefer to maintain a ‘personal’ element on-site, then manned may be best and of course is a good option if you welcome elderly motorists who may also prefer to pay via traditional ‘cash’ methods. If you want to make payment easy, then auto-pay is fantastic as are integrated ANPR payment kiosks which can be linked to location-based promotions (via apps like Glyde Loyalty), accept cashless transactions and match vehicle registration to make parking incredibly easy.
To find out more about how ParkingEye can help with selecting the right car park management equipment for your site, please visit our systems and equipment area. We have also covered how choosing the right equipment relates to different sectors – read that here.