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Parking space management for efficient use of parking spaces

What does parking management mean and which decisive factors must operators of commercial and municipal parking areas take into account for optimal and profitable use?

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Parking management: solutions to the challenges of efficient parking management

Parking management - what does that mean exactly?

Parking management refers to the targeted organization and control of the supply of and demand for parking spaces on public roads. It is part of parking space management and includes, in particular, paid parking on public streets and parking areas. It is usually used where vehicles regularly search for more parking spaces than are actually available. This can lead to increased search traffic, increased noise and environmental pollution, and parking violations. Parking management is carried out through the individual management of parking spaces or parking management zones, where parking is controlled and regulated through specifications, such as parking fees or time limits, in order to use parking space more efficiently.

Goals and areas of application

In addition to commercial areas, which are mostly operated by private companies, parking space management is also used in municipal parking areas. The focus here is on the efficient use of limited parking space, reducing traffic congestion and at the same time optimizing the quality of life. If parking areas are managed successfully, they can generate additional revenue. 

Commercial parking areas

With airports or train stations, parking garages, leisure operations such as swimming pools, but also shopping centers, commercial parking areas have the widest range. Efficient occupancy of these parking areas results from perfected management and administration, from which operators benefit. Not only can revenues be increased, but costs can also be reduced through the best possible management. Optimal occupancy of parking spaces not only increases the productivity of the space, but improved management can also reduce search traffic and backups, and also discourage parkers from parking their vehicles in prohibited areas. If the parking process runs smoothly overall, users of the parking area have a positive experience and their satisfaction is increased.

Municipal parking management

Municipal parking areas are provided and managed by communities or local authorities. They are usually located in urban areas where there is an increased demand for parking, for example, in public squares, near recreational areas, or even in residential neighborhoods. The purpose of managing municipal parking areas is to provide safe and regulated parking for citizens and visitors to the municipality, to direct traffic, to reduce parking problems and search traffic, and to promote the use of public transport and make it more attractive. 

Parking management systems 

To ensure regulated use of parking spaces, various types of parking management systems are used in private and municipal parking areas to make it easier for operators to manage their spaces. The different systems, based for example on barrier systems, parking meters or parking sensors, pose challenges and risks that hinder the efficient and profitable management of parking spaces.  

Management through cabinet systems

Barrier systems are the main component of a widely used system for managing parking areas. They require stopping upon entry and exit. This often leads to congestion and waiting times, especially at peak times, which is not only frustrating for those looking for parking, but also affects traffic flow, contributing to higher CO2 emissions. For operators, management systems based on barriers mean high expenses, not only in terms of purchase but also in terms of maintenance. If the systems fail, operators incur further costs due to repairs. In addition, revenue may be lost during the outage if parking areas can be entered and exited in an uncontrolled manner. 

Parking ticket or parking meter and staff patrols

The drawing of parking tickets or the use of a parking meter is another way of managing parking spaces. Although parkers are free to choose the time for their parking period, if this paid time window is exceeded without paying another fee, the parking operator incurs financial losses. In addition, parking spaces are further blocked that are needed by other users and would generate further revenue. Operators incur costs due to the need for staff to patrol the parking areas on a regular basis. However, this does not guarantee the identification and subsequent tracking of parking violators. 

Parking sensors

Parking sensors provide real-time information about the availability of individual parking spaces. Parking management systems based on sensors usually involve a very high investment. The implementation of parking sensors usually requires a significant initial investment for the purchase and installation of the sensors, as well as the necessary infrastructure that needs to be created on parking lots for this purpose. In order to function properly and send appropriate data, parking sensors need to be calibrated regularly, which leads to further financial burdens. 

Digital parking management

Digital parking management replaces conventional hardware-intensive management systems such as barrier systems or parking meters and offers operators of commercial and municipal areas many advantages. Thanks to automatic license plate recognition with the help of cameras, these record license plates as they enter and leave the parking area using ANPR technology in compliance with DSGVO. This saves operators high acquisition, maintenance and repair costs, among other things, in contrast to conventional barrier systems. At the same time, the elimination of barriers eliminates backups and reduces search traffic, which simultaneously reduces CO2 emissions and improves the quality of life.

Accurate, real-time parking detection can optimize the availability of parking spaces, thereby improving parking utilization. This reduces negative factors such as search traffic and backups, which the elimination of barriers further reduces. Parking areas become more efficient and increase their profitability through digital parking management, as operators not only significantly reduce acquisition costs, but additionally minimize maintenance and breakdown costs. Digital parking management can also automate the tracking of parking violators and provide an additional source of revenue without the need for additional human resources. Especially operators, with high pressure to optimize costs, can assign staff to more value-added tasks instead of tracking parking violators.

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Examples of successful management of parking areas

The operator of the commercial parking area of the Munich shopping center "das Einstein " with different user groups faced many challenges. In 2021, the barrier systems of the parking garage and the underground parking lot, which frequently led to congestion and long waiting times, were replaced by the barrier-free system solution from Peter Park . With the introduction of the digital parking management system, high maintenance and repair costs of the barrier system were eliminated. Since then, the experience for the various customer groups of "das Einstein" has been more pleasant, since, for example, long waiting times in front of the machines have been eliminated as well as backups in front of the barriers. The price structure, which is adapted to the different user groups, is an attractive plus point for both operators and parkers. For example, visitors to the fitness center integrated into the shopping center can easily obtain a digital discount for the parking period via an individual activation screen on a tablet installed there.

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