Friday, November 1, 2013

Going from Mechanical Parking Meters to Autonomous, Digital, Self-Locating Meters

Montreal Parking "meter" with bicycl...
Montreal Parking "meter" with bicycle lock ring (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Evolution of Municipal Parking: The march toward digital credentials(6 page pdf, Bern Grush, PayBySky,Oct. 15, 2013) 

Also discussed here: PayBySky 

Today we review a note by Bern Grush, a pioneer of a company in Toronto (SkyMeter) that uses GPS technology and a receiver on a vehicle’s dashboard to automatically record the time spent by that vehicle in a parking space and bill the driver’s credit card account automatically, thus eliminating all of the time and effort by city parking authorities and parking lots in manually collecting revenue. Grush outlines the progress over the years from the mechanical parking meter to the use of smart-phones to what he calls “autonomous parking meters” using self-locating and billing technology. This offers a quadrupling of revenue for the collection authority/city and a vast improvement and ease of use by the person parking his or her car. What is holding it back? 


Key Quotes: 

Smartphone payment technology is already diminishing the use of on-street meters. Intelligent, self-paying, in-vehicle technology will further contribute to their demise. In the foreseeable future, on-street meters will follow the phone booth into history, because fixed, physical, on-street assets cannot be as flexible as wireless systems such as smart phones, sensors and self-paying services.” 

“Pay-by-spot systems register a parking credential in a computerized control system which can be accessed at a keyboard or touch pad to determine whether a particular spot (in which a vehicle is parked) has a live credential, meaning a current payment has been made” 

“Pay-by-license-plate systems register a digital parking credential to a specific plate number, usually within a particular area or zone. Pay-by-phone systems are essentially the same except that the credential is created at a wireless phone rather than a multi-space meter into which a parker types a plate number.” 

 “the autonomous parking meter...self-locates a vehicle and automatically arranges a digital payment credential. The system removes the potential for user error, confusion or "forgetfulness" regarding correct payment, making it is feasible to plan for 100% payment compliance by participants.” 

“Low prices for street parking coupled with costly enforcement for small payments mean that municipalities generally spend about half of parking revenues on equipment and enforcement. Lower costs for payment collection and enforcement would at least double municipal net revenues in most U.S. cities. Pricing correction, whether to manage demand or to match off-street prices would double revenues again.” 

 “Most of our cities would be better off with 100% payment compliance than with issuing and prosecuting citations. And most of the companies that manage these urban fleets would also be better off with 100% payment compliance than managing the current load of citations.”
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