What is a parking management system, you ask? To put it simply, it’s any kind of system which helps people to manage their car park. There’s a huge range of different systems, but typically they include a few common elements:
While these elements are pretty consistent, how people manage their car park (and manage payment, monitoring, access and reporting) is hugely varied. Which brings us to...
Over the past few decades, what ‘parking management system’ refers to has completely transformed. Once upon a time, all it meant was a parking attendant clipping tickets and taking cash. Today, it’s a term that encompasses a number of wildly different setups and includes computer vision, software apps, automation and IoT.
We’ll take you from the prehistoric age of parking to the present day - from manual and time-intensive systems, to hardware, and then to cutting-edge software solutions.
When you think of a manual parking system, you might think of the slightly comical ‘man in the hut’ - someone watching the car park with binoculars, keeping records on a big ledger. However, many companies still run their car parks with at least some manual components.
If we check in with the four key elements to any car park management system, we can see the manual way to doing things:
As you can imagine, this absorbs a lot of time and human resources. Plus, a manual system has the most potential for errors and corruption - for example, parking wardens skimming from the parking fees, or not having time to accurately monitor all of the cars. It’s a net with big holes, which means it’s easy to lose part of your revenue.
For the past 50 years, most large car parks have been managed through hardware solutions. These solutions include the parking cash machines that often sit beside street parking, but we’ll focus on the barrier arms that block commercial and mall car parks, spitting out tickets on the way in, and requiring payment or a paid ticket on the way out.
In terms of those main four elements…
Hardware is reliable at taking payments, monitoring, and providing access control. However, it comes with high upfront costs, and the machines need to be maintained. This is why companies are now opting for a third option...
Expense is part of the reason that people are turning to car park management software solutions. However, software also promises a better experience for parkers, remote monitoring, detailed reporting, and the flexibility to suit any car park - public, workplace, tenant, visitor, and mixed-use.
Generally, a software solution includes:
When we check the four key elements, they look dramatically different once again:
Want to learn more about how a better parking management system could improve your employee parking? Check out our ultimate guide to solving staff parking problems!
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