What Is Mobile Parking Guidance, And Why Do Universities Need It?

May 23, 2022
Alina Prioteasa

Not so long ago, cell phones were used only for calling and texting - nowadays they are used for just about everything - including driving directions and route guidance. Yet, doesn’t it seem unusual that Google Maps and Waze only get us there, then leave us aimlessly searching for parking on arrival?

So many questions run through a driver’s head, ‘How much is parking?’ ‘How long can I park there?’ ‘Where do I park as a plan B and C option?’ This burden we are faced with on a daily basis and far too often we struggle to find parking once we arrive - leading to stress, frustration and often being late to work or to class.

Finding parking is one of the leading problems for university students and visitors to college campuses. Traditionally, this meant students wasted hours every week scouring the campus for available parking spaces while trying to understand endless, confusing parking rules. Even more frustratingly, they regularly park a half-mile away from their destination as they can’t find a closer space that meets their permit entitlements, or find parking tickets on their cars when coming back from class. Students already have to be extremely cost conscious, which is why they are very receptive to innovative parking technology that helps make their lives easier (plus anything to help reduce those painful parking fines!)

Nowadays however the paradigm is finally shifting through technological advances, allowing university parking administrators to elevate the campus parking experience. Key to this is mobile parking guidance - by providing the ability for drivers to search for parking options and availability prior to their journey, students are reporting faster arrival times, less complaints about unwarranted fines, and less reliance on the customer service office.

With a mission to provide personalized parking guidance, Spot Parking has spent years of research and development in collaboration with major universities to deliver the industry’s most accurate parking guidance technology to your phone in seconds. We knew that if we could hand students back the 15 minutes they spend on average searching for parking each day, it would significantly impact their lives and lead to less complaints, less congestion and an elevated experience overall. Not to mention, the vital added benefit of drastically reducing the dwell time searching for parking - resulting in reduced vehicle emissions.

What is Mobile Parking Guidance?

Mobile parking guidance, at its core, provides drivers with only the relevant information they need to find the best place to park, giving student commuters, visitors and staff the confidence there will be a parking space available for them when arriving on campus. By delivering this information as an overlay of a familiar Google Maps interface, Spot’s Parking Finder illustrates the ideal parking areas on campus - relevant to the driver. In addition, Spot’s technology is designed to plug into occupancy tracking technology to display live parking availability, as well as predicted availability for a future date and time.

Spot Campus brings interactive parking guidance to the masses by digitally mapping personalized permit parking rules and entitlements down to the individual space. Having a system that visualizes the availability of parking garages, lots and curbsides allows drivers to make informed decisions on where to park, allowing for an optimal parking experience and less congestion on campus. The interactive interface also alerts drivers of changing parking conditions due to on campus events such as football or basketball games, construction, weather and more - this gives campus parking administrators the opportunity to communicate with drivers like never before.

The 5 Key Benefits of Mobile Parking Guidance

  1. Save-time and frustration

Searching for parking can be time consuming and exasperating. Having informed guidance allows drivers to make fast decisions to locate parking. Limiting the time lost searching for parking directly leads to less congestion in garages and surface lots as well as better customer experience with the time saved for students and staff to arrive to class on time.

  1. Limit parking violations

Finding available parking is not the only challenge drivers are faced with, they must also find a spot where they can legally park. This can be challenging as garages have different rules based on permits or times of the day. There is nothing more frustrating as a student coming back from class and seeing a parking violation on your car, caused by confusing parking rules. By utilizing the Spot Parking Finder drivers are able to identify locations they are entitled to park at any time of day, preventing future parking tickets and violations.

  1. Understand the best place to park

See a personalized view of the best parking spaces, understand permit rules and patterns of demand as they change based on the day of the week or factors impacting parking such school events, street cleaning, weather or construction. During sporting events parking and congestion often becomes chaotic. Understanding the best places to park ahead of time ensures an easier experience for both drivers and administrators managing parking at games.

  1. Plan your trip ahead of time

Having access to time-dynamic parking guidance directly to your phone ensures that anyone can plan their trips ahead of time. Prior to leaving their home, students and staff are able to identify their individual permits for the best parking opportunity in seconds.

  1. Less congested garages and improved safety

Almost 40% of all vehicle accidents resulting in physical damage take place during parking and maneuvering. As driver experience improves with the available parking information, drivers are no longer circling garages and lots. This, in turn, helps lower gas emissions and congestion on campuses.

The Next Step Your University Can Take

Many universities are perplexed in how to get started due to the challenges and barriers that campuses face in implementing new technology. The Spot Data Starter Pack helps campuses take the first step to digital parking by mapping every parking bay on campus, allocating the entitlements by time of day, and delivering a mobile-optimized campus parking finder. Under this model, universities are able to appreciate the benefits easily and inexpensively.

While Spot offers phone-based guidance for those commuting to campus, for school administrators Spot provides our Parking Intelligence dashboard to collate and analyze utilization data, identify trends and receive insights on the day-to-day use of your parking assets. By unifying data from multiple systems (such as occupancy, payment, EV charging stations), parking managers can follow live statistics, generate on-demand reports and make informed planning decisions, without having to manipulate the data themselves.

The Spot Data Starter Pack provides a pathway for institutions of all sizes to improve their mobility without great expense, risk, or human resource requirement as Spot handles the entire implementation. The result is a tool to benefit campus administration to better service students, faculty, and even first time visitors to campus.

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