LA Developer Creates Better Parking Experience


LA Developer Creates Better Parking Experience

It’s not often that the owner of a parking operation actually creates a product in-house to be used by its customers to make their parking experience a better one.
Enter Caruso Affiliated, a real estate and high-end shopping center developer that wanted to give its customers a more stress-free parking experience. Now, guests at The Grove in Los Angeles can enjoy two hours of complimentary self-parking without the hassle of handling paper tickets, credit cards or cash – this is a shopping center first.
“FlashPark” is a patent-pending technology platform developed by the company, with efforts headed by Matthew Stoehr, its Senior VP for Information Technology, and was created using the latest Microsoft and mobile technologies.
FlashPark incorporates directly into the existing Grove smartphone app, which launched in 2012, and offers the opportunity for guests to park without taking a ticket or paying at a pay-on-foot machine.
When guests arrive at the parking facility at The Grove, they scan a barcode that has been downloaded on their smartphone at the entry ticket dispenser and again at the verifier as they exit. The application, interfaced with the Skidata parking equipment, debits their parking fee, if any, from their account.
The guest’s account balance is displayed when they use FlashPark at any entrance or exit.
Offering ease of use, guests don’t have to be concerned about on-site payments or even lost tickets, and they are notified to reload their account online when the balance reaches a predetermined level. They can “top up” their account in $25, $50 and $100 amounts.
The company sees this application as a way to provide a smooth interface with the parking facility for returning patrons and to make the entry and exit process fast and simple.
After less than 90 days in operation, the program has more than 3,000 guests who have signed up and are using the app.
“Smartphones are central to the lives of most of our guests,” Stoehr said. “They use them for everything from online purchases to theater tickets and restaurant reservations. They text, email, and even talk on them,” he said with a smile.
“We are seeing cities around us like Santa Monica and Los Angeles using pay-by-cell for on-street parking. By offering this service, we are extending the use of the technology and adding convenience for our guests.”
A convenient reader has been added to the entry ticket dispensers and the exit verifiers. The driver simply places his phone with the barcode displayed, much as they do when they board an airplane. The sensor detects the barcode, verifies it online, and the gate opens. Time elapsed: less than it takes to push a button and take a ticket.
“At Caruso Affiliated, we are committed to providing innovative services,” Stoehr said, “and the FlashPark platform will differentiate the onsite experience and offer the next phase of unparalleled services to our guests. We look forward to expanding it to other Caruso Affiliated properties down the road.”
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Article contributed by:
John Van Horn
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