Parking Technology Review & How to Procure It


Parking Technology Review & How to Procure It

 This PIE 2016 presentation will feature reviews of
the latest parking technology and integrated solutions available.  
the considerations an agency must evaluate in order to address its short- and long-term parking planning and ensure an adaptive solution that will integrate with the ongoing evolution of parking technology.  
procurement processes and performance standards that should be considered when evaluating vendor solutions.  
This always popular PIE session will highlight the tips you need to consider when evaluating new parking technology. 
As 2016 begins, municipalities must identify their needs with regard to parking technology and development of a parking technology roadmap for years to come. 
The advancements in technology have filtered into the parking industry and are ever-evolving. A municipality must begin to frame its needs for now, next year and the years to come. 
Equally significant is having a base knowledge and understanding of those technologies, so that when the municipality reaches the point at which it is ready to procure new technology, it is educated toward available products. 
This PIE 2016 session will provide both an overview of available parking technology and a variety of considerations to evaluate in order to procure it. 
The Technology Investment
When identifying parking objectives, needs and the timeline by which the municipality would like to implement technologies, important considerations should first be evaluated. Parking technologies can be significant investments. Finding a product that is reliable and a user-friendly experience is vital. 
Because the technology investment can be so significant, a municipality must consider when an equipment “refresh” is needed, and whether to make incremental investments toward a phased approach or coordinate a large-scale technology installation.
To capture these important concerns, consider a customized service program, technology integration capabilities, and the need for an established partnership with the selected technology vendors. 
In more detail, when approaching a municipality’s vendor services, develop a program that will address not only the current needs of the municipality and operations, but its future needs as well. Make the vendor and the technology services work for the municipality, not the other way around. 
Next, when determining a technology that fits, keep in mind that most of the parking technologies today, including meters, paystations, mobile payments, and enforcement technology, are able to integrate with one another. 
For example, being able to give customers the option to pay at a meter or complete a mobile payment using one’s mobile phone provides options, opportunity and convenience to that customer. Therefore, when considering integration of technology advancements, enable them to further improve delivery and the quality of life of the municipality’s patrons. 
Lastly, it is vital that the municipality take advantage of the services the technology vendors provide. Therefore, develop an open and transparent relationship with vendors and seek ongoing performance data and feedback. Incorporating these may help create a more customized and hands-on parking operation. 
Addressing a Technology’s
‘Micro-Level’ Items
Beyond just “macro-level” considerations as they relate to a municipality’s parking program and technology roadmap, “micro-level” items need to be addressed that adhere specifically to each technology. 
For example, when considering technology that handles any form of payment, determine whether it is PCI DSS-compliant; whether ongoing data and transaction fees are associated with the technology and transactions; and the extent of the reconciliation, auditing and reporting features available through the vendor’s back-office.
Furthermore, defining aesthetic appeal and customer experience are features that must never be overlooked. It may be easy for a municipality to do so because of cost and functionality, but the truth is that the gap between technologies is slim, and finding the most suitable technology across many levels should be the most important.
Perhaps the most sensible way to make these extensive determinations on all levels, including macro and micro, is to consider piloting the technology. As a municipality, taking the opportunity to test these technologies, providing staff with the chance to learn how the technology works, and/or enabling patrons to actively trial the technology ensures that all key users touch the product and are able to provide feedback before any capital purchase is made. 
This is type of key engagement might be vital to making the best decision, which more than likely will be one that lasts for a number of years. 
Within the same arena of technology pilots and trials, municipalities must define whether a full RFP and procurement process is necessary, or whether the agency can “sole-source” the product directly without an RFP. Whether it be a technology pilot, an RFP or a sole-source, the process must be sure to include all relevant parties and create a clear and transparent scope of work as the municipality moves forward.
When defining a technology roadmap that is sure to reshape the municipality’s streets, parking facilities and parking operations for years to come, considering things such as ease-of-use and end-user experience are equally as important as price and visual appeal. 
Advancements in parking technology show no sign of slowing and, therefore, keeping a consistent base knowledge of industry standards and requirements must remain on the radar of every municipality.
Patrick Smith is an associate at Dixon Resources Unlimited.
He can be reached at
Article contributed by:
Patrick Smith
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