There are a number of parking discussion groups forming at Linkedin. This is a business sort of networking web site. The parking discussions are fun. Join and check it out. There is a rather large one concerning parking guidance systems. There were over a dozen opinions, both pro and con. Following is what I wrote in response:
Whew!! What a lot of opinions. Just like….everyone has one. OK — Here I go.
I interviewed the head of a shopping center here in LA who installed a system for something north of $1 million late last year. He was very happy.
First of all, he says that even when his garage was “full” it really wasn’t. His research told him that there was upwards of 10% of the spaces (in corners, down alleys, etc) that didn’t get used. Bryan’s comment above tells me he has a nice, newly built and designed garage that is basically one long bridge turned on itself so every space is exposed to every car. Many garages under shopping centers don’t have that luxury. People literally have to search for spaces. And don’t like it. Lot full signs are notorious for being inaccurate. People know that. My guy in LA told me that having the system was the equivalent of building a garage across the street with 250 spaces in it.
Second. He said that the people love it (I know I do). Now I start to look for those red and green lights in every garage I enter.
Third, He believes that getting people up into the mall faster (up to six minutes he claims) means more shopping time. It also means, to him, that they aren’t driving round and round in the garage, filling the place with fumes. A nicer parking environment.
Fourth — He is on the cutting edge of technology in LA Shopping Center Parking, and people know it. Want to park easily and quickly, come to Century City.
My comment for Alan — If floors with just a few spaces are marked as “Full” then how many spaces is tha? Let’s say there are 200 spaces on the floor and you mark it full when there are 20 left. That means that my friend’s 250 space garage equivalent is right on. You have decreased your capacity by 10%. Forget about the loss of bottom line parking income; think about the merchants in the mall who now have 10% fewer shoppers.
We need to think about this from the point of view of the generator we are serving. If we are just a stand alone parking structure, then so be it. But if we are serving a shopping center, or a hospital, or an airport, then moving people in and getting them parked quickly is very important. These systems do help with that.
John’s company has a system or two installed in the UK where each space is monitored but for security purposes. If the car is moved and the ticket hasn’t been paid (you key in a space number when you leave to activate the system) an alarm is sounded and the dogs are released. This completely removed a long standing problem in the garage with breakins and car theft.
That’s enough for me