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December 13, 2012

The Benefits of Smart Parking

By David Gitonga, TMCnet Contributing Writer

Did you know that the parking industry is a $24-25 billion dollar industry? This industry, which includes parking facility management, billing and collection services, is highly fragmented but has been experiencing consolidation and outsourcing of the various operations. The industry is also very profitable within a small group of companies. In fact, it is estimated that about 3,000 companies with commercial parking lots and garages account for a combined annual revenue of more than $8 billion.

When it comes to personal navigation, the idea is to reduce uncertainty about a trip. People want to know how to get where they are going within the shortest possible time and without much effort. While a lot investment has been placed in how a customer wants to reach his or her destination, navigation in this area has not addressed where to park once you have arrived. Smart parking technology however wants to change all that.

Smart parking is intended to integrate navigation into the pre-trip planning process with such elements as parking fees, guidance to a parking spot and other elements. Smart parking providers are looking to attract users and then demonstrate the impact of their services based on occupancy rates and revenue over time. These providers are looking to grow in scale by increasing the number of industry players, cities and customer accounts, and also grow in service scope by increasing the number of services provided such as dinner reservations and shopping. Only by growing in both scale and service scope can they overcome the key challenge of attracting more users.

Smart parking benefits both the consumers and parking operators. Consumers no longer have to worry about cost, travel time and payment uncertainties while parking operators get reduced operations costs with enhanced long-term value of infrastructure.

Deploying smart parking will no doubt improve mobility considering that 30 percent of congestion is caused by search or cruising for parking.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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