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Advanced Parking Management Systems

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Metropolitan areas across the world have seen exponential growth in tourism due to factors such as urban revitalization, and increased mobility of the middle class. Although this increase in tourism can benefit local economies, it also brings with it a frustration with parking, as a major concern. Tourists, and even locals, often do not know where to park, how fees are calculated, or when parking lots are open. Most importantly, they don’t even know if a parking place will be available when they arrive; meaning they could spend countless hours searching for a parking spot in vain. As you can see, parking is increasingly becoming a necessary aspect of transportation planning for metropolitan areas, events, and more. ITS products, such as AMPS, can help to reduce traffic congestion, and traffic jams.

APMS, or advanced parking management systems, is an ITS product, which helps people to find parking spots very quickly. This reduces visitor frustration, and enhances a tourist’s overall experience with a metropolitan area. APMS can include everything from pre-trip online information, to onboard navigation systems.

A study of APMS by the Federal Highway Administration analyzed data from across the United States using the expertise of ITS professionals across the country. The cross-cutting study helps those who are considering implementing advanced parking management systems by illustrating industry experiences on planning, design, operation, and maintenance. The study covers many advanced parking management systems success stories from various metropolitan areas.

One APMS success story is from Baltimore-Washington International Airport. At the airport, over 13,000 parking spaces are utilized daily. The airport utilizes an ITS product, known as SmartPark, has not only improved traffic flow during key hours, but it has also increased overall customer satisfaction. One survey even found that 75% of airport patrons felt that parking at Baltimore-Washington International Airport was quicker than other major airports.

In St. Paul, Minnesota, ITS products have been utilized to help the flow of traffic surrounding events. Advanced parking management systems not only helped patrons who were looking for special event parking, but even reduced the congestion at a major intersection. During the event, the total intersection volume at a key intersection increased 15%. However, by using APMS, the average vehicle delay also decreased by 10%, even with the traffic volume increase.

The study also generated some key findings to help other ITS professionals who are hoping to implement APMS. First, it is vital to involve all key stakeholders in a collaborative way to ensure that all needs are met. These can include travelers, the local jurisdiction, local neighborhoods, and parking or attraction operators. Secondly, it is important to coordinate AMPS signage structure with property owners, historical buildings, local jurisdictions, and other stakeholders. ITS professionals implementing APMS should also coordinate properly with the pre-existing regional ITS products. Successful deployment of your project will not only increase, but potential for shared funding opportunities may also increase. Finally, be sure to ensure system accuracy. System accuracy is critical because under-counting means available spaces become a lost opportunity. Conversely, over-counting spaces will leave patrons extremely frustrated, and endanger the credibility of your operation.