Smart tech to improve your customers’ parking experience
The ability to reduce drivers’ stress and make your car park easier to use is a fundamental part of marketing your business. Also known as parking guidance systems, car park counting systems can help your customers arrive at your business less stressed, with more time on their hands, and in a better frame of mind to spend money with you.
To help customers and staff quickly and easily find a parking space – and reduce the stress of trying to find an empty spot – a car park counting system monitors both the incoming and outgoing traffic of your car park using various programs and data.
Parking Guidance Systems can be used in conjunction with your overall vehicle access control system to benefit your customers, employees, tenants and your business as a whole. They are ideal for use in shopping centres, education campuses, theme parks, airports, train stations, multi-storey car parks, transit hubs and more – simply put, practically anywhere with a car park facility. Depending on the overall design they aren’t as effective for smaller car parks.
Let’s look at how car park counting systems work.
What do Parking Guidance Systems do?
The technology known as Parking Guidance Systems (PGS) or car counting systems is designed to offer drivers real time parking information about your facility, thus making it much easier and faster for them to find an empty or available space.
A PGS is particularly useful when your patrons are pressed for time; for example in a hospital or other medical facility where finding a park quickly and reliably is more than just a matter of convenience.
For your business, a car park counting system can provide invaluable data about how your car park is used, for example overall occupancy, heat maps, how traffic flows at peak times, and the average duration of stay for your clientele.
Parking Guidance Systems can be as basic as an area or zone counting system, which tracks overall usage for a particular area of your car park. Or you can opt for a sophisticated and more expensive system which counts usage in individual car parking bays.
How car counting systems work
Parking Guidance Systems use a combination of technologies to help guide drivers to open spaces with less stress and effort, and much more quickly than they could on their own. This simple yet functional parking experience typically follows this process:
1) Parking Guidance Systems use a range of technologies at the entry and exit of carparks to show total availability of car spaces and to produce the data required for management reporting. These technologies include:
- Entry ticketing & boom gate control
- Licence Plate Recognition (LPR) system, or
- Just car counting sensors if an access control system is not in place.
2) Variable Message Signs show drivers the number of free spaces either on a particular level, a certain section of the car park, or even a particular row of the car park.
3) Parking space indicators – typically using RGB LEDs – show drivers where empty and filled spaces are.
4) Sensors pick up when a car parks in a space, reducing the number of free spaces available on the Variable Message Signs and changing that space’s LED to red to show drivers the parking space has now been filled.
5) As the driver leaves their vehicle and walks to their destination, the car’s location is saved in a temporary database.
6) When the driver returns to the car park, the Parking Guidance System can help them find their car using the car park help, pay stations or “find my car” technology.
7) Once the driver has left the space, the system marks the car park as empty and the process begins again for the next vehicle.
Though clearly each Parking Guidance System will have its own custom setup, this process is a good indication of how car counting system technology works in the real world.
How a car park counting system could benefit your business
Parking Guidance Systems offer a wide range of benefits – not just the obvious convenience for drivers, but also to you as the car park operator.
For drivers, a PGS helps to lower emissions and fuel consumption thanks to minimising the time it takes to find a car park. Clearly, they help drivers to find a free space more quickly so they can get to on with their day faster. And they reduce stress because drivers feel more confident that they will be able to park when they arrive.
For car park operators, Parking Guidance Systems provide valuable real-time data on how the car park is actually being utilised. They offer analytics that can help with planning for the current and future needs of the business. And they help run a car park much more efficiently, thanks to improved traffic flow and fewer delays.