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Smart parking could mean tricky new pricing, data models for cities

New research indicates real-time parking sensors could unlock new dynamic pricing models and data schemes that the public might not like.

Jason Shueh
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Jason Shueh Tech Editor

Jason Shueh is a tech editor at StateScoop with a specialty for civic tech and smart city news. His articles and writing have covered numerous subj...

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New research suggests smart parking meters may do more than decongest streets, but be a potential money maker for cities collecting fines and fees. 

Research firm IDC reports that smart parking technology that uses sensors or video to relay parking occupancy has potential to be a revenue generator as it alerts parking enforcement about violations and generates more funding through payment models like demand pricing. 

“These solutions provide increased control and management of streets and parking and enable easier compliance for drivers, meaning fewer tickets, while simultaneously bolstering revenue for cities via enforcement tools and variable pricing," said IDC's Mark Zannoni in the report.

The firm identified six ways the technology might boost revenue, including using parking data to increase prices based on demand during certain days and hours. In one example provided, when sensors detect a garage is 90 percent full, it can put premium prices on the remaining spaces. 

IDC noted two other potential tactics, such as using these systems to boost prices for specific parking spots in high demand or to charge additional fees for parking space reservations.

The report found smart parking can also boost revenues by enabling drivers to easily pay fines via smart phones or through their car dashboards like those in 2017 BMWs. Smart parking was also identified as having potential to increase the number of tickets through officer alerts. Some systems, IDC said, can supply officers with an optimal route to cite vehicles based on current violations and potential violations.

The last way to fill a city’s pockets may be the most controversial. IDC suggested that cities could consider monetizing certain parking data. If monitoring software uses video, for example, the city might also be able to capture the data on car models, something car manufacturers would likely be interested in if they could use that data to gauge customer interest in specific vehicle types and purchasing behavior. This knowledge could then be applied to what vehicle models are advertised in a region and the vehicle inventory dealers are given.

“While the city could openly publish certain data sets, allowing the developer community to create innovative and useful apps based on this data, the opportunity may exist (based on future demand) of selling or licensing certain data sets for certain uses in coming years,” the report stated.

In its research, IDC also identified a few of the most “innovative” smart parking vendors to watch that might help with such parking monetization. These included Fyber, Parkmobile, Smart Parking Ltd., and World Sensing. The common traits in all of the companies solutions were sensor-based systems that could interact with both drivers and parking enforcement officers.


*Information in this article references the reports IDC PlanScape: Smart Parking (IDC #US41440817) and IDC Innovators: Smart Parking, 2017 (IDC #US42558817).

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State & Local News, Innovation, Open Government, Open Data, Public Safety, Law Enforcement, Smart Cities, Transportation, Tech News, Emerging Technology, Internet of Things, IT Infrastructure, Modernization, smart parking, smart city parking, sensors, parking systems, parking management

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