31 Jan 2017
Before you can make any improvements or changes to your municipal parking system, you have to take stock of the situation. Ultimately, you could decide to completely overhaul your current system, or you might instead choose to simply make minor adjustments and improvements. Before you can do anything, though, you have to know what your current situation is. Running a comprehensive system assessment is a great first step, one that gives you a firm grasp on where you parking system is at today, and where it could be headed tomorrow.
This assessment will provide you with an analysis of the systems you have in place right now. It is not, however, concerned with evaluating metrics like parking occupancy and facility conditions. Rather, this assessment is less interested in measuring performance and physical condition than it is in what’s on-hand, where it’s located, and what everything (and everyone) can do. Once you know where everything stands, a comprehensive parking system assessment can feed into a budget evaluation and transition plan, should you wish to move forward with one. It can also illuminate areas for focus if you’d simply prefer to make enhancements to your current system.
You may look to have an in-house resource handle your assessment, or bring in a qualified outside parking consultant. But regardless of who executes this assessment, here’s a list of what’s important to assess among your systems:
PARKING ENFORCEMENT SOLUTIONS
- Handheld LPR readers and ticket printers
- Back office software and hardware
- Telecommunications and infrastructure resources
- Violations processing and payment notice generation
- Existing Integrations (if any) with pay stations, pay by cell, meters, LPR, etc.
METERS (PAY STATION OR SINGLE SPACE)
- Back office system evaluation
- Enforcement integration (if any)
- Payment processing and revenue collections
- Garage and Surface Lot (including access control)
OFFICE OPERATIONS AND STAFFING EVALUATION
- Available resources and personnel workload assessment
- Collective Bargaining Agreement Abstract (if applicable)
This assessment may be quite exhaustive, depending on the size of your city, so the sooner you get started the better, especially if you’re thinking you want to institute a complete transition. But even if you’re into something more modest, the assessment’s findings will put your mind at ease. This type of analysis is mostly concerned with putting your city on a path towards financial and operational success, as evidence by cities like Pittsburgh, which uses a comprehensive system assessment as a tool for making recommendations to its City Council. As you might imagine, the municipalities that have the most success with these assessments are the ones that keep the best interests of their businesses, visitors, residents, and other drivers at the forefront.