Forward-thinking new approaches to parking management aren’t the easiest ideas to sell. The thing is, new innovations in parking management software solutions like pay by plate don’t have to replace existing systems. Parking managers can take a slower approach to replacing aging enforcement systems grandfathering in new technology to help foster acceptance at a comfortable pace.
The key to managing the change-over is proper integration. You can’t simply steamroll parking management software into broad, accepted use. This post will go over a few different ways to make the lives of parking managers easier during these periods of transition.
A MIXTURE OF PARKING MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT
There’s no ideal way to blend the old and the new, and there will always be a gap in acceptance when people have a multitude of options. When pay by plate is first introduced, certain drivers may stick with payment methods they know because the person parking his or her car isn’t sure how the new system works and isn’t excited about the change.
Until pay by plate gets over with the general public, which it will due in time, parking agencies need to maintain the status quo with a light touch while educating the public about what is on the horizon with the right mix of public relations campaigning and strategic integration.
THREE PIECES OF ADVICE WHEN BLENDING PARKING SYSTEMS
1. USE AS FEW DIFFERENT SOLUTIONS AS POSSIBLE
If making a full switch to pay by plate from your current system is simply not a realistic option, consider paring down the available offerings. Not quite ready to cycle out those curbside coin meters? Many cities are adding signage to the traditional coin meters allowing parkers the option to pay using their plate number with a mobile phone. People appreciate more options when they add convenience.
2. SELECT OPTIONS THAT INTEGRATE EASILY WITH EACH OTHER
Pay by plate works great alongside pay by space, as both are digital systems that allow parkers more convenience and PEOs a greater degree of control than they have with visually enforced meters. To help overcome inertia if you’re having trouble getting a new software solution off the ground alongside your legacy solution, point out that providing variety to customers can open up new revenue streams.
3. PUSH FOR A SINGLE CONSOLIDATED SYSTEM
Over a long enough timeline, pay by plate is going to prove itself as the best option for city- or town-wide parking enforcement. The benefits are wide-ranging, the convenience is extraordinary, and there’s really no downside. If it will help convince your superiors, point out cases like Pittsburgh, PA, or Seattle, WA, who is using a hybridized parking system, ‘the best of both worlds’, to meet its business needs.
TIPS FOR CHANGING PARKING SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS
KEEP TRACK OF METRICS THAT WILL HELP YOUR CASE
No one’s going to simply take your word for it, so data is your friend. If you can, focus on revenue enhancements, lowered enforcement budgets, and daily traffic flow improvements.
DON’T GO OVERBOARD ON HARD-SELL TACTICS
Use a light touch when dealing with superiors. Be firm in your tactics of persuasion, but don’t be rude or inconsiderate. You’ll catch more flies with honey, so the saying goes.
WORK ON PRACTICAL IMPROVEMENTS
You might not get the exact set-up you’d prefer on the exact timeline you’d like. That said, keep your head down and work on making whatever your situation is better, with a consolidation of multiple parking systems as a long-term goal.
BECOME AN EXPERTS ON ALL FACETS OF EVERY PARKING MANAGEMENT SOLUTION USED IN YOUR AREA
If you only know the benefits of the system you want to implement, people could remain skeptical of your approach. Come to know how the systems work that you’d like to replace, and you can present comparative analyses that isolate the benefits of pay by plate in terms fans of other enforcement methods will understand and appreciate.