Whether or not to delineate parking spaces is an interesting infrastructure issue for a municipality. Many communities often don’t consciously make the decision. For some, the powers-that-be from the generation before (or the generation before that) were the ones that made the call, and subsequent administrations have kept going along with whatever was previously decided.
This is all changing, however. To keep our modern municipalities functioning with ease and efficiency, almost everyone realizes planning needs to be part of the big picture.
This is why many municipalities are rethinking their parking management systems, replacing coin meters and other manual methods, and making the transition to new, more cohesive systems. Some of these parking management systems—specifically pay by plate and pay and display—can operate efficiently either with marked (delineated) or unmarked parking spaces.
So which is the right choice?
Advantages of non-delineated parking management systems
There are both benefits of non-delineated parking systems and delineated management systems, but the former is a more flexible option that can cut down on costs. These advantages span into several departments, and are often major pluses for motorists as well.
Lower infrastructure investment
As there’s no need for individually numbered stalls, there’s no need to paint lines and numbers on the ground or curb for stall markings. This is advantageous from a financial point of view: less financial investment and less labor expense. As there is no need to do regular upkeep to maintain delineated parking spaces, there is now less regular spend.
Even if your community chooses to outline curbside stalls—or if it was necessary in certain situations, such as for angle parking—numbers wouldn’t be needed. Just this would reduce the expenditure of labor.
Decreased inventory and servicing
Beyond using less paint, if your community (or specific zones) would use pay by plate, your parking system could be paper free. Receipts at kiosks could be optional, if issued at all. Motorists could also pay for their parking from their smartphone or tablet, never even visiting a kiosk at all. Again, the main advantage here is fewer costs realized on both paper and the manpower needed to keep kiosk printers stocked. The secondary benefit is environmental, as less paper would be used and less waste would be generated.
More efficient and accurate enforcement
For parking enforcement officers, not needing to match up vehicles to stall numbers could increase efficiency. This would, in turn, mean fewer enforcement officers needing to be on the job at any given time, something the administration will appreciate.
This is done through modern parking management software. With a pay by plate system and license plate recognition technology, it’s incredibly quick for vehicle LPR to capture non paid parking which then can dispatch closest officer.
This also cuts down on human error, as the plate number is being captured and verified by plate recognition software. . And motorists in your community are less likely to be getting tickets on technicalities because they keyed an incorrect number.
More flexibility in space size
Delineated parking spaces are shrinking—or at least they should. Previously our vehicles were much larger, and the curbside stalls had to accommodate them. Your community is missing out on parking income and residents and visitors are missing out on parking spaces if the lines are still painted to accommodate the land yachts that ruled well into the 1970s. With an unmarked parking space , you suddenly have more parking inventory.
Of course, there are those who still drive longer vehicles, travel in a motorhome, or are pulling a trailer. Delineated spots can pose a problem for these motorists. With lines that don’t accommodate their vehicle, they may find themselves unable to find parking or be unaware of how to appropriately get parking rights—buy one spot or two? No lines eliminate this problem and makes it easier for everyone while increasing revenue.
A hybrid dynamic alternative to parking
While pay by plate benefits read like a wish list of the latest in tech trends, we know that often real world compromises need to be made between creativity and convention, progress, and pragmatism. Some cities are doing just that with a unique blend of existing pay by space infrastructure and pay by plate system.
Selecting a new parking system
Admittedly, these are not all of the benefits of having unmarked parking spaces. To take that a step further, there are actually some downsides too. For instance, despite all of your planning, people who park poorly and uninformed visitors could actually decrease your parking supply by not efficiently utilizing the available space on the street.
Non-delineated spaces may also cause some confusion for those who are new to your city and are used to delineated parking. They may be confused about whether or not parking is allowed and may drive off to find a lot or more familiar delineated parking spots.
As you decide what would be a good fit for your ever-changing community, it may be helpful to compare parking systems, looking at the features and benefits all offer. To help you in that regard, we’ve created a white paper to help you better evaluate three popular solutions that could be a good fit for your municipality. Download it for free today.