ParkMobile Client Success Stories from Cities, Stadiums, and Universities
Table of Contents
We Love Our Partners
We are proud to share case studies for some of ParkMobile’s top clients. From implementation to launch and beyond, these stories will give you an idea of what you can expect when you partner with ParkMobile. Whether you are a city looking to launch a mobile parking app for the first time or a stadium trying to reduce traffic congestion on gameday, these case studies demonstrate how our clients have created highly successful parking programs with strong adoption and customer satisfaction.
Our selection of ParkMobile has proven to be a successful partnership from both operational and end-user aspects, with 50% of our on-street parking going through the phone app.” – David G. Onorato, CAPP | Public Parking Authority of Pittsburgh
In the following pages, you will learn best practices from cities like Pittsburgh, which launched its mobile parking app in 2015 and has achieved over 50% utilization of the app versus the meter. And you will see how Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta earned the #2 ranking for fan arrival experience with over 70% of event attendees reserving parking before driving to the stadium.
With all of these case studies, you will see how ParkMobile effectively partners with our clients to achieve their goals. As we like to say at ParkMobile, we are only successful if our clients are successful.
Visit ParkMobile.io/demo to schedule a demo and see how ParkMobile can help with your parking program.
Operating at the Forefront of Parking Innovation
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the industrial “Steel City” that sits at the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers, serves as home to over 300,000 residents. Since the closure of the city’s steel mills in the 1980s, Pittsburgh has gone through a transformation as it has welcomed new industries, including advanced manufacturing, information technology, finance, healthcare, and energy. The City of Pittsburgh has established itself as a leader in innovation with its parking program. In 2012, the Pittsburgh Parking Authority (PPA) replaced its legacy parking equipment with modern multi-space, pay-by-plate meters. In 2015, the PPA added mobile parking payments to the program with its launch of the Go Mobile PGH app, powered by ParkMobile, which customers can use to park at any of the city’s 32 surface lots or 11,000 on-street, metered spaces.
Evaluating Mobile Parking Apps
The Pittsburgh Parking Authority always had an interest in transitioning the city’s parking to a pay-by-phone model, so after receiving inquiries from residents requesting the service and seeing the model operate well in other cities, the organization issued an RFP nation-wide. The PPA received proposals from the top vendors in the industry to evaluate, and after careful consideration, selected ParkMobile due to numerous factors, including the company’s already-established presence in the region. “We wanted to partner with a vendor who already had a marketplace,” says David G. Onorato, Executive Director of Pittsburgh Parking Authority.
Implementing ParkMobile in Pittsburgh
Before launch, a few months of preparation were required to fully integrate the ParkMobile app with Pittsburgh’s meters and enforcement technology. By integrating all of the city’s parking systems, operators could easily access data in one place without having to jump from software to software, making processes more efficient. The ParkMobile team worked closely with the PPA to create the stickers and signage needed to help inform customers about the city’s new mobile parking payment option. Additionally, ParkMobile brand ambassadors engaged with the city’s local businesses and major universities, including the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon, to increase awareness of the app. In less than 60 days from the start of the city’s partnership with ParkMobile, the Go Mobile PGH app went live.
“Our selection of ParkMobile has proven to be a successful partnership from both operational and end-user aspects, with 50% of our on-street parking going through the phone app.” – David G. Onorato | CAPPPublic Parking Authority of Pittsburgh
Roll-Out and Response
Because Pittsburgh customers were already familiar with pay-by-plate technology, adding a mobile payment option resulted in a seamless transition. “Once customers use the app, they stick with it,” says Onorato. With ParkMobile, customers only need to enter their license plate numbers once when they set up their account, as opposed to having to reenter every time at the meter, providing a better overall parking experience.“The new program required little change from an operational perspective and was easy to manage once installed,” says Onorato. Since enabling mobile payments with the Go Mobile PGH app, customer compliance has improved significantly, and parking revenue has rocketed. By simply improving efficiencies through technology, Pittsburgh’s parking revenue has increased by $13 million since 2012 – without having to add more parking inventory.
“Since its launch, ParkMobile has really taken off in Pittsburgh,” says Matt Jendrzejewski, Meter Services Manager. From 2017 to 2018, the app’s average monthly utilization rate versus the meter increased from 34%to 42% year-over-year, and by January 2019, the city hit close to 50%utilization. The app has gained its popularity primarily through word-of-mouth. People who use the app and like it usually tell others about it. Additionally, the staff members at the Pittsburgh Parking Authority’s office have become great brand ambassadors for the app. They encourage all customers who call in with questions or visit to the office to download the app.“We believe meters will eventually be eliminated by attrition as more customers adopt the ParkMobile app,” says Onorato. With nearly half of parking transactions being conducted through ParkMobile, the PPA hopes to slowly move toward mobile-only parking payment in the future. Soon, the city will be eliminating all coin-based payments and paper receipts at the meters to encourage greater adoption of the app.
Pittsburgh by the Numbers
94% Increase in transactions from 2016 to 2018
48% Utilization rate
11,000+ On-Street parking spaces
Optimizing for Efficiency Across Every Neighborhood
The City of Berkeley is made up of an array of distinct neighborhoods within a moderately dense urban environment in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area. According to Gordon Hansen, Senior Transportation Planner for the City of Berkeley, “Berkeley is a mid-sized city with an out-sized reputation.” With the University of California, Berkeley located adjacent to downtown, the City has a diverse set of constituents living near the university and in its surrounding residential areas. The City of Berkeley manages approximately 3,800 metered parking spaces, serviced by approximately 2,200 single-space meters and 230 multi-space kiosks. In addition, the city has two off-street open surface parking lots and three public garages.
Being able to pay with ParkMobile reduces reliance on physical infrastructure and presents new opportunities for managing a large supply of parking.” – Gordon Hansen | Senior Transportation Planner for the City of Berkeley
Introducing a Mobile Payment Option in Berkeley
Prior to offering a mobile payment option, the City of Berkeley had been using coin and card-operated meters for over ten years. “Bringing a mobile application to the City was bringing us into the modern era for parking options,” says Hansen. While coin and card payment would always need to be provided in compliance with California state law, Berkeley had been looking at mobile payment options for a while as part of the City’s strategic roadmap for modernizing the parking program and providing alternative payment methods to customers.
After receiving a directive by the Berkeley City Council to evaluate mobile parking options, the City issued a request for proposal, deliberated over respondents, and eventually chose ParkMobile to be the City’s first mobile parking app. The City appreciated that ParkMobile already served neighboring cities in the East Bay, including Oakland, San Leandro, and Walnut Creek, making it easy for people to use one parking app as they travel between locations. ParkMobile also provided a comprehensive marketing program, including signage implementation, that would help build awareness for the app.
Implementing ParkMobile Across the City
In May 2018, the ParkMobile app launched across the City of Berkeley’s neighborhoods, including the proto-industrial Fourth Street area and the tree-lined, streetcar suburb of Elmwood. “The implementation process was pretty spot-on,” says Hansen. Partnering with ParkMobile for installations, the City worked on custom signage and decals to make sure that all necessary details, including zone numbers, time limits, and hours of operation, were accessible to customers in an aesthetically pleasing, informative manner across the city. “This was an opportunity that our partnership with ParkMobile afforded us to do,” says Hansen. In addition to offering a mobile payment option for metered parking, the City of Berkeley also partnered with ParkMobile to offer parking reservations at the Center Street Garage located downtown.
Berkeley by The Numbers
3,800 Metered Parking Spaces
35,000 Average Monthly Users Through ParkMobile
15,000 Average Monthly Transactions Through ParkMobile
To maximize efficiency, the City of Berkeley has also implemented goBerkeley, a data-driven, demand-responsive parking management program, in five of the City’s commercial districts: Downtown Berkeley, Euclid/Hearst, North Shattuck, Southside/Telegraph, and the Elmwood. By collecting parking occupancy data, the program is able to adjust pricing based on supply and demand. The City’s aim is to achieve 65-85% occupancy across each area.
As part of goBerkeley, the City provides two different types of parking areas – Premium areas, which are located centrally with shorter time limits and higher prices, and Value areas, which are located further out with longer time limits and lower prices. To easily differentiate between these two parking areas for customers, blue signage is used in Premium areas and green signage is used in Value areas.
The City worked with ParkMobile to design custom decals that would fit these signs, creating an attractive and convenient way to educate customers about how to pay for parking in goBerkeley areas using the newly available app. The City of Berkeley also built awareness by issuing a press release, which was picked up by local media outlets, and by having a team from ParkMobile engage customers on the street, educating them about the new app and giving out branded premium items.
Furthering Optimization Across the City’s Parking Operation
“Whenever I tell customers that ParkMobile is an option, they’re pleased to hear about it. They especially enjoy the convenience of extending their sessions,” says Hansen. Since its launch, the ParkMobile app has seen year-over-year user growth of over 40% and the number of transactions processed through the app has increased 52%. “Overall, we’re looking to make sure that our customers have as many options available to them as possible,” says Hansen. The City of Berkeley plans to continue analyzing app usage in order to build greater awareness across its neighborhoods.
In addition to goBerkeley, the City is also managing a grant-funded pilot program to analyze parking in residential areas adjacent to the City’s commercial districts in order to effectively manage demand in these locations. “Being able to pay with ParkMobile reduces reliance on physical infrastructure and presents new opportunities for managing a large supply of parking,” says Hansen.
Offering a New and Improved Mobile Parking Experience
The City of El Paso, Texas is located along the U.S.-Mexico border on the far western side of the state. With close proximity to the neighboring cities of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico and Las Cruces, New Mexico, the City of El Paso has always been accommodating to a diverse community of both residents and visitors traveling into town for local dining, shopping, and entertainment. El Paso has approximately 2,000 active single-space parking meters throughout the city. Additionally, the city has three city-owned parking garages – two located downtown and one located uptown.
Switching to a Best-in-Breed Mobile Parking Payment Provider
The City of El Paso first started providing a mobile payment option to its customers in 2015 as part of the city’s deal with its meter vendor. “We wanted to offer our constituents another option for payment because carrying around quarters just wasn’t convenient anymore,” says Paul Stresow, Assistant Director of the International Bridges Department for City of El Paso.
In 2018, the City of El Paso performed a downtown parking study and discovered that 58% of customers were unaware that a mobile payment option was available to them – showing that customer awareness was a major problem for the app. By 2019, the city decided to switch from the previous mobile app provider to ParkMobile in order to improve awareness, increase user adoption, and add some innovative new features that would help drivers find available parking spots in the area.
Now that customers can see parking availability ahead of time, they no longer have to circle in search of a spot, reducing traffic congestion. Additionally, the public feels more comfortable processing a mobile payment when they see time reflected on the meter.” -Paul Stresow | Assistant Director of the International Bridges Department for City of El Paso
Implementing ParkMobile in El Paso
Prior to launch of the new Park915 app, powered by ParkMobile, the city performed the necessary back-end work to double check inventory, integrate meters with the app, and set time limits at each location. The city then tested every meter, ensuring that customers would be able to view parking availability and see their time registered on the meters when processing a mobile payment. “Now that customers can see parking availability ahead of time, they no longer have to circle in search of a spot, reducing traffic congestion. Additionally, the public feels more comfortable processing a mobile payment when they see time reflected on the meter,” says Stresow.
Popular venues in El Paso, including the Plaza Theatre, the Convention and Performing Arts Center, and the Abraham Chavez Theatre, also feature parking reservations through ParkMobile. “With the new app, customers can reserve parking for events at our off-street locations, alleviating the struggles that come from finding parking downtown,” says Stresow.
El Paso By the Numbers
2,000 On-Street Parking Spaces
3 Parking Garages
13,500+ App Downloads Since October 2019
To educate customers about the app, Stresow gave interviews on the city’s major networks in English and Spanish. Additionally, signage was updated across the city, and ParkMobile premium items, including wallet cards, koozies, and pens, were passed out to the city’s residents and business community. The City of El Paso’s internal staff also made table tents and issued coasters to restaurants and bars uptown and downtown for distribution to customers. “The new Park915 app, powered by ParkMobile, was really well received,” says Stresow. “It’s not just another way to pay. You’re able to view parking availability, you’re able to find your car afterwards, you’re able to reserve parking at a garage for an event, and you’re able to use the app as you travel to other cities.”
“ParkMobile has been so willing to help us with implementation and marketing post-launch. It’s been a great partnership with a lot of continued support,” says Stresow. With the city’s previous mobile app provider, there were only 6,000 app downloads in the span of three years. Since the launch of the newly improved Park915 app in October 2019, there have already been over 13,500 downloads, and utilization of the app versus the meter has gone from just 3% to over 12%. “We knew what we wanted this time around, and we found the provider that could give it to us,” says Stresow.
The City of El Paso eventually wants to integrate payment for all transit into the Park915 app, including the city’s newly refurbished streetcars and public transit system. Additionally, the city wants to invite more privately-owned garages to participate in the app’s on-demand and reservation parking features. “Everything is trending up, but we want to do a second marketing push to continue working off of such a successful launch and continue raising awareness,” says Stresow. The city plans to implement more signage and further its marketing push to keep adoption rate growing. “We’re satisfied, but we know we can still go further,” says Stresow.
Modernizing Parking Operations and Providing Better Service
Lancaster, Pennsylvania is one of the oldest inland towns in the United States. It has a population of about 60,000 people. The parking operation in the city consists of 1200 on-street spaces. About 300 of the spaces are covered by multi-space kiosks while the other 900 utilize with single-space meters. The authority also owns or manages seven garages with an additional 5500 spaces.
In 2015, Larry Cohen, Executive Director of the Lancaster Parking Authority, was looking to modernize the parking operation in the city. “Our priority in Lancaster is to provide good customer service. We wanted people to have an alternative to carrying around a pocket full of quarters to pay for parking.”
At the same time, Cohen did not want to make major capital investments in new on-street meters and equipment. So, adding a mobile parking app that integrated with the existing meters, created a win-win situation.
“It’s about compliance rather than enforcement,” said Cohen. “With the app, we were really focused on giving folks an easier way to comply with the parking regulations, so they don’t get ticketed.”
Evaluating Mobile Parking Apps
Cohen did a formal RFP and evaluated the top five parking apps in the industry. He looked at the apps that were being used by the nearby cities of Harrisburg, Reading and Allentown. He also explored app used by the large cities in the area like Washington, DC, Baltimore and Philadelphia.
Cohen liked the idea of going with an app used by a larger city, so he could leverage their base of users as they visited Lancaster. He also felt the apps used by the large cities were more stable and less likely to go out of business. According to Cohen, “I wanted to work with an industry leader. A company that I knew would still be here five years from now. With some of the smaller players, I was worried they would get swallowed up or shut down.”
“Our adoption has been consistently increasing from month-to-month and whoever uses the app, raves about it. In the 30 years I’ve been in the business, the mobile app is the biggest game-changer I’ve seen in on-street parking.” – Larry Cohen CAPP | Executive Director of the Lancaster Parking Authority
After an extensive evaluation process, Cohen selected ParkMobile.
Lancaster by the Numbers
2015: 1000 Transactions per month
2018: 9500+ Transactions per month
Implementation of ParkMobile
The implementation of ParkMobile in Lancaster was easy for the city. “Compared to the complicated deployments of hardware and software I’ve done over the years, the ParkMobile app deployment was fairly simple. There were not many issues at all. Actually, it was almost too easy. I was waiting for something to go wrong, but it never did.”
Launching ParkMobile in Lancaster
When the app launched in Lancaster, people were not immediately receptive. “It is an older demographic in the area, so acceptance of the app was a little more difficult,” said Cohen. When the app launched in late 2015, the city was doing about 1000 transactions a month in the app. But over time, the people in Lancaster have come around. In July of 2018, Lancaster did over 9500 transactions. That’s an 850% increase since the launch.
Towne of New Hope, Pennsylvania
Reducing operational complexity with a single, best-in-class vendor
New Hope, Pennsylvania is a borough of 2,500 residents, occupying an area of only a square mile along the banks of the scenic Delaware River. However, despite its small footprint, New Hope’s unique mix of scenery, historical sights, restaurants, shopping, and events draw in over a million visitors per year. New Hope’s popularity as a vacation spot only continues to rise, making convenient access to paid public parking a high priority. However, until relatively recently, the only way to pay for parking was with old coin-fed parking meters.
In recent years, New Hope has made a big effort to update their parking infrastructure as the borough grows and customer expectations evolve. In 2015, New Hope took a bold step forward by introducing visitors to ParkMobile’s modern, best-in-class mobile payment solution. ParkMobile steadily gained popularity because of its ease of use and customer service. “People loved the app because they don’t have to rush back to a meter to pay. It’s a great addition to our parking system,” says Laurie McHugh of the New Hope Borough Council.
There are currently around 440 street-level parking spaces and a growing number of private lots.
Trying a Multi-Vendor Approach to Mobile Payment
In 2018, New Hope made another big change in their paid parking infrastructure. The old coin-fed meters were taken out and replaced with kiosks. At the same time, they decided to roll out a second mobile payment vendor with the hope that more ways to pay would increase compliance and ease the transition. “I think we went into it thinking, ‘well, more is better,’” recalls Laura Kent, who was brought on to assist with the 2018 multivendor rollout.
However, instead of increasing compliance, the sudden addition of extra mobile payment options was widely greeted with confusion, leading to further enforcement issues. “We were just trying to give every option, but sometimes offering too many options isn’t good. It just confuses people,” Ms. McHugh notes.
You have to look at the public, what the public is using and what they probably have on their phone. And most people have ParkMobile.” – Laura Kent
Providing a Superior Best-in-Class User Experience
A multi-vendor system also created unnecessary hurdles in backend maintenance. Without a single point for technical support, even minor issues like coordinating consistent zoning between vendors meant constantly bouncing back and forth between different support teams. In the end, usage numbers between ParkMobile and the second vendor revealed a clear winner. Visitors showed a strong preference for ParkMobile, with mobile adoption rates only continuing to rise. During the same two-year period, public adoption of the second mobile payment vendor never rose over one percent.
In 2020, the New Hope Parking Committee chose to remove the second mobile payment vendor, restoring ParkMobile as the sole mobile payment option. Ms. McHugh and Ms. Kent say the decision was easy once they reviewed the data. “We did not see any benefit to having the second vendor, as the lion’s share of mobile purchases are done through ParkMobile,” Ms.Kent stated.
ParkMobile’s convenient features and intuitive interface cemented it as a clear favorite in New Hope. Further, the adoption of ParkMobile also helped many customers make a smoother transition into the new modern parking infrastructure. Ms. McHugh notes that while removing the meters was an alarming change for many, “for people who knew ParkMobile, it was seamless.”
ParkMobile’s exceptional service and support was another big driver in returning to a single vendor system. “Across the board, if I had an issue with ParkMobile, it was resolved quickly,” Ms. Kent said. Enforcement and compliance were also easier to manage with ParkMobile. Reflecting on the decision to go multivendor Ms. Kent says, “You have to look at the public and what they have on their phone. And most people have ParkMobile.”
For New Hope, access to simple, convenient parking is an essential component to both keep tourism thriving and help local businesses flourish in the off season. With ParkMobile restored as a single, best-in-class mobile payment vendor, the borough enjoys cost savings from fewer fees and a marked increase in operational efficiency. Now, New Hope is spending less time on clearing up confusion and fixing technical hiccups, and more time improving the parking experience for residents and visitors. The parking committee is now considering ParkMobile’s help in implementing numerous on-demand parking options like discounted weekday parking and reserved parking.
Enabling Economic Development Through Smart Parking and Mobility Tools
In 2002, the Norwalk Parking Authority was created by ordinance to operate and manage both on-street and off-street parking in the City of Norwalk’s urban core. At the time, there were significant capital investments being made to the city’s parking infrastructure, including the construction of the 725-space Maritime Garage in South Norwalk. “You can’t have economic development without mobility,” says Kathryn Hebert, Director of the Transportation, Mobility, and Parking Department for the City of Norwalk, who oversees the Norwalk Parking Authority.
To account for the diversity of Norwalk’s constituents, which include the city’s business community, residents, and visitors, the Norwalk Parking Authority partnered with a parking operator to support the operations and management of the program and a marketing agency to support the city’s community outreach efforts. “We’re a growing city. We have a lot of development going on and a lot of people moving into the city. So, there’s a need to continue managing the City of Norwalk’s parking assets through parking management best practices,” says Hebert.
The Norwalk Parking Authority has taken a multi-vendor approach to the city’s parking solutions, which include single-space meters, multi-space kiosks, permitting, pay-by-phone apps, and enforcement technologies. Today, Norwalk has a total of 4,281 on-street and off-street parking spaces across town.
Offering a Mobile Payment Option in Norwalk
In October 2011, the Norwalk Parking Authority decided to introduce a mobile payment option to its constituents in order to provide them with a convenient, on-the-go option to pay for parking. “ParkMobile was already the leader in the game and required no upfront capital costs to the City of Norwalk,” says Hebert, when reflecting on the city’s decision to select ParkMobile as their mobile parking payment provider. The city first launched a 6-month pilot program in South Norwalk to see how constituents would respond to the new payment option. When the app received a positive response, the Norwalk Parking Authority expanded the launch throughout the remainder of the city.
To create awareness around the app, the Norwalk Parking Authority hosted a press conference, engaged local and regional media, and marketed the app to Norwalk’s business community and residents. In the city’s first month after deployment, 130 transactions were processed through ParkMobile. Today, 15,000-16,000 transactions are processed every month by the app’s approximately 8,000 monthly users in Norwalk. In just the past two years, transactions in the app have grown 158%. “99% of the time, once someone uses the app, they never go back,” says Hebert. The Norwalk Parking Authority additionally offers parking reservations, event parking discounts, and a commercial validation program through ParkMobile.
Prioritizing Customer Outreach
When it came to educating constituents about the app, the city prioritized strategic marketing and continued outreach before and after deployment. “The key is to keep getting the word out,” says Hebert. “You need to proactively remind the market about the app, and this requires constant communication.” Hebert’s approach to marketing ParkMobile to the city’s constituents has been to simply present the app as an available option. Signage around town advertises “Two Ways to Pay” – either at a meter or through the ParkMobile app. The marketing also highlighted the benefit of using the app outside of Norwalk at ParkMobile’s 400+ locations across the United States. Additionally, the Norwalk Parking Authority offers a $2 discount for new users as an incentive to start using the app.
Since the app’s launch, the Norwalk Parking Authority has remained active and responsive in its communications to customers through its website and social media channels. “Most of what we hear is that it’s easy to use,” says Hebert. “The city’s users value the convenience of the app, as well as its user-friendly features, such as the ability to opt into notifications, store multiple vehicles, and extend time remotely. If we have a customer get a ticket when using a meter or kiosk, we suggest that they use the app to help them avoid one the next time.”
The City of Norwalk is always looking for new ways to enhance economic development. Last year, ParkMobile expanded to the city’s parks and beaches. While residents with permits are exempt from payment, visitors to the city are now required to pay for parking at these locations. The city has also focused on adaptive reuse, partnering with the Norwalk Arts Commission to host quarterly exhibits at one of the city’s parking facilities and enabling a parklet program that allows the business community to convert on-street spaces to mixed-use spaces, such as outdoor dining, during the city’s warm months.
In the future, the Norwalk Parking Authority wants to enable better wayfinding that connects to the in-car experience through the ParkMobile app. “If people knew directly where to go, it would alleviate a lot of frustration and mitigate traffic,” says Hebert. Additionally, the city is looking for new ways to better manage the curb to accommodate for the rise of multimodal transportation options, such as ride-hailing, bike-sharing, and shuttle systems, throughout the city.
Leveraging Technology to Improve Compliance and Create a Better Experience
San Leandro, California is a medium-sized suburban city with approximately 90,000 residents. It is located on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay, between Oakland to the northwest and Hayward to the southeast. San Leandro has long been home to a large manufacturing sector, specifically to food production companies like Coca-Cola, Ghirardelli, and Mi Rancho. The city has two commuter train stations (called the BART) – one downtown and one south.
In recent years, San Leandro has been experiencing significant revitalization in the downtown area. With new plazas, shops, and eateries popping up, the city has started to focus on ensuring that downtown San Leandro has the necessary infrastructure to keep things in motion. There are approximately 3,000 paid public parking spaces available to customers, and parking permits are also available to business owners, employees, and residents who require all-day parking.
Evaluating Opportunities for Change
In 2016, the City of San Leandro conducted a parking study to identify opportunities for improvement that would support the steady increase in people, cars, and development downtown. A few years prior, San Leandro’s all-in-one parking contractor went bankrupt, leaving the city with infrastructure on the ground that was no longer monitored.
Because the city’s infrastructure was no longer monitored, rules and restrictions around parking weren’t actively being enforced, and customer compliance was minimal at best. Mariana Garcia, Economic Development Project Specialist for the City of San Leandro, took on her role in July of 2017, and immediately began taking action on recommended changes from the city’s parking study. Garcia wanted to implement a solution that didn’t require a large investment in new infrastructure, so she turned toward parking technology that could work with what already existed.
San Leandro by the Numbers:
3,000 Paid Public Parking Spaces
900% Increase in Transactions
Implementing ParkMobile in San Leandro
With a mobile parking solution, the city could make use of old infrastructure while still providing customers with a new way to pay. Garcia’s decision to choose ParkMobile against other options was driven by which solution had the largest audience and awareness locally. She wanted to choose the solution that would be the most user-friendly, the easiest to transition to, and one that would allow people to continue using the app in neighboring cities. ParkMobile has significant coverage within the East Bay area near San Leandro, so it was easy for people to get on board as many of them had the app on their phone.
“Implementation was easy,” says Garcia. “Once I provided ParkMobile with the inventory, they zoned everything for us, and we were ready to go live shortly afterwards.” By February 2018, ParkMobile was integrated with all downtown parking meters and two pay stations inside of the city’s four-level parking garage, which offers both hourly and all-day parking. From there, Garcia helped rebrand parking in downtown San Leandro with color-coded zones, updated marketing materials, and the launch of the ParkSL website. From February 2018 to December, monthly transactions increased over 900%.
Garcia was active in the community after the launch of ParkMobile. Her angle for success has always been deeply influenced by face-to-face interaction and relationship-driven management. “People like having someone they can talk to,” says Garcia. “You have to know who your audience is, and you have to have the compassion to help people.”
To raise awareness with customers, Garcia tabled with her team at both San Leandro’s Holiday Festival and Cherry Festival, where they talked to customers about ParkMobile, hosted a raffle, and handed out freebies. Garcia wrote several blog articles for San Leandro Next, an initiative to provide news and updates on economic development and innovation in San Leandro, to both prepare and convince customers to adopt ParkMobile. For the downtown business community, Garcia introduced herself door-to-door so that owners and managers would know who to contact if they had a problem involving the new parking system.
Additionally, Garcia began attending city council meetings to discuss the residential parking permit program with residents, encouraging them to petition and apply for parking programs in their neighborhoods. With the launch of the ParkSL website, Garcia wanted to provide an easy way for people to write in if they had any comments or concerns. As the parking program grows, Garcia always wants there to be a modern, user-friendly outlet for individuals to communicate with the city.
Garcia still actively looks for new ways to improve both parking compliance and customer experience in downtown San Leandro. She wants to ramp up signage to better communicate to customers, and eventually, she plans to make the investment in new multi-space meters since the current infrastructure is older.
Some commuters are still parking in the city’s residential areas to avoid paying for parking. To help alleviate this problem, Garcia wants to add time limitations to current paid parking zones to increase availability, establish signage to help limit drivers from parking in these areas, and continue encouraging residents to apply for designated parking areas in their neighborhoods. As population density continues to increase in the downtown San Leandro area, Garcia plans to continue active conversation between the city, businesses, and residents to ensure a successful parking program.
One thing Garcia does know is that ParkMobile has been a huge success for downtown San Leandro, and it will continue to be a part of the city’s parking solution moving forward. “People love paying by phone,” says Garcia. “ParkMobile has been easy for people to adopt, and everyone understands how it’s benefitting the city.”
Switching Mobile App Providers to Increase Adoption and Usage
Texas A&M University was established in 1871 and today has almost 70,000 students. So, parking around campus in College Station, Texas, is serious business. The school manages over 36,000 parking spaces in garages and open surface parking lots around the school.
Dell Hamilton, Parking Services Manager, and Lynn Wiggs, Special Events Manager, are key players in the management of the parking operations at Texas A&M and are focused on providing a great experience for students, faculty, staff and visitors. In 2010, they were early adopters, accepting mobile app payments as part of the Texas A&M Transportation Services parking program.
“At the time, we wanted to provide more options to our customers, reduce lines at the payment machines, and provide a reliable way to extend parking sessions,” said Hamilton. “But, we were having limited success with the mobile app. It wasn’t what we hoped it would be.”
Switching Mobile App Providers
In 2015, Texas A&M Transportation Services’ contract was up with their mobile parking app provider so they issued a Request for
“ParkMobile began to rise above other payment providers in the functionality we desired from the product. The people at ParkMobile also exhibited a deep knowledge of their product.” – Lynn Wiggs Special Events Manager | Texas A&M University Transportation Services
Proposal (RFP) to explore more options. They spent time at trade shows and speaking with their peers in the industry. ParkMobile was one of the vendors that made the shortlist for further evaluation.
According to Wiggs, “ParkMobile began to rise above other payment providers in the functionality we desired from the product. The people at ParkMobile also exhibited a deep knowledge of their product.” Texas A&M Transportation Services was looking for an app that would provide the best experience for the user. “If the customers don’t use it, what’s the point,” said Hamilton.
After a thorough evaluation process, Texas A&M Transportation Services made the switch to ParkMobile.
After the contract was signed, the ParkMobile team collaborated very closely with the Texas A&M Transportation Services team to ensure a smooth transition to the new mobile app platform. “ParkMobile assisted with signage and marketing strategies to help get the word out about the change,” said Wiggs, “It was a very positive experience.”
ParkMobile officially went live on Texas A&M’s campus in early 2016. According to Hamilton, “We didn’t get any complaints when we launched. Users transitioned smoothly, which in our world is a great thing!”
As the months went by, more and more people adopted ParkMobile. Since the switch from the previous provider, app usage has increased 123 percent and continues to grow every month.
Today, ParkMobile has become an everyday part of campus life, even providing parking reservations for Aggie football games at Kyle Field and other events around campus.
Service and Support
Texas A&M Transportation Services gives ParkMobile high marks for the ongoing service and support they receive. “ParkMobile has been very responsive and timely in my interactions,” said Hamilton. “Support keeps me in the loop on any outstanding issues we have. Getting new lots implemented has been painless. On a scale of one to ten, I would probably give ParkMobile an ‘eight’. The caveat is that I never ever give anyone a ten. No one is perfect.”
The University of Toledo
With over 250 academic programs and a focus on innovation, The University of Toledo in Ohio is a highly regarded public research university. The school has both an academic and scientific campus and over 16,000 students in attendance. There are also a number of public facilities, including a large training hospital, a rec center, and others. On any given day, there’s a wide mix of students, staff, training professionals, hospital patients, visitors, and other patrons on campus.
“One of our main issues was compliance. All of our clientele have very different reasons for why or when they’re on campus,” explains Sherri Kaspar, Director of Parking and Transportation. The University of Toledo campus has nearly 15,000 parking spaces, including three metered visitor lots, and around 50 surface lots historically used for permit parking only.
A Better Experience with Flexible, Daily Decision Options
The University of Toledo is a proactive adopter of new strategies and best-in-class technologies. They recognized right away that mobile payment would help improve the parking experience on campus by giving customers more choices. “Mobile is where everything’s headed. Everyone’s life is right there in that cell phone, so we wanted to give everyone the options right in their hand instead of having to come in and spend more time figuring out parking,” Kaspar says.
The flexibility of mobile payment also prompted the university to consider how it could be used to increase compliance and make better use of their parking inventory. Since mobile apps don’t require investment in new hardware and integrate into existing parking systems, it opened up opportunities to offer daily decision parking alongside traditional long-term permits. “We really liked that we could turn almost every space in our lots into a parking meter,” notes Kaspar, reflecting on their decision to expand short-term parking options into the permit lots.
Evaluating Mobile Vendors: Best-In-Breed vs. All-In-One
When evaluating a mobile payment vendor, finding a user-friendly solution that would also integrate with their existing systems was a high priority. But Dexter Emch, Operations Administrator, recalls that at the end of the day it was vital to find an app people wanted to use, not just one that worked.
“We try to know every single population that comes to campus – it’s really diverse – so having more options is incredibly helpful.” – Sherri Kaspar, Director of Parking & Transportation
The team evaluated several options, including an app provided by the campus’ existing online permitting and enforcement vendor. The focus on apps with a great user experience led them to ParkMobile, which was already being used by the City of Toledo. “Using an app that people are already familiar within the city allows students to travel from downtown to campus without having to download yet another app,” Emch says. The positive feedback from the city encouraged them to reach out to other universities who were already using ParkMobile. In particular, they were eager to understand how the app works together with their existing enforcement and LPR systems. “The other universities had nothing but good things to say,” Kaspar recalls. “It also helped us understand the implementation process from people who had already gone through it.”
Based on the popularity of ParkMobile in the area, and the stellar feedback from other universities using ParkMobile, the University of Toledo decided on a best-in-breed approach, implementing ParkMobile in the Fall of 2019.
A Positive Reception from All Types of Drivers
The reaction to ParkMobile on campus was overwhelmingly positive, leading the university to make the app available campus wide. Kaspar believes that offering daily decision parking alongside long-term has improved the overall parking experience. “The more options we can give our customers, the better. It lets us design parking to be per person instead of trying to put everyone in one bucket,” she says. Daily decision parking choices are especially popular among students, who often lack the finances for long-term parking or are not on campus enough to warrant it. “It gives them an option to see if it’s better to pay by the hour or pay for the entire semester,” Emch notes.
For short-term visitors, ParkMobile provided an easier, more convenient way to pay. ParkMobile’s non-app payment options, such as payment via phone call, also made it an accessible choice for older, less tech-savvy users or users without smartphones. ParkMobile’s user-friendly solution also helped cut down on confusion and increase compliance. Department-specific signage lets visitors know exactly how to pay for parking directly from their phone.
ParkMobile remains popular on campus and adoption is steadily growing. Offering daily decision parking in lots that were previously permit-only opened up new revenue streams. Even with decreased traffic on campus from the global pandemic, ParkMobile’s adoption in long-term lots is up to 25%. In metered lots, ParkMobile makes up 40% of transactions.
Exceptional Support and Service
Kaspar and Emch go out of their way to praise the responsive support team at ParkMobile. “Out of all the companies that we work with, ParkMobile has by far the best customer service group,” Kaspar says. In addition to their exceptional technical support, ParkMobile also received high marks for providing effective signage and customized marketing material, making a big transition seamless and easy for every one of their customers.
For Kaspar and Emch, ParkMobile has proven itself as a valuable, long-term technology partner of the university. “A lot of times with a company, they’ll be responsive during the implementation process, but then you get pushed to the side. With ParkMobile, there’s been no drop off in our customer service at all,” Emch says.
Improving the Fan Experience with Game Day Parking
In 2017, ParkMobile partnered with the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA to launch a first-of-its-kind parking reservations program. Through the parking.mercedesbenzstadium.com website, people can find and reserve parking for sporting events and concerts. The site gives options for single game reservations, season parking passes as well as lot access for facility employees.
- Custom built website that provides detailed information about all the parking options around the stadium.
- 20,000 parking spaces available from seven different operators
- Visual map that shows exactly the where the lots are located and the walking /time distance to the venue.
- Filtering capability to sort the lots by price, distance to the stadium and easy exit
- Special codes for suite holders and employees that provides access to specific lots
- Waze directions with real-time routing to the parking facility entrance
- Gameday email reminders with parking information
- Over 70% of people attending a Falcons or Atlanta United game reserve parking before driving to the stadium
- Sold over 310,000 parking reservations through the website since the stadium opened in 2017
- Mercedes-Benz Stadium rated #2 in fan arrival experience and #1 in NFL and MLS “Voice of the Fan” surveys.
- Won the SportsTechie award for most innovative venue
Smart Solutions for Smart Cities
ParkMobile is the #1 parking app in the U.S. with over 18 million users.
As the leading provider of smart parking and mobility solutions in the U.S., we help people easily find, reserve, and pay for parking from their mobile devices. We connect legacy parking systems with a modern, user-friendly, and timesaving application, giving consumers a smarter way to park in more than 400 cities and 3,000 locations across the U.S.
We offer solutions for:
- On-Street Parking
- Off-Street Parking
- Gated Garages
- Event Reservations
Put the power of ParkMobile to work for your parking operation.
Schedule a demo today to see how ParkMobile can help your city improve mobility. Visit ParkMobile.io/demo today!
Our Partners <3 ParkMobile
“Working with ParkMobile has been a very positive experience. They have assisted with signage and marketing strategies to help get the word out. The team has been very responsive and timely in my interactions.”
Special Events Manager | Texas A&M University Transportation Services
“Our selection of ParkMobile has proven to be a successful partnership from both operational and end-user aspects, with 50% of our on-street parking going through the phone app.”
David G. Onorato, CAPP
Public Parking Authority of Pittsburgh