One of our favourite UK place management consultancies, People and Places, has developed a comprehensive "Parking Process" which - among other things - examines how to use digital technology to optimise car parking efficiency in towns.
Director Chris Wade says car parking is a key issue for businesses because it's a "gateway" to town centres for visitors, regardless of where they come from.
"We feel it is vital that car parking is directly addressed as part of town centre digital strategies and practice," he told Real Towns.
"Parking is an area where new technology offers great opportunities to transform the customer experience and enable more efficient management."
Chris wants to shift the focus from inaction caused by local politics and infighting to "joined-up policy and practice in town centre car parking provision".
The People, Place & Parking Process comprises a multi-layered review and assessment of potential improvements in parking payment systems and associated digital technology.
Chris says his five-pronged approach links directly to the way forward espoused in the Digital High Street 2020 Report.
1. Locating parking spaces: The ability to locate available parking spaces appropriate to the purpose of a journey. This should be integrated with innovation in marketing technologies and content for places.
2. Flexible tariffs: Ways to easily extend a parking stay and offer flexibility to adjust charges and help manage demand. This should be considered as part of the omni-channel retailing and leisure experience that offers flexibility to the customer.
Chris Wade of People & Places
3. Cashless parking: User-friendly mobile payments with payment made automatically online. This is an extension of innovation in the in-store and street trading experience.
4. Customer data: Access to customer profile data and even the ability to directly market local offers and special events. This is just another aspect of the personalisation of Big Data and communication through social media.
5. Customer loyalty: The option for retailers to reimburse parking costs to loyal and valued customers. This is a specific extension of the flexible and omni-channel approach advocated for retail, and is tied to personalisation of Big Data.
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