Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Moving towards the ultimate Parking Space Management System: License-Plate Enabled Parking from Digital Payment Technologies

The City of Miami Beach Parking and Transportation Department has just introduced "License Plate Enabled Parking" as an element of their street parking management system, using equipment and software applications from Digital Payment Technologies, a Canadian firm.

According to the press release announcing the introduction:
With LEP, consumers simply enter their license plate number at the pay station when paying for parking and then continue on to their destination. They do not have to return to their vehicles to display a parking receipt, nor do they need to remember specific parking space numbers. With DPT's integration with Parkmobile, consumers also have the option of paying using their mobile phone.
The system is explained by the infographic (left) and can be integrated with a wide variety of related services that simplify parking management, payment, enforcement etc.

The system integrates technology from three separate firms:

-- LUKE II multi-space pay stations by DPT
-- Mobile payment service from Parkmobile
-- License Plate Recognition (LPR) system from Genetec

and it happens that Miami Beach outsources parking enforcement, to OmniPark.

Reductions in citations likely?  I can see the system resulting in fewer citations being issued, because people can get notices about when the meter is supposed to expire and just add payment.  That will reduce fine revenue sure, but it will also reduce consumer aggravation, which is a net benefit.

Towards a transponder based system and implications for gas taxes vs. mileage charges.  But the system isn't designed like the EZPASS toll system where you could have a card device on the windshield that would register once you parked (maybe you'd have to hit a button) and the transaction could be initiated automatically.

It occurs to me that a transponder-enabled fee collection system dealing with parking and integrated with toll collection systems makes it easy enough to do mileage-based charging.

I've argued that it is a lot more complicated to have individual accounts for everyone instead of just charging a higher gas tax, but as can be seen with the LEP system, you only need to add a couple more elements and a fee collection system integrating parking, tolls, mileage, and insurance is "easy enough" to create.

Of course, you need a wi-fi mesh network "everywhere" to be able to integrate such a system and it has to work all the time.

Other interesting Miami Beach parking policies for residents.  Separately, the Miami Beach T&P Department has two programs that provide benefits to residents paying for parking. Programs like those in DC would go a long way towards addressing some of the resident aggravation about the various parking programs in DC.

First, the city provides a flat rate of $1 per hour for resident parking at street meters, which is a 43% discount off the $1.75 per hour rate. Second, residents using the ParkMobile online app for parking within the city are not charged the transaction fee that is normally charged for using the app to pay for parking.

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At 2:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I can see the system resulting in fewer citations being issued, because people can get notices about when the meter is supposed to expire and just add payment. That will reduce fine revenue sure, but it will also reduce consumer aggravation, which is a net benefit."

Saw a similar analysis somewhere recently about DC parking ticket revenues dropping but no info on the increase in parking revenues from the ParkMobile system. While it may not offset the shrinkage in tickets, I don't imagine it's nothing. IMHO, PM is one of the best tools the City has adopted.

At 8:36 AM, Anonymous charlie said...

1. I doubt the ezpass transponder is accurate enough to measure a car in a parking space.

2. From memory, the Miami Beach system used a "smart card" (much like Arlington had at one point) to give residents discounted parking. In the areas in DC with metered parking I am not sure why residents deserve or need a discount on their meters.

3. Freeing residents from PM fees would be a highly positive step. I don't think right now it is a godsend as EE beleives. Multispace meters encourage more efficient parking rather than having spaced meters. DC (or someone) has spent millions putting credit card readers into street meters as well and you've got to balance that with PM costs.

4. Not surprisingly, I disgree with you on a VMT tax vs a gas tax.

5. You don't need a complicated system to do mileage based insurance.

At 9:50 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

I actually agree with you, I think, about a preference for gas tax as the simplest and easiest way to collect the $. For whatever reason, there isn't the political will, especially at the national level, but with a variety of exceptions at the state level, to just raise it.

Instead, I guess because the VMT concept is a "user fee" (I don't see why the gas tax isn't a user fee) it's raisable.

But like your point about the transponder and parking, I think the need to create tens of millions of accounts to collect VMT is a massive software and computing challenge that while doable is unnecessary if we just raise the gas tax.

HOWEVER, and I am not really interested in mileage based insurance (e.g., I think based on my own experience, that people who drive more may be better drivers than those who drive less and a strict mileage based system doesn't take that into account), but it is one of the elements that could be integrated into a master account if you're going to do it, and it's a way to make some extra $ from the system.

Anyway/2, wrt parking-oriented transponders, I think it could work, based on the congestion charging systems, but I don't know and more importantly, what a nightmare to try to integrate thousands of street metered parking systems into the VMT accounting system.

At least with EZPASS and other similar systems elsewhere in the US, you have a basic platform that you can begin working with to test at the very least other ways of service integration.

At 9:51 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

wrt the fed. transpo. bill, I intend to do a piece. The basic thrust is that I am disappointed that state efforts to raise the state gas tax e.g. in VA, MD, and PA haven't percolated up as an example of states as "laboratories of democracy" and as examples that federal legislators could use as a way to strengthen their resolve-spines.

OTOH, WA State hasn't been able to pass state wide changes (the Seattle vs. the rest of the state divide is too strong) and at the local level, Seattle/King County Metro have big issues wrt local reg. fee increases.

Anyway, I want to wrap this up into one blog entry...

At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I don't think right now it is a godsend as EE beleives."

@Charlie--didn't mean to imply that ParkMobile is manna from heaven... just that it is a lot more convenient (once you sign up) to pay by cell than drive around with a bag of quarters.

"Multispace meters encourage more efficient parking rather than having spaced meters."

True that, and it's unfortunate that DC didn't combine the multispace with the ParkMobile service--would have been a huge savings and convenience.

"DC (or someone) has spent millions putting credit card readers into street meters as well and you've got to balance that with PM costs."

Parking--although contentious--is much less sexy than gambling, hence the contracts for services come under much less scrutiny. I imagine that a little research might reveal who of our esteemed elected officials has ties to the contractors for these services.

I do recall kind of a mini-scandal decades ago when the DC meter contractor was a division of one of the big defense contractors.

At 1:32 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

there is recent "scandal" wrt parking meters.

I haven't kept track about who is dealing with parking meters now. I think ACS still, now renamed Xerox.

The advantage of individual meters is that you have better knowledge of parking availability space by space if you have indicators in the meters--and you could just direct parking enforcement officers right to the spaces that you know are filled but unpaid.

The advantage of multispace and the new parking meters is that they decrement to zero in effect once the car leaves, so new parkers can't use "free time". This results in a 30% to 40% increase in overall revenue.

... and yes, the quarter thing is a big deal.

At 2:31 AM, Blogger Manoj Kumar said...

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At 4:55 AM, Blogger Manoj Kumar said...

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