Communicate Information, Park Cars Quickly, and Save the Whales…
There’s a great article in Forbes magazine on this topic, and whales aren’t even mentioned. Read it here. The gist is this:
New York City would be better off contracting parking control to private sector companies because they would use a dynamic pricing program to better allocate on street parking in the Big Apple. The would collect real time parking data and then change parking rates to attract people to unused spaces and where parking was scarce, raise parking prices to better control the scarcity and make more space readily available. This free market approach would cut down on cruising and looking for spaces and thus do more to reduce emissions and fuel consumption.
Communications in this type of program is important since drivers want to know where parking is available and through real time smart phone apps they can quickly determine where parking is available and what it costs and make a decision as to whether or not it is priced for them.
OK, I know for all you parking pros this is old hat, Shoupista ‘stuff.’ But for Forbes magazine its the cat’s pajamas. The more the mainstream media writes about this topic, the better.
The author goes on to compare parking pricing with the real estate market. What if when you went to purchase a house, you could find out how much it cost to heat and cool the prospective manses. If a similar priced house cost half as much to climate control, that could have a big input to your buying decision. Communication about certain factors is important. Likewise parking.
What about the ability to know if a car has been in a wreck before you buy it? Once again communications make a difference. Even something as simple as telling someone what its costing to run the car on a moment by moment basis (Hey, you just burned up $2 worth of gas as you idled there making a phone call. Why not turn off your engine?) – a little dial on the dash. Once again, communicating information that enables you to make valid, money and environmental decisions.
Come to think of it, that dial on my dash that reads out fuel consumption is in my peripheral vision most of the time. I love to get it over “30” and note that jackrabbit starts red line it.
Demand based pricing will work when cities discover how to communicate the prices accurately and quickly to the drivers. If I know that I can save $10 by walking two blocks, then I can make a decision based on that. But I must have that information at hand at decision time, not four hours later or when I leave home. Variable signage, good apps on my phone, or even low wattage radio to tell me what it costs to park on this block and the next would make it all work.
Changing prices and then let rumor and legend tell the world that its changed won’t help the very people you are trying to reach.
Communicate and succeed.