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Go Gateless for a Fast, Frictionless, Secure Parking Experience

September 8, 2021

Jeff Patterson

Parking management companies throughout the country are elevating the guest experience and increasing revenues by optimizing gateless service. Companies that are savvy in digital parking innovation are in a prime position to teach property owners and property management companies how to replace antiquated systems that use paper tickets, costly gate arms, and payment kiosks with a cloud-based parking method. 


Enforcement can be a major concern for property owners when going gateless, but there are many ways to eliminate this burden.


Going gateless is the future of the parking industry. It’s not only about saving money and increasing revenue, but also about creating a contactless and frictionless experience for the consumer.


Revenue protection is a big concern when going gateless, but this move can have a significant impact on revenue. Not only is there tremendous savings from not installing gate arms, property owners also see savings from the elimination of gate arm maintenance and the reduction of personnel needed to operate the gate arms. 


There also is benefit to the pay-in-advance model over traditional gated payment methods. When parking, most people play it safe by adding extra time as a buffer, and research shows that this pay-in-advance model brings in 30 percent more revenue than the gated model.


Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, every business has been keenly focused on the safety and welfare of employees and customers. Parking management companies are no exception with some offering safer, more efficient ways to manage parking in residential, retail and mixed-use facilities with contactless service and hospital-designed safety procedures. 


Partnering with apps to offer a frictionless parking experience that takes less than 30 seconds from start to finish further demonstrates the commitment to this new parking experience. This cloud-based software replaces expensive equipment and maintenance costs and instead allows consumers to safely and seamlessly pay for parking through web, mobile and SMS technology while in their vehicles. Consumers do not have to download a parking app, worry about social distancing while waiting in line to pay at a parking kiosk or return to the lot to extend their parking time. 


When guests or residents arrive at a mixed-use surface or garage facility, they will see simple signage that displays three contactless methods to pay for parking: SMS, QR code scan or tap the NFC tag. Users then receive a link to enter their license plate number and the duration for which they want to park before paying via credit card or digital wallet. Users can then provide a rating for the experience, receive a receipt for their payment or extend the parking duration. 


There also are additional payment options depending on the type of retailer. Validation codes are available for businesses such as movie theaters or fitness centers that want to offer free or discounted parking to patrons. 


Validation can also be granted on a tablet located at the business. Office building tenants can have access to a certain number of parking spaces to be assigned to employees at their leisure. This is done by simply issuing a digital permit and eliminating the typical cumbersome onboarding process. 


Enforcement can be a major concern for property owners when going gateless, but there are many ways to eliminate this burden. Professional Parking Management (PPM) is one company providing scalable parking enforcement solutions. They use LPR technology to automatically detect vehicles that do not have a valid permit, have not paid or overstayed their parking session and they have a manual verification process to ensure that all violation information is completely accurate. 


Additionally, PPM offers overhead cameras along with AI technology to track walk-off drivers who may park in a lot and walk to a neighboring facility. 


Property owners and parking operators can utilize PPM’s bill by mail option for first offenses or their auto alert feature to notify the appropriate enforcement provider for booting or towing.


In addition to providing cost savings and enhancing the customer experience, going gateless can also reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere from cars entering and leaving a parking lot. In the Fall of 2017, the University of Delaware converted their Center for the Arts parking garage to a gateless operation. Prior to this transition, vehicles waited an average of 8 to 10 minutes to enter the garage before each event and an average of 30 to 40 minutes to exit after the event. After this transition their sustainability manager indicated a significant decrease in CO2 produced due to cars no longer idling while waiting to enter or exit the facility.


Digital solutions also encourage property owners and property management companies to enhance their revenue and improve their services with real-time data and user reviews. There are opportunities for customer feedback, plus data analytics, that can easily identify how much time customers are paying for on average and peak times and lulls that might require rate changes for maximum profit. 


Offering users the option to easily leave a review right after they park allows parking management companies to share this feedback with clients to respond and adjust immediately. It gives customers a voice and allows surface lot operators to be proactive. The benefits of gateless parking are truly endless.


Jeff Patterson is the owner and operator of Phoenix Parking Solutions in Atlanta, Georgia. Email him at Jeff@phoenixparkingsolutions.com.



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