5 Steps for Smarter Parking

Smart Parking


As cities grow, the urban areas suffer with insufficient parking, and this parking problem geographically ripples out from there. Many cities are trying to reduce the number of vehicles in condensed areas with incentives such as public transportation and redesigning the layout of neighborhoods to reduce the need for driving. This approach is fantastic, but as the NPH (Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California) reported, it requires a major change in resident’s behavior and is very expensive.

Changing ones behavior is a slow process and it really doesn’t help those with private parking in the interim. Whether it’s a commercial parking lot or residential… if it’s privately owned it’s up to the managers to fix.

Here are some tips for creating smarter parking policies:

Every vehicle should be permitted

This should be the first step of any parking policy to ensure your lot is running optimally. At the core, a property should know who is parking in their lot at all times. Without this basic information, it becomes a guessing game and quickly parking problems can arise.

As this information is collected, it’s easier to see outliers, and identify problems before they occur. Remember, data is king in this day-in-age and we have the tools at our fingertips to help us analyze and understand this information.

Permit records need to be updated

Because you successfully implemented the first step, doesn’t mean the work is done. Data can become outdated and quite stagnate in days or weeks; especially when dealing with vehicle information which can change frequently with new car purchases, accidents and rental cars, and temporary tags.

Use technology to your advantage by creating a process to keep this information up to date. For example, if you have a tech-savvy community, send a monthly email reminder asking if their vehicle information has been updated.

Segment your lot

If your building allows for visitor parking and/or you have a surplus of spaces, don’t be afraid to create a designated area for the guests. Nothing irritates tenants more than coming home from work and not having a place to park – or to having to park in the outskirts while they recognize visitor’s vehicles in front of their unit.

When a lot is segmented it’s easier to identify parking abuse at a glance. It also can give valuable insight on how many nightly visitors the property has.

Enforce the policies

Some managers cringe at the idea of parking lot enforcement as it is typically tied to negative backlash. But, this step doesn’t have to be scary or involve anyone outside the office.

Enforcement isn’t only towing or booting. A property can easily enforce their policies by issuing reminders and warning on vehicles. This quick step is incredibly effective as nobody wants to be “that person” with a warning sticker/flyer on their vehicle.

If the property is using a third party enforcement company, be sure to keep them in the loop of changes. Far too often, the lack of communication or information is where backlash occurs. The more the communication is streamlined, the easier the enforcing of policies becomes, and the less mistakes are made.

Listen to your residents/tenants

If you think your parking situation can be improved, but you’re not sure what else can be done… ask the residents!

We can’t express enough, how valuable this information can be. The residents want their community to thrive as much or more than the management, and they typically have some creative solutions that will work.

Also, when a resident feels heard, they have a better experience and establish more trust in the management company. Happy Residents = Happy Managers!