fits of using the app to pay for parking and demonstrating how it works. There are a number of communication strategies that can be effective, including strategic marketing programs using fun events and prizes to reward first-time users. Also, video tutorials made available on city websites, social media channels, and via texts can offer step by step guidance on how to use the app. Modern PARCS equipment also often has video capabilities that can demonstrate how to use the equipment. These video capabilities can be used to increase adoption by offering guidance into how to use the equipment. These are just a few examples of the ways that education and marketing can be used to increase adoption of new technologies. When it comes to drivers’ comfort levels, it may also make sense to offer drivers choice, particularly when it comes to apps. People like different things. Some are Apple and some are Windows; some prefer Coke and some prefer Pepsi; some like American cars while others prefer foreign vehicles. The same goes for parking apps. Why not offer multiple apps and let drivers choose the platform they prefer? Cities, institutions, and private owners that offer choice tend to experience much higher utilization. The final barrier revolves around the technology itself, which often isn’t as easy to use as it should be. Take, for instance, mobile payment apps. Some apps require the driver to input a zone designation into the app to let enforcement officers know where that driver is parked. That’s all well and good, but are people really going to want to get out of their cars and traipse up and down the street searching for a zone number? Particularly, when it’s cold or raining or snowing? If the point of mobile payment is to make parking easier, shouldn’t the app recognize the car’s location for the driver? Technology owners need to do more to make their tools easier to use, both for parkers and for parking managers. This primarily means making sure user and data collection interfaces are simple and intuitive. In the era of multi-tool technology suites, technology providers should also consider offering Open API platforms that allow parking owners and municipalities to customize the solutions to their unique needs and to combine tools provided by different technology companies.
the past decade, and the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically sped up the process. But technologies aren’t useful if they aren’t used. municipalities, institutions, and private parking owners need to choose technologies that are intuitive and easy to use when implementing automation strategies, and once those tools are introduced, they should implement education and instruction strategies to get drivers excited about using them and informed as to how to do so. When they do, they’ll increase the public’s adoption of those technologies and enjoy the full benefits of implementing them. ◆ JESSICA BRITTON is director, marketing & communications, with PayByPhone Technologies, Inc. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ENGINEERING & DESIGN PLANNING & STUDIES RESTORATION
CENTER CITY GREEN CHARLOTTE, NC
Era of Automation Automation has been the predominant trend in parking during PARKING-MOBILITY.ORG / MAY 2021 / PARKING & MOBILITY 11