Finding a parking spot in an office parking lot can be one of the most frustrating and time-consuming challenges of the workday. Because of the limited number of available spaces, employees end up driving around the lot in circles or even resorting to parking in unauthorized areas or blocking others. The resulting tension and conflict can create a negative atmosphere in the workplace and leave employees feeling stressed and unhappy. In short, the struggle to park in an office parking lot can be a significant source of workplace stress and anxiety.
But technology can come to the rescue. There are lots of apps and software that can take the burden off. Let’s find out how.
Which are the benefits of using car parking software for your office?
There are several reasons why an office may need software to manage its parking lots:
- Optimize parking space usage: when using the proper parking management software, offices can optimize parking space usage, while reducing the time it takes for employees and visitors to find available parking spaces. This will lead to the overall efficiency of the office’s parking lot.
- Fewer employees visits at the help desk/reception/parking lot admin.
- Streamline parking operations: Parking management apps can help companies streamline the entire parking process, from assigning parking permits to tracking vehicle usage.
- Increase employee satisfaction: A well-organized parking lot can increase employee satisfaction, leading to a better overall workplace experience. This will happen because the time and stress associated with finding a parking spot will diminish considerably.
- Improve security: With parking access control software, offices can ensure that only authorized vehicles can enter the parking lot. They can also check activity in real-time to ensure security protocols are being followed.
- Gain insights into parking usage: Parking management software can provide valuable data and analytics about how the parking lot is being used. This way companies can find parking patterns and make data-driven decisions about how to optimize their parking lots.
Now, how can you decide which software would work best for your parking lot?
It depends on your needs. In order to help you find the answer to the question above, we’ll start by looking at some of the most popular features of such tools.
Key features of office parking software
- Parking spots reservations system
Parking software should allow employees to book spots in advance. This will make the office parking lot more predictable.
- Parking spots sharing
Let’s say your company has 15% of spots already assigned to middle and top managers. Now, what happens if some of them don’t come to work on a particular day? Will their assigned spots lie empty? Probably. But this will cause frustration in the parking lot. A solution to this would be the possibility of sharing the parking space with colleagues.
Recommended tech: Tidaro.
- License plate management
Imagine this: Mike’s wife took the kids to school using Mike’s car, because it was parked closer to their house. Now, Mike will have to take his wife’s car to work. The thing is that he will need to go to reception to get clearance to park the car. How can you deal with this situation more efficiently? You can add license plates to parking spots booking systems.
Recommended tech: Tidaro (You can introduce in the system up to 3 license plates).
- Real-time parking availability
The software should have a real-time parking availability feature that allows employees to check spots availability before going to the office, or on their way to the office. Several apps can provide this, as well as the use of parking sensors. Parking sensors are used to detect the presence of vehicles in a parking lot and alert users when parking spaces become available. Sensor systems can provide up to 99% accuracy to users, but they can also be quite costly. Parking management systems that do not rely on additional hardware are not as accurate but are way less costly.
- Managing multiple locations and zones
Managing a parking lot with different floors or individual spaces is a must-have for a parking management app.
Also, ideally, such an app should allow parking managers to divide the parking lot into zones, and even assign responsibles for the zones.
Recommended tech: Tidaro
A crucial thing when it comes to managing any parking lot is access to data on how the parking lot is being used. Such information can help companies understand how bookings happen, if certain patterns can be found, and more. Ideally, such reports will help them optimize space and behavior in the parking lot.
- Managing infringements
What if someone else parks on your spot? Or, someone is blocking your car? This would mean lots of visits to parking lot manager, and a couple of headaches, right?
Some apps might help you with that as well 😉.
Recommended tech: Tidaro
- Guest parking spots bookings
Now, what happens if you have guests arriving at the office by car? Most of the office parking management apps out there have a system that allows you to manage guest and visitors access.
Office parking lot hardware
We mentioned earlier about sensors in the parking lot, these are pieces of hardware that help you understand which spaces are busy, and which are free inside the parking lot. Another tool that you can use for this is cameras.
There are also other types of hardware that you can use for parking lot access.
For example, you could use gates and parking barriers for access control. These could integrate all sorts of technologies, such as Automatic license/number plate recognition (LPR/ ANPR) or validator and encoding stations.
Another popular way of giving access to a parking lot is via access cards.
Now, we won’t be insisting much on such hardware, because we truly believe that hardware can cost much, and it also needs maintenance.
At the end of the day, a proper car parking software can do the trick, without any extra piece of hardware.
The big question: how to get fewer people to drive alone to work?
Now, we know this should be a topic about tools for managing the parking lot. But what if there’s a way to unburden parking managers and be more sustainable at the same time?
Because, let’s face it: parking is expensive. Not just for the employees, but for the employers and developers as well. Employees might assume that office parking is free, but they couldn’t be more wrong, right? Employers might pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month for their parking spaces.
And in the future, they might get even more expensive…There’s this new thing happening in some cities around the world: local councils and governments are trying to find ways to discourage private car driving. For examples, in some cities around the UK and Australia, an annual tax to car parking spaces provided by employers is in place. There is a name for this: parking levy.
Such a practice has been used in Nottingham since October 2011. Its success inspired Leicester to move on with a similar project. It is supposed to start in 2023. Now, such practices should be connected to other projects that encourage other means of transportation and public investments at the local level.
But what happened in Nottingham? A workplace parking levy was set in place for employers who provide parking spots. The charge only applies to employers who supply 11 or more parking spaces. There are several other exceptions as well. The current charge per parking space is £428 a year, payable by the employer. All revenue raised by the city of Nottingham is redirected on improving local transport. This is mandatory, because there’s a law that enforces this.
How does this impact congestion?
- By incentivizing employers to reduce their parking space.
- A major transport infrastructure gets its much needed funding.
Fast forward, 10 years +, here’s how Nottingham looks like:
- As of September 2021, a total of 7840 tons of CO2 emissions have been saved,
- A 33% fall in carbon emissions in Nottingham since 2005,
- 350 tons of CO2 were saved by the electrification of 15 buses,
- £83m of revenue raised directly from the levy. On top of this, new funding was added to support a major extension of Nottingham’s tram network, a renovation of its train station, and the expansion of the city’s electric bus fleet,
- £500,000 worth of grants to help employers make sustainable transport options available for employees,
- A 17.5km tram extension part-funded by the levy carries 20 million passengers (about the population of New York) a year,
- 3 million private car miles eliminated because of public transport infrastructure improvements,
- Congestion growth cut by 47%,
- Tram and train station redevelopments led to the employment of 1,200 people,
- Public transport infrastructure has encouraged businesses to move to Nottingham.
You can read the whole case study here.
In our earlier chapter, we also mentioned parking cash-out schemes to reduce drive-alone rates. You can read more about it here.
And do not forget about carpooling as a possibility. We discussed more about this in an earlier chapter. Intel, for example, has an internal website and database to help employees set up a car-pool group and meet others interested in carpooling. They even have priority car-pooling parking spaces next to main building entrances.
At the end of the day, when talking about efficiency in the parking lot, we will need to talk about other subjects too: city infrastructure, environmental issues, health problems, and more. The topic of parking can be addressed at a community level, as the folks in Nottingham or Seattle did (as mentioned in an earlier article).