In Knoxville, TN, a plan to equip two parking garages with parking counting mushrooms into a city-wide system to improve parking availability.
Knoxville, TN is a bustling little metropolis in the Southeast United states. With a population just under 200,000, the city has experienced an exciting resurgence in the past 10 years. Knoxville is the proud home of the flagship campus of the University of Tennessee, whose football team, the Tennessee Volunteers, has an enthusiastic and extensive fan base.
Just over a decade ago, downtown Knoxville didn’t have much to boast of. In recent years, the city has experienced an economic and cultural resurrection with quaint boutiques and popular restaurants dotting its Main Street. Locals and those from further away flock downtown, a boon to local economy but a stress on limited parking resources.
In addition to its popular eateries and shops, University of Tennessee football games are a magnet that bring droves of fans downtown. With close to 100,000 people heading downtown to the stadium or local bars and restaurants on game day, congestion from vehicles looking for parking was quickly becoming an issue. People were tending to focus on finding spots in specific lots, despite the fact that they were full or near-full, ignoring other lots with ample availability.
With a downtown area that is completely walkable from end to end, all 9 downtown garages allow easy access by foot to any downtown location. This unique situation means drivers would be open to parking at any garage, not only their preferred one, if they knew where availability was better.
However, one of the downtown garages has just begun construction to add two additional levels with over 550 more spots. The need for parking guidance and the ability to plan ahead to find parking are particularly critical as so many spots become temporarily unavailable.
The city recognized the need for an organized parking system that could quickly and easily direct drivers to available parking. They were looking for a solution for 2 of the city’s biggest garages so that they could:
- Gather accurate data on how many spots were available in each of the downtown garages
- Show drivers parking availability data on bright, visible signage as they pass
- Provide parking data via mobile apps that drivers could check before heading downtown
- Help traffic flow and avoid gridlock by directing drivers to garages with open spots
- Offer simple, streamlined use
Despite plans to install parking counting in two local garages, the OpenSpace parking platform was priced so well that the city was able to double their original plans. Four of Knoxville’s garages are now equipped with OpenSpace to keep track of parking availability throughout the downtown area. Signs at the entrance of each garage indicate how many spots are available. The system is also integrated with several parking apps. The University of Tennessee added an OpenSpace system to one of its own garages as well after seeing how effective the systems were downtown.
- Accurate up to the minute parking data is posted on variable messaging signs outside each of the garages. While the city had a target of 95% accuracy,the OpenSpace system has exceeded their expectations and is operating at a99.6% accuracy level.
- Parking data is integrated with Parkopedia, ParkMe, a downtown Knoxville visitors app, and the City of Knoxville website so that drivers can make better decisions about where to park before they even head out
- The easy-to-use parking system includes minimal components, no installation, and was fully operational almost immediately.
The OpenSpace system has met with great success in Knoxville. Plans for two initial counting systems morphed into four, and two more are pending for the coming year. Wade Roberts, the Manager of Parking Services for the City of Knoxville, says part of what makes the system work so well is “Simplicity. You just drive over it and it works. The accuracy is spot on and it’s much more affordable than any other system out there.”
The simple, streamlined OpenSpace system gives drivers real-time parking data to help avoid the frustration and stress of not being able to find a spot when you need one.
The OpenSpace parking counting platform:
- Provides Knoxville with affordable parking counting systems that are simple and quick to install and don’t compromise on accuracy
- Displays up-to-the-minute parking data outside each of four city garages so that drivers know which ones are worth entering and which to pass on
- Offers real-time parking data via apps and the city website so that drivers can make better informed decisions about where to park before even heading out