In an effort to reduce both manpower and technology costs from parking operations, many operators and asset owners have transitioned from fully manned gated facilities to self-directed payment schemes (pay and display, pay by plate, pay by space, pay by phone). While the savings of these control methods are evident and immediate upon the removal of gates and cashiering staff and booths, they also incur new enforcement costs in both labour and back end system integration.
When enforcing these self-controlled parking assets, personnel are typically required to perform a manual check on each of the parked cars to ensure compliance. For smaller lots with under 100 spaces, a round of checking cars won’t take more than 20 minutes to accomplish on the worst day. But what happens when you have to enforce a portfolio of 10-100 facilities with different payment methods and perhaps even different technologies?
Using parking counter technology to establish payment compliance ratios
Similar to reports from the pay and park technology that detail the timing of payments, parking counting platforms with integrated software capabilities are able to generate ingress reports that detail occupancy timing even in non-gated facilities. A brief comparison between the two system reports will allow the owner/operator to match the times of ticket payment with the parking counter’s ingress counts to better understand how many of their parkers are paying customers at any given time. This can be simplified with the establishment a payment compliance ratio.
The Payment Compliance Ratio is represented by the following formula:
Number of tickets paid (at time x) / Number of cars in lot (at time x ) expressed in %
Similarly, payment non-compliance is simply calculated as:
1 – (Number of paid tickets / Number of cars in lot) expressed in %
Case Example: Jane’s 100 space surface parking facility is controlled through pay and display. Each AM, parkers pay and leave the ticket on their dashboards to be displayed for enforcement personnel. AT 10AM, after the morning rush hour has finished, Jane runs the ticket report from her online system and sees that there are 75 paid tickets currently live at her site. Shortly after, Jane runs the reports from her counting platform and sees that at 10AM, there were 87 cars in the facility. From these reports, Jane was able to calculate that at 10AM her payment compliance was at 86% (75 paid tickets / 87 cars), and inversely, the non-payment compliance ratio was 14%.
What’s the point of calculating these ratios? Better behaviours for your staff and your customers
Ratios are only valuable if they can help you make better decisions. Using the example of Jane’s situation above, her compliance was at 86% at 10AM that day. Is that good? Bad? Just Ok? To fully evaluate the effectiveness of her overall program, Jane would have to make the calculation at different times of the day in order to see if the ratio was higher or lower. If during the rest of the day she identified that the ratio was higher, it may indicate the presence of vagrant parkers in the earlier hours in contrast to later times.
Maybe it’s more efficient to only enforce some lots once per day and others more often? What if parker compliance is highest only a small % of your sites of your sites?
A low compliance ratio could be a red flag to send enforcement officers more often (or for longer periods) to try and identify those not paying in the goal of altering the parking behaviour. Comparing these calculations across a portfolio facilities, the ratios could be used to prioritize which facilities are enforced and when, thereby optimizing personnel travel and labour schedules.
Finally, the ratios can be used as a metric of both customer behaviour and enforcement efficiency over time. Sites with historically low compliance can be enforced more often to lead to increased citations, and more importantly, increased customer compliance. Personnel can now be awarded with achieving compliance targets at their designated lots, and their enforcement ratios can be part of an overall balanced performance scorecard.
Understanding lot occupancy though parking counters and payment reports is the best determinant of where to allocate personnel, as it allows for increased focus on sites with lower compliance – saving the owner/operator time and money.