Our aim is to deploy paid parking to improve the accessibility and quality of life in cities and to distribute the cost of parking to society more fairly.
We want motorists to be able to find a parking space quickly and easily at all times. This is why Q-Park wants to prevent its parking facilities (PFs) becoming full. A full PF means wasted time for the customer and more traffic cruising for a place to park. This creates more congestion on the streets and increases emissions of pollutants.
We endeavour to raise awareness and to influence people's behaviour. We provide online information about the availability of available parking spaces and the parking tariff. We do this via our website and the Q-Park app, but also by feeding navigation systems with up-to-date information. In order to steer motorists to an available parking space quickly, we are increasingly deploying dynamic information systems. These provide up-to-date information about parking locations.
We develop ICT systems that support customer-friendly services, such as contactless payment by smartphone or payment card, online pre-booking and payment, purchasing a season ticket, and automatic number plate recognition that enables motorists to enter and exit our car parks conveniently.
Customer convenience at the car park is also a key advantage of the recently implemented contactless identification techniques and contactless payment options installed in some of our purpose-built and off-street car parks. Contactless is becoming the standard for known (season-ticket holders and pre-booked tickets) and unknown (short-term parking) customers.
Tap & Go
Q-Park has seen a significant rise in numbers of customers paying by card within the parking facilities. As contactless technology is widely available on mobile phones, bank cards and credit cards, customers are becoming familiar with contactless payments, a good reason for Q-Park to develop the new Tap & Go service in collaboration with CCV.
Q-Park Netherlands and Q-Park UK have already launched Tap & Go payments which enable customers to enter the parking facility quickly by tapping their contactless payment card or phone at the entry barrier and again on exiting. Customers no longer receive a paper ticket and do not need to go to the Pay-on-Foot (POF) terminal.
They appreciate this extra service and the convenience of not having to queue when they are ready to leave. Not only is it practical for motorists, it also increases safety for customers and our employees as there is less cash in the parking facility. The payment transaction is secure and is debited when the customer leaves the facility.
In the Netherlands, contactless payments are now possible in 152 facilities, and Q-Park Eurocenter, in Amsterdam, is even 100 percent cashless. We had more than 250,000 contactless transactions in the first year after launch and some 10 percent of all transactions in 2016 were contactless. Furthermore, we provided customers with a positive parking experience.
New generation parking meters
In France, new generation parking meters were installed with automatic number plate recognition. These accept credit cards, and also enable a direct purchase of an on-street parking season ticket from the meter.
Equipped with digital keypads, they enable customers to benefit from simple and practical parking solutions. These machines also support Whoosh! a telephone operated parking service in France similar to the Yellowbrick and ParkMobile services that operate in the Netherlands and Germany.
Q-Park Norway has launched a digital, free guest, parking solution (B2B) called 'First kiosk'. This was achieved by combining the hardware from Q-Park Denmark and software from a local data surveillance supplier (Giant Leap).
Digital licenses are linked to vehicle number plates, phasing out completely the need for paper permits. Customers who register their vehicle can park in the predefined facility zone for the defined time period. They do not have to return to their vehicle to display the permit on their dashboard. This not only gives a better overview of registered parking customers, but also enables very efficient surveillance in the parking area.
Q-Park Kulturen customers faced enormous queues at the POF terminals in our facility in Aalborg after events in the concert hall adjacent to the car park. To better cope with this, Q-Park Denmark developed 'Q-Park Pay' – an online payment service app for smartphones.
What we have achieved
The number of owned or long-leased parking facilities (PFs) that provide dynamic information to motorists about parking tariffs and available spaces in the neighbourhood was unchanged in 2016, but we still expect to achieve our target for 2020 as we are working on proprietary, integrated platforms.
Parking facilities (PFs) that provide dynamic information
There has been a small increase in the number of publications and events on pricing strategies, but we will need to increase our focus on this Performance Indicator (PI) if we want to achieve our 2020 target.
Publications and/or events about pricing strategies
The number of owned or long-leased parking facilities where the parking tariff is adjusted according to supply and demand increased to 405 (2015: 395). In the near future we expect this number to increase further when more parking facilities are connected to our new online pre-booking system which makes it possible to offer different tariffs during the day and in the evening.
PFs with parking tariffs differentiated to supply and demand
The number of owned or long-leased parking facilities that were full on more than 25 days in a year decreased from 123 in 2015 to 118 in 20161, so we are now steadily working towards achieving our target in 2020. Reducing the number of ‘Full’ days contributes to accessibility of vital amenities and also reduces the amount of traffic cruising for a place to park.
PFs with ‘Full’ indication >25 days
The digital platform provides an important foundation for improving our services. We can now inform customers more rapidly and more effectively about new and existing parking options. When developing our digital services, we have focused on comfort and convenience. As part of our commitment to increasing sustainable mobility, we also inform our customers about alternative mobility options (public transport, car rental, P+W, etc.). We are also happy to offer them information about cheaper parking alternatives so they can make a more conscious choice that suits their needs and budget.
Q-Park France is working with Europcar in Paris and has created this special parking information map showing Q-Park and Europcar locations. Even though this is a great example of providing information about mobility options, unfortunately we have not yet achieved our target of 13 percent, as providing this information may be perceived as commercially sensitive.
However, we continue to seek and provide relevant mobility information to our customers.
PFs with info on mobility options and/or alternative parking
The next big thing in parking
If applying the principles of Business Intelligence (BI) to parking holds out the promise of better management, and of fiscal windfalls, the implications go far beyond the integration of cutting edge technology into a business practice. BI allows for smart parking, and smart parking, in turn, is a key element in an emerging concept: the smart city.
Technological advances will be used to encourage the fluidity of movement (in many cases, with an emphasis on providing advantages for electric cars such as charging stations) and payments (via smartphones); apps will be developed with information on available spaces in real time, allowing for pre-booking and more.
The smart city will be more fluid and more environmentally friendly. But to become smart, cities must by necessity, integrate parking in their planning. It is imperative they have in place a global and long-term vision. The development of smart parking solutions is an emerging industry. However, already, across the globe, large urban areas are currently testing these solutions, along with airports, public transit agencies, and other organisations that manage large parking lots such as universities and hospitals.
Future parking needs must be thought out and planned today. An organisation using unparalleled analytics will be able to offer customer service with a high financial return, while taking advantage of new technologies to develop the best internal management processes in accordance with best industry practices.
Source: Optimum Parking Management, The Canadian Parking Association, 2016
- No data was available for the Netherlands; outcome for 2015 was used.