Campus parking has been transformed by technology in recent years, and one of the most important new technologies is parking guidance.
Parking guidance uses sensors to keep track of how many spaces are available in a parking lot or garage and on individual floors and transmits that information to strategically placed signage to help direct drivers to available parking spaces. On a large campus, the technology can help students, faculty, staff, and visitors find parking in a fraction of the time it usually takes.
It’s easy to see why parking guidance technology would be popular on higher-ed campuses. It dramatically improves the parking experience, and drivers don’t waste time searching for a parking space.
Parking guidance also offers administrative benefits by keeping track of how an institution’s parking assets are used. When campus parking administrators have access to real-time data about how their parking facilities are being used, whether they are at full or near-full capacity, and when they tend to be busiest, they can make better decisions about how to manage those parking resources. Better and more comprehensive information will lead to better management decisions.
As useful as parking guidance is for managing campus parking, many institutions have been deterred by the cost. When it was first introduced, owners had just two options: install sensors over every parking stall at considerable expense or use less expensive technology that was often inaccurate and, as a result, not particularly useful. A complete over-the-space sensor system could cost anywhere from $500 to $750 per space, given infrastructure limitations and signage requirements. So, for a garage with just 500 parking spaces, the cost of installing a reliable guidance system would run around $250,000 and could run as high as $375,000. And that’s just the initial installation cost. There may also be maintenance and repair costs to factor in.
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