Airport Business

MAY 2017

The airport professional's source for airport industry news, articles, events, and careers.

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PARKING 12 airportbusiness May 2017 imaging technologies are used to monitor and calculate space availability and display that information on dynamic signs, websites and mobile apps. There are three levels of detail: • Facility counts. As a driver nears the airport, dynamic signage displays real-time space availability and directional arrows for each of the parking facilities. If a garage is full, the parker won't waste time driving to it. Parking rates or other messages may also be displayed. • Level counts. At each garage, a sign displays the number of available spaces on each. As parkers approach each level, another sign will display the number of spaces on both that level and the next one. "Hmm," the parker thinks, "only five spaces here, but 135 on the next level. I'm going to the next level." • Individual space monitoring. Green lights are displayed above every empty parking space. When a car pulls into a space, the car is detected and the light turns red. Other colors are available, such as blue for handicapped or amber for reserved. Drivers approaching a row of spaces know to bypass that row if there are no green lights. Dynamic signs with arrows strategically placed at key decision points such as intersections will let them know how many spaces are available in each direction, enabling parkers to easily locate available parking spaces even when there are only a few spaces available. When license plate recognition (LPR) cam- eras are used, vehicle locations are recorded, providing benefits such as lost car assistance. Other benefits include license plate assigned (reserved) parking areas for employees or VIP customers and the ability to set location-based parking rates. System software will report tres- passers. LPR also enables owners to accurately calculate fees for lost tickets (more on this later). Thanks to wayfinding and APGS, your cus- tomers may never again miss a flight because they couldn't find parking. If you could choose between two airports and only one had this feature, which would you pick? MOBILE APPS AND RESERVATION SYSTEMS There are more than 4 million mobile appli- cations (apps) out there — you probably have some on your phone. I have parking apps on mine and so do your customers. You can send all the parking information described above to your customers in real time. W hy stop there? Parking reser vation systems allow motorists to reserve and pay for parking via the internet or a mobile app. Having a guaranteed space makes it even easier for airport customers to determine how much time to allocate for parking. Mobile phones can replace parking-gate tickets in facilities. You do this at the gate in the terminal — why not the parking gate? After making a reservation, motorists can receive a QR or bar code that when waved in front of a reader at the entrance, sends a wire- less signal to raise the gate. This is repeated at the exit, where the fees are calculated and charged to the credit card on file. License plates and credit cards can also be used to match the car or parker with a reservation. Off-airport operators have used reservation systems for years, attracting potential on-air- port parkers before they get to the airport. Many people research parking by searching their airport and the word "parking." When they do, off-airport parking usually appears before on-airport parking. This is not random, alphabetical, or geographical. A good reserva- tion system manipulates key search words and search engine optimization so that facilities offering reservations appear at or near the top of the search page. Reservations capture contact and travel information for marketing purposes. The sys- tems can also incorporate information about frequent-parker programs and other discounts that are designed in order to build customer loyalty for the parking provider. Airports in Europe not only offer air and parking reservations online, but also reserva- tions for hotel rooms, car bookings and mar- keting opportunities for other airport-related services such as restaurants and retail out- lets. Why let Orbitz have all the fun (and the business)? TICKET AND AUDIT CONTROL VIA LICENSE PLATE RECOGNITION Airports host a lot of long-term parkers, which equates to larger parking fees. If the parker is gone for a number of days or weeks, there is a greater chance of losing his or her parking ticket, which has traditionally been the only documentation of when a car entered the facil- ity. Unfortunately, the honor system doesn't work well here. They say time flies when you're having fun — I suppose that's why motorists tend to think they were parked for a shorter period of time when they guesstimate their entry dates and times. Operators traditionally take overnight inventories to assist with lost tickets. Staff manually record the license plate of each vehi- cle to track the number of days it's parked. When a lost ticket is reported, staff refer to the inventory. Some enter the data into handheld devices to record the data and some of these devices can digitally scan license plates. This works moderately well, but it's time consum- ing and labor intensive. It may cost more in payroll than it saves in lost tickets. Many airport operators are now using license plate recognition (LPR) systems to photograph and store data from vehicle license plates. These systems are extremely cost Red and green lights above spaces at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Littlerock, Arkansas, allows drivers to see if any available spaces are in a row as they approach.

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