The changing climate of parking data

Lydia Woodward | 10th September 2018

It’s time to get to grips with data. Our transition to the information age seems sudden – but just like global warming, it’s been brewing for a while. When did you first notice these innovations?

Change has crept up on drivers suddenly.

Since Britain’s first parking meter was installed in 1958 and the first traffic wardens took to our streets in 1960, parking has established itself as a thoroughly traditional industry. 

Then, a letter lands on your doormat requesting payment for a fine that just wouldn’t have been possible when you first got behind the wheel.

Data-driven innovation has disrupted the world of parking as we know it. Let’s take a look at parking’s most important milestones of the information age. 

ANPR cameras 📸 

ANPR was invented in 1976 at the UK’s Police Scientific Development Branch. The first prototypes were operational by 1979, and the first arrest informed by ANPR data occurred in 1981 – as a camera identified the registration number of a stolen car. ANPR cameras have all but replaced traffic wardens in issuing PCNs. Their ability to record data which is analysed on enforcement agencies’ computer systems is an invaluable labour-saving solution. 

Online pre-book parking 💻 

The earliest pre-book parking sites were developed in the years following the arrival of the new millennium, with rudimentary online platforms in operation by 2006. Initially, these were the digital ‘Yellow Pages’ of parking. They relied on a network of drivers and homeowners to contact one another directly to arrange reservations. Now, these booking engines have smartened up. Sites like YourParkingSpace and SpotHero harvest vast amounts of customer data. Insights from data analysis inform tailored digital marketing campaigns and the development of dynamic pricing strategies. 

Automatic billing 💳 

Storing and sharing data has shaved valuable time from the parking process. With an app like Glide, drivers register their vehicle and banking details just once to benefit from automatic billing at all enabled locations in future. ANPR cameras detect the car’s registration number upon entry and exit to record the length of stay, enable calculation of parking fees and automatically debit the cost to a bank account linked with that vehicle.

Connected vehicles 🚘 

Cars, talking to each other? In the year 2000, that sounded like the premise of a sci-fi film. In 2018, this is a reality which is already (in part) upon us. Connected cars are equipped with internet access, and usually a wireless local area network, enabling them to share information with other devices both in and outside the vehicle. Vehicle to Vehicle connectivity communicates information about speed and position of nearby cars, with the goals of avoiding accidents, easing congestion, promoting travel efficiency and positively impacting the environment. 

Data is getting complicated. When you manage a modern parking facility, you have multiple data sources to track: occupancy monitoring, payment processing, your online reservation partner sites and property management systems. Never mind the impending chatter of connected cars – your bandwidth is already maxed out.

ParkMaven have resolved the painful proliferation of outdated Excel spreadsheets. Our Smart Dashboard pulls together fragmented data sources on a single platform, with one login. View meaningful data insights, in real time: register for a free trial at

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