How Smart Parking Will Help Fleets4 min readReading Time: 4 minutes
For fleet vehicles, finding parking at the right time and the right location poses a serious challenge. When drivers need to make a pit stop between two rides, they must be able to park securely at a convenient location. Given that most urban spaces suffer from inadequate and poorly managed parking real estate, drivers often end up parking in local markets, prime street-spaces, residential areas, etc. This has high costs for fleet companies and, ultimately, the environment. IoT-enabled smart parking technology is now paving the way, solving the problem of fleet parking.
The unique parking problems of fleets
The problems fleet operators face with regard to parking are quite different from what the average commuter faces. Truck and cab drivers, for instance, can only take a limited number of breaks during working hours to maximize productivity. This means they must park close to their next destination or risk losing precious hours in traffic and drive time. Say, a truck driver for an e-tailer makes goods delivery and needs a break before the next shipment. If there is no safe parking anywhere close, he must ride several kilometers to the park and then to the next destination. The result is a wastage of fuel, money, and time.
Recently, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) partnered with American Trucking Associations to launch a free mobile app for truck drivers to find parking spots. The data on truck parking availability shows a striking result – even on the busiest nights, a good number of parking lots are empty. In fact, in the busiest hours on working days, parking occupancy is no more than 70%. This points to a problem that the parking industry has long grappled with and known – that it isn’t that parking isn’t available, but finding spots is a challenge when drivers need them. The mobile app sought to solve part of the problem,i.e., a lack of information surrounding available truck parking spots.
Dynamic solutions with smart parking
Parking solutions for fleets need to be dynamic and data-driven, something which only technology can deliver. Fleet operators must come to see parking as fluid. If shuttling between a shipping destination and an authorized parking spot takes hours, it means bad news for the business ultimately. Instead of relying on select parking facilities, fleet companies can engage other formats of real estate like office garages that are underutilized during certain days of the week. Using a combination of software, apps, and data, drivers can then identify available on and off-street parking close to them in real-time.
The value smart parking technology brings to the table is dynamic and scalable solutions. For parking operators, this means the ability to monitor a facility and identify available spots at any given point in time. They can thus partner with fleet companies and instead of offering reserved parking spots, that only bring in a fixed amount of revenue per month, offer spots based on availability, priced as per demand.
For fleet companies, this means reduced wastage of time and fuel as drivers can check-in in the nearest parking lot and pay per use, as opposed to the business shelling out a fixed cost every month. This becomes even more important when a fleet company scales operations – thousands saved in fixed costs.
Real-time identification of fleet parking
There is a considerable loss in productive time and money when fleet vehicles waste time searching for vacant parking spaces. With smart parking, drivers can use IoT-connected apps to retrieve real-time information regarding available parking spaces nearby. In this way, drivers are readily accommodated if an unplanned or emergency stopping need arises. Moreover, the cruising time of fleet vehicles is reduced significantly.
Secure commercial goods
While on a dispatch, fleet vehicles often carry expensive cargo that must be handled carefully. With smart parking systems that are IoT-integrated, parking facilities can monitor the vehicle in real-time and protect it against any external threats. In this manner, the security of the goods is ensured. At the same time, drivers can enjoy their break time while the vehicle is safely parked in a facility, leading to greater job satisfaction and increased productivity in the long run.
Tracking behavioral data
For businesses offering fleet services or using a fleet to run operations, a database of driver behavioral data is crucial for assessing driver attitudes and performance over multiple journeys. Smart parking systems can collect this data in real-time using a cloud gateway that is processed and stored on a network server. The collected behavioral data is then made available to the fleet company in a comprehensive model on a linked app or a website. For fleet business managers, such a database can provide significant insights on the parking demands and patterns that a fleet vehicle follows once in transit. With this data, fleet companies can map out convenient routes for the fleet drivers while also accommodating their parking needs.
Also Read: The Importance of Data in Smart Parking
Prepping for the future of fleet parking
The future of fleet parking will come to rest on easy accessibility to and convenient usage of parking spots. Only smart parking technology can realize this vision at scale for companies running fleets day in and day out. With more information, greater control, and heavily reduced costs, the benefits of smart parking are being rapidly realized by fleet companies.