Parking lot owners invest over $3.6B/yr for parking access control systems (PARCS) such as fences, parking gates and even tire spikes to protect against parking violations. This is because Illegal parking may take away space from guests at a hotel, or customers at a restaurant. Put simply, it means lost revenue for businesses, enabling the creation of an entire industry tasked with keeping violators out – or in.
Topping the list of enforcement tactics is almost certainly the parking gate. While a seemingly hefty and trusted solution, it's actually been known to fail. The average car can drive right through it, with SUVs even coming out relatively unscathed! When paired with payment machines (now a health concern due to COVID-19), they have been known to hold up traffic and require owners to call for maintenance requests quite often.
Another popular enforcement mechanism is immobilization – by tow, boot, or Barnacle. Nobody likes to get towed, and some business owners have even felt resentment by their community for having violators towed. It is also a painfully slow process and has been known to inconvenience rule-abiding drivers. "The boot" or a wheel clamp is often similarly frowned upon and requires the spot owner to send someone to unlock the device once the fee is paid.
In response to the huge drawbacks of old-school immobilization techniques, the Barnacle was born. The Barnacle is a yellow device that uses a giant suction cup to stick to and cover the majority of a windshield. It will stay firmly in place, immobilizing a driver's entire view until the violator pays his/her fine. Unlike towing and the boot, however, the Barnacle is forgiving in the unfortunate event of a misunderstanding—we all make mistakes!—the Barnacle forgives with a simple 4 digit code.
Companies like AirGarage implement this lower risk towing alternative in their system to help lot owners generate revenue and enforce their lots. In addition to their fleet of contractors, they form partnerships with towing companies and even convince them to use the Barnacle on their behalf! Often, business owners even choose to take Barnacle deployment into their own hands.
Ultimately, AirGarage seeks to help lot owners sell unused spaces, and drivers find scarce parking. Even though they would choose the Barnacle over towing or the boot, AirGarage has found that it's often not necessary with their system. The reason why might surprise you.
AirGarage installs incredibly clear signage, both at an entrance to indicate immobilization warnings, and in spots to indicate how one can text-to-pay. And believe it or not, they've found that sign installation has curbed their partners' violation rates by up to 90%.
Humans are psychologically programmed to do the right thing as long as there exists sufficient motivation and ability. The threat of immobilization combined with AirGarage's blazing fast text-to-pay feature presents drivers both the motivation and ability to follow the rules. It's no wonder that AirGarage has been in the good graces of churches, is respected amongst hotels like Hilton, and has a presence nation-wide. They didn't like the old parking access control solutions, so they created their own system and left behind the parking gates.
At the end of the day, owning a parking lot isn't exactly worthwhile if you can't enforce it. Old solutions just don't cut it these days. Parking gates and parking machines are expensive and faulty, while attendants are an extra expense if you have a tight budget. Innovators like AirGarage leverage new technology like ALPR to detect violations, while relying on simple and forgiving solutions like the Barnacle to immobilize when necessary. The future of parking belongs to those who enforce efficiently – and AirGarage is leading the pack.
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