Cashless parking provider, RingGo recently surveyed councils across the UK. The aim was to understand the impact of COVID-19 and other factors on the parking industry, what organisations have learned, what they would do differently and how the impact of this year may shift future priorities.
Results show that during the pandemic, over half of councils (57%) across the country provided free parking for everyone, with an additional 14% providing free parking for key workers. This coincided with an 86% reduction in enforcement, with over half suspending it completely.
To help with these changes, RingGo worked directly with local authorities and parking operators to ensure they could safely support the needs of motorists and employees. RingGo provided tailored signage, adjusted app experiences, increased usage of cashless options and even helped with the removal of parking machines in some areas. Almost 9 in 10 councils that worked with RingGo during this time were satisfied or very satisfied with the support, quick action and flexibility the team provided.
While there is still uncertainty around the long term impact of the pandemic, many councils are looking forward. Moving into 2021, 72% expect to see phone-based parking payments take priority, with 56% correlating this with a reduced use of parking machines.
Additionally, 56% are looking to make more data driven decisions, specifically to track sessions and income (95%) and the migration from machine to cashless payments (86%). With RingGo’s intelligent dashboards and data insights, councils can get stats, graphs and real time updates across all of their parking locations. This enables them to track these trends and make educated decisions around mobility planning and implementations.
The need to react quickly during COVID-19 has also furthered the wish by local councils to be able to provide dynamic pricing based on availability (41%) and half would like to base this on vehicle type as well. This aligns with 78% noting that air quality is already driving parking policy. One way to offer dynamic pricing is through Emissions-Based and Net Zero Parking (EBP and NZP), two services developed by RingGo which link parking charges to the emissions of the vehicle being parked.
Despite the constant change of 2020, many priorities and pressures have remained the same for councils. Topping the overall parking goals list is achieving budgets (57%) and saving costs (43%), two topics that are universally at the top of this list. Maximising compliance was also a key factor and 93% saying that political considerations were driving parking policy.
Another important topic that has become more prominent is accessibility. In all, 70% said ensuring good accessibility was important, while 76% said it is now driving policy decisions.
Peter O’ Driscoll, UK managing director of RingGo says, “RingGo has been in the parking business for a long time, so we understand how different, and difficult, 2020 has been for many of our customers and partners. However, it is great to see that they are taking it in their stride, learning from many of the decisions they were forced to make during the pandemic and turning these into opportunities.
From embracing touch free parking to using data and becoming more environmentally conscious, these transitions would all have taken longer under any other circumstances. At RingGo, we have been working on these areas for years, so we are ready to hit the ground running or driving with all of our partners.”