Miami Parking Authority Enables 95% Digital Parking Adoption with Data-driven Policy Making

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The City of Miami uses Smarking’s Business Intelligence Platform to make data-driven decisions to increase mobile payment adoption from 40% to 95%, reduce maintenance and labor costs by more than $3 million dollars, all while creating over $45 million dollars of additional funds for the community.

Background

The Miami Parking Authority (MPA) partnered with Smarking in 2017 to help the city with their initiative of mobile payment adoption enablement. Through this partnership, MPA made data-driven decisions to successfully remove legacy pay stations surgically across the city. The goals were to reduce cost and increase efficiency, ensure parkers have convenient payment options, maintain consistent parking revenue, and maximize the well-being of the community. Given the diversity of neighborhoods and parker payment preferences across the city, the extent and pace of pay station removal needed to vary in different neighborhoods to minimize the disruptions on parkers’ usage and on revenue flow. This process typically requires expensive and time consuming parker payment preference surveys across multiple areas of the city. This is particularly challenging in tourist areas where sampling is more challenging. In addition, phased removal means starting small, testing and monitoring the results, then expanding the scale or making adjustments, all of which create ongoing challenges to parking managers and decision makers. The MPA was able to increase mobile adoption from 40% to 95% over the course of 2017 to 2022.


MPA and Smarking shared an early success story back in 2018 with the broad parking industry . This 2022 case study is an update on the continued success of the MPA “pay station removal program” throughout and post the COVID pandemic.


George Mclean, Senior Business Analyst, Miami Parking Authority “We used Smarking's Business Intelligence SaaS Platform to figure out which pay stations were prime targets for our pay-station-removal program. If it were not for Smarking, we could not have made such accurate data-driven decisions.”

Fig. 1, Before, Pay Station and Mobile Payment Transactions Miami 2017


Fig. 2, After, Pay Station and Mobile Payment Transactions Miami 2021-2022


Miami City-Wide Parking Digitization

Miami as a whole is a large city with varied neighborhoods and varied daily parking patterns. Some areas cater more to tourists, and some areas cater more to locals. Miami created equity-oriented policy, and rolled out their pay station removal program neighborhood by neighborhood, starting with more Technologically driven areas first for example; ( Brickell, Wynwood). As shown in Fig. 1, the City of Miami started at 40% mobile payments and 60% pay station payments by transactions in January 2017. In Fig. 2, by the end of June 2022, the City of Miami reached 95% mobile payment transactions.

In the same time period, the City also observed substantial increase in parking revenue while switching to mobile payment from pay stations. This increase in revenue continued throughout the Covid-19 pandemic in the past years. Fig. 3 shows the pay station, mobile payment and total revenue for 2017. Fig. 4 shows 2021-2022 numbers with the switch to mobile payment over pay station.

This increase in revenue is coupled with the decrease in maintenance costs of removing the pay stations. Very likely, the compliance ratio may have improved significantly over the same period as well.


Wilfredo Soto, Senior Operations & Maintenance Manager, Miami Parking Authority "The reduction of $375,000 in equipment maintenance allowed us to focus our resources on improving city infrastructure."

Fig. 3, Before, Parking Revenue in Miami 2017


Fig. 4, After, Parking Revenue in Miami 2021-2022

Wynwood Area Strategy

Wynwood is home to a community of art galleries, craft breweries, boutiques shops, local retail stores, stylish bistros, bars, and one of the world’s largest open-air street-art installations. A hip young crowd frequents the neighborhood, bring economic vitality along with parking demand. Under the assumption that most of these parkers were more accustomed to mobile apps than average Miami parkers, the MPA initially installed fewer pay stations in this neighborhood than in most other areas of the city to encourage people to use mobile payments. There was initially a concern that an insufficient number of pay stations would cause parkers so much inconvenience that it would discourage people from coming to this area, hurting businesses and parking revenues.


As it turned out, the parking has been well utilized, and the number of parking transactions has marginally increased from 2017, Fig. 5, when the program was introduced, to 2021, Fig. 6. Pay station transactions contributed more to the total transaction amount in 2017 than in 2021. By the end of 2017, 98% of parking transactions were paid via mobile, representing 97% of total revenue, slightly higher than at the beginning of the year (97% and 96%). By 2021, that number has gone down to almost 0%.


Henry Espinosa, Director of Information Technology, Miami Parking Authority “We knew that mobile payments were the way to go, but didn’t know the complete quantified % of mobile adoption until we used Smarking’s Business Intelligence Platform. We found that we could make decisions, and see the change in the data within weeks.”

Fig. 5, Before, Wynwood Area Occupancy Rates 2017


Fig. 6, After, Wynwood Area Occupancy Rates 2021


Little Havana Area Strategy

Little Havana is a vibrant Cuban hub with Latin American art galleries, restaurants, clubs, theaters, shopping centers, and open spaces. Public parking in this area mainly serves patrons of the businesses and event goers, including both local visitors and tourists. In January 2017, over 70% of parking transactions were by mobile payment. The MPA decided to test their pay station removal program and switch to mobile payments only. Fig. 7, is Little Havana’s total transactions in 2017 including data for pay stations. Fig. 8, is Little Havana’s total transactions in 2021-2022 after pay station removal. The MPA was able to increase the number of parking transactions by almost 50% in Little Havana while removing pay stations. The MPA was able to increase parking transactions, and therefore the amount of foot traffic to the Cuban-American district, while also removing a significant amount of their maintenance costs by removing the pay stations. The area achieved significant year-over-year growth in transactions and revenue Year-over-year following the removal of parking pay stations.


Angel Diaz-Director of Operations, Miami Parking Authority "We originally wanted to save money by removing the pay stations and switching to mobile payments. We were pleasantly surprised that it not only saved the city over $3 million dollars in maintenance and collection costs, but also increased the total parking revenue by over $45 million dollars in the past 5 years. This was an overall win."

Fig. 7, Before, Little Havana Transactions 2017


Fig. 8, After, Little Havana Transactions 2021-2022


Biscayne Blvd Area Strategy

The Biscayne Blvd is a north-south artery along the Biscayne Bay on the east edge of Miami. Adjacent to the Lot 19 location is a cluster of regional shopping centers, restaurants, event venues, and tourist destinations, which is the main draw for visitors and parkers. Largely due to the high concentration of tourists who are less likely to download the mobile parking payment app, this area historically has had over three-fourths of all transactions paid via pay station. The preconception was that removing pay stations on a large scale may create inconvenience, affect businesses, and jeopardize parking revenues. Nevertheless, based on payment data analysis, the MPA redirected its attention to mobile payment methods and identified a new opportunity to improve efficiency.


If you look at Fig. 9, in January 2019, 62% of parking transactions occurred through pay stations. By June 2022-Fig. 10. 23% of parking transactions occurred through pay stations, with 77% through mobile payments. Biscayne Blvd. relies on tourism to fill its parking locations. The MPA has proven that anyone can use the mobile payment software and park.


Wilfredo Soto, Senior Operations & Maintenance Manager, Miami Parking Authority “What surprised me the most about the pay station removal program was the community’s easy adoption of mobile payments. We were able to communicate the change to the community.”


Fig. 9, Before, Biscayne Blvd, Lot 19 Transactions 2019


Fig. 10, After, Biscayne Blvd, Lot 19 Transactions 2021-2022


Summary

The Miami Parking Authority centered their policy making around equity and made data-driven decision when parking stations were removed across the city. Beyond saving $3,375,000 dollars in total costs to date, including about $375,000 from equipment maintenance, and over $3 million dollars from collection costs, the MPA also observed an increase of parking revenue of $45 million dollars over the past five and half years, likely because of the convenience of payment for more and more citizens and visitors. Smarking Business Intelligence SaaS platform supported the Miami Parking Authority teams in their decisions with holistic, real time, and in-depth data and analytics. The City of Miami currently has over 88% of their parking transactions by mobile device, higher than the goal of 85% of transactions, and this leads the parking services digitization movement across the entire country.