Research from the British Parking Association (2017) shows that 48% of drivers are annoyed by a lack of spaces, and 39% say finding somewhere to park is a stressful experience. Car manufacturers and navigation services who are able to provide information to drivers to improve this parking experience will be at an advantage when it comes to meeting their customer’s needs.The key to this is having high quality parking data, so when selecting a provider, it’s critical to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Here are five questions to help you do just that:
1. How is the data collected?
Parking data is complex, difficult to source and ever changing. Unless your provider has implemented and regularly maintains robust systems for collecting and updating this data, you run the risk of providing drivers with out of date or inaccurate information, thereby eroding trust in your service and your brand. Ask your provider about their collection methods, quality assurance and freshness (frequency of updates), and be wary of data that may have been scraped from another provider - it happens!
2. What level of coverage do they offer?
Even if the parking data is of a very high quality, it’s of little use to drivers if there are no locations near the driver’s desired destination. Find out which cities are included, the number of locations in each city and whether having only 1 or 2 locations equals “coverage” in your evaluation criteria. Also, make sure that the data is useful - locations that are not accessible to the public, for example employee only parking, can inflate the location count of a provider but are worthless to drivers.
3. How detailed and complete is the data?
For drivers, choosing the right parking option is about more than just knowing the price and location. Understanding restrictions, features and payment options are all equally necessary for drivers to make an informed selection. A high number of attributes doesn’t necessarily indicate “better” data. Instead, look at what’s available and how you can use it in the experience that you want to create.
4. What dynamic data is available and how is it derived?
Dynamic data helps drivers understand the likelihood of being able to find a free space at a given parking location. Make sure to ask your provider how the dynamic data is created - what data sources are used, where is the data collected from, how are sources combined to provide an overall picture, and how frequently is the data updated? Also, ensure that you understand the output being offered - is it the probability of finding a space, the number of spaces available or something less precise like “parking pressure”?
5. Who else uses and trusts the data?
Widespread usage in production systems is a strong signal that the data service is trusted and effective. Find out how many customers the provider currently has, who they are and verify how their data is actually being used. This also gives you an indication of how experienced a provider is in delivering a data service in production in your industry.
The final solution which you choose to deliver to your customers is highly dependent on the quality of the data, the quality of implementation and the quality of the provider’s own operation, so taking the time to drill-down into these areas is certainly an investment worth making.
Parkopedia provides real-time and predictive parking space availability for over 70 million spaces globally, and works with more than 20 of the world’s leading auto brands. For more information, or to ask these questions to Parkopedia, contact firstname.lastname@example.org