When I started Parkopedia 12 years ago, I was driven by the need to alleviate the frustrations of drivers searching for parking. I knew nothing about the parking industry (apart from, perhaps, how to feed a parking meter), and it took Parkopedia a few years to build up the parking coverage to become interesting enough for an industry-focused product. Today, Parkopedia covers 70 million parking spaces across 89 countries globally and supplies parking services to over 20 of the world’s leading car brands, as well as mapping and navigation providers including Apple Maps, Garmin and TomTom.
At Parkopedia, we have defined a set of core values for the company, which include being open and transparent, as well as values around continuous innovation and improvement. These are behaviours we strive for both internally in our employee relations, as well as externally with our customers.
I was recently asked about a competitor’s topline numbers, where they were claiming coverage in a number of locations greater than Parkopedia’s numbers. My response was not to attack the “mine is bigger than yours” comparison, but rather, I asked the customer to quantify the detail within the comparison, so that they could clearly understand exactly how open and transparent the competitor was being with their coverage claim.
The question I found myself pondering after this discussion was: should we at Parkopedia be setting the bar so low to the point where we can claim “coverage” with only 1 location in a specific city, or should we strive towards a situation where all suppliers are held accountable to agreed standards, giving customers a level of transparency, confidence and security in the solution or data they are buying?
Transparency is just one reason why we encourage our business customers and prospects to conduct Ground Truth Testing and understand what questions to ask, to ensure they are able to truly understand what metrics and level of granularity are important to their business.
Parkopedia has also signed up to the Alliance for Parking Data Standards (APDS), formed by the International Parking & Mobility Institute (IPMI), the British Parking Association (BPA), and the European Parking Association (EPA), whose mission is to develop, promote, manage, and maintain a uniform global standard that will allow organisations to share parking data across platforms worldwide. The APDS’s first project in action is concerned with standardising parking language, making it easier for local authorities and private companies to exchange data, ensuring cars of the future navigate both driver and passengers to an available space based on the price, quality of the space, safety of the space and availability of on-site services — including being near to electric charge-points.
Ultimately, greater transparency, standardisation of terminology and agreed minimum standards can only be a good thing for the industry, enabling more unbiased evaluations of suppliers, and delivering improved driver experiences.