Consider the impact of different technical and design factors when making cost estimates for advanced parking management systems (APMS).
Experience from APMS deployment sites.
Date Posted

Advanced Parking Management Systems: A Cross-Cutting Study - Taking the Stress Out of Parking

Summary Information

Advanced parking management systems (APMS) maintain real-time parking space inventories across a set of participating facilities, offering a wide range of applications, from pre-trip web-based information systems, to navigation systems that provide turn-by-turn directions to the parking space. This cross-cutting parking management study helps those considering APMS to benefit from the experience of others in their planning, design, operation, and management. It presents findings from current literature and visits to APMS project sites, three profiled in detail:

  • Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) Airport: This APMS determines parking space availability in real time and guides travelers to open spaces through the use of dynamic message signs (DMS) on the airport access road, as well as signs located within the garages. Travelers can also see space availability on a LED sign located over each parking space.
  • Seattle Center: Through this APMS system dynamic message signs strategically located in the city provide directional arrows to parking garages and are designed to display real-time information on parking availability.
  • Two Chicago Metra park-and-ride facilities. This system guides commuters from the freeway to park-and-ride lots with open parking spaces. DMS located both on the freeway and on arterial streets along the commuter corridor post information on parking availability and provide directional arrows to the parking facilities.

These three were selected because they represent a range of system maturity, stakeholder relationships, and APMS technical approaches, offering examples of three key environments where APMS are often deployed – airports, central business districts (CBD), and park and ride facilities.

Lessons Learned

This study found a wide range in costs for the APMS projects at BWI airport, Seattle Center and Chicago Metra park-and-ride facilities (ranging from $250 to $800 per space). The factors that had the greatest affect on cost included: type and level of accuracy of the information provided; degree of complexity in installation of the sensors; availability of communication channels; availability of power supplies for remote components, and the signage required to convey the information at appropriate decision points.

  • At BWI, the unit cost of the equipment was approximately $450 per parking space. BWI stakeholders estimate that the system would have been more expensive if an existing facility had been retrofitted with the system’s equipment. THE APMS was estimated to cost between 2 and 5 percent of the overall construction cost of the new parking facility (excluding land costs).
  • In Seattle, the cost per space varied widely depending on the facility type (garage or surface). The overall cost was driven to a large degree by the cost of getting the signs installed and linked to the central computer and to local power supplies.
  • For the Chicago project, Metra will have a two year warranty period when the system becomes operational, during which time it will document operational costs such as staff time and materials. Metra expects that the annual electrical costs will be approximately $1680 to operate the seven signs.

When estimating costs for APMS projects, managers should consider the factors most likely to affect cost, including the type and level of accuracy of the information provided, the complexity of the installation, the availability of communications and power lines, and the signage required.

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