Advanced parking management systems cost between $250 and $800 per parking space to install.
Made Public Date


United States


United States


United States

Summary Information

In 2006, the Federal Highway Administration sponsored a study to evaluate the deployment of advanced parking management systems (APMS) at six parking facilities. In-depth profiles were prepared for three facilities. The APMS included in the study provide directions to the parking facility and information about space availability. The study examined APMS at three types of venues – airport, central business district, and transit park-and-ride facility – and found that the APMS deployment costs could vary widely, depending on several factors, including:

  • Type and level of the information provided
  • Level of effort required to install sensors
  • Ease of access to communications and power supplies
  • Signage scheme at appropriate decision points

Two of the profiled APMS facilities, Seattle Center and Chicago Metra Park-and-Ride, are integrated with their respective Regional ITS. The third profiled APMS, Baltimore Washington International (BWI) Airport, while not integrated with the Regional ITS has been a leader in APMS applications at U.S. airports and is the largest airport ITS parking system in the U.S.

The life cycle costs of an APMS are typically split between the parking facility operators and the local jurisdictions. Life cycle costs cover: system design, equipment, installation, communications, operations, and maintenance. Major cost elements in APMS are:

  • Sensors
  • Integration and operating software
  • Display systems
  • Electronic payment systems
  • Power supplies
  • Communications

Communications component cost items include:

  • System interface terminals
  • Line charges for twisted wire, fiber optic, T-1, or wireless services, depending on the configuration of the system
  • Web-based services

In 2004, the BWI Airport APMS was completed at an estimated cost of $6 million. The APMS deployment at the multi-level garage included 13,000 spaces with roughly the same number of overhead LED indicators, and complex signage system including 27 signs on each garage level and ramp and 167 aisle signs. The cost of the APMS deployment was approximately $450 per parking space. The BWI Airport system uses several types of technologies that work in cohesion in the following manner:

  • Ultrasonic sensors are positioned over each parking space to monitor the availability of the space. Information is collected for each aisle, floor, and facility.
  • The occupancy status information for each space is processed in a central computer.
  • Parking guidance information to drivers is provided on dynamic message signs on the airport access road. This sign indicates the "Open" or "Full" status of each parking facility.
  • As drivers arrive at an APMS-equipped facility, billboard signs at the entry to each level indicate the number of spaces available on that floor (level).
  • Signs on the up and down ramps within the garage also indicate the number of spaces on floors above and below

At BWI airport, the APMS was deployed as part of the new parking construction and the APMS deployment was estimated to cost between two to five percent of the overall construction cost of the new parking structure, excluding land costs. The BWI airport stakeholders estimate that the system would have been more expensive if an existing garage were to be retrofitted with APMS.

In the case of Seattle Center, the cost per space varied widely based on the facility type, which included both garage and surface lots. The overall cost was driven to a significant degree by the cost of getting the signs installed and linked to the central computer and to local power supplies.

During the two-year warranty period beginning once the Chicago Metra Park-and-Ride facility becomes operational, staff will document the operational cost such as labor and materials. The electrical cost for the Chicago Metra Park-and-Ride facility is estimated at $1,700 annually for the seven electrical signs in the system (an eighth sign is solar-powered) and will be paid by the cities where the signs are located.

Overall, the study concluded that the cost of deploying advanced parking management systems vary widely and could range between $250 and $800 per space.

System Cost

$250 to $800 per parking space.