Today, millions of drivers rely on companies such as Parkmobile to simplify an essential daily activity: parking their cars. The stereotypical and familiar parking meter has been replaced by mobile-payments technology as city after city adopts a new method that allows people to pay for parking by using mobile apps or Web-based solutions, thereby eliminating the need to swipe a card, feed coins to a meter or insert bills into a slot.

Consumers love mobile-payments technology because it simplifies the parking process and reduces the risk of getting a parking citation. The Parkmobile app has geo-location technology that helps its members to locate and pay for parking. 

Studies have indicated that more than 30 percent of congestion in urban areas is related to cars looking for parking spaces, which has a huge impact on carbon dioxide emissions. Mobile payments technology reduces the frustration that comes from driving around looking for a parking lot in addition to the annoyance that comes from locating and paying at a traditional meter. With mobile technology, paying for parking becomes easy and frictionless.

Private companies are partnering with cities all over the world to solve the headaches of metropolitan parking. Mobile phones are dramatically changing the parking experience across the globe by offering faster and more flexible ways to pay. But the benefits don't just stop at convenience and speed; indeed, cities are also finding that offering mobile payments for parking leads to more revenue and lower operational cost, and also provide ways of making the entire parking system more efficient for all.

Parkmobile has taken its solution a step further by working with major automotive manufacturers to migrate the Parkmobile mobile payment experience into “connected cars,” thereby offering the ability to locate, drive to and pay for parking all through the car without even the need of a mobile phone.

Additional services such as parking reservations, parking guidance and location based coupons/deals will make the experience even richer and more convenient. Other components such as paying for gas and other automotive-related services will also improve the experience of parking.

A seamless experience and smart choices will optimize the overall consumer experience and create a new level of ‘stickiness’ (that is, increased accessibility) for a car manufacturer’s brand; crucial for them because the new generation of consumers are wired (“connected”) that way.    

It’s a win-win for everyone. Consumers have an easier way to pay for parking; cities are becoming smarter and finding additional sources of revenue by working and implementing the mobile payments technology; and OEMs are benefiting from new levels of consumer interaction and stickiness. Mobile payment technology is definitely here to stay.

Several studies have indicated the American parking market is valued at $20 billion annually, of which $4.5 billion comprises municipal parking and approximately $8.5 billion is off-street parking.  To give an idea of the huge potential for the new payment system, consider that mobile payments are currently accepted at only approximately 2 percent of the total parking spaces in the US, according to estimates. 

Cherie Fuzzell, CEO of Parkmobile, a leading provider of mobile payments technology to the parking industry available in 550 locations in 35 states with more than 2 million customers.