by David Cummins, vice president of parking, ACS Transportation Solutions

While people like to complain about parking, a well run parking system can help a city grow. Good parking improves traffic flow by making it easier to find a spot and increases space turnover, benefitting businesses.

Cities see the benefit of upgrading their parking program, but in these tough economic times, cities are too overburdened and underfunded to make a change on their own. Many are more focused on meeting the basic needs of citizens and can’t focus on improving their parking system.

A public-private partnership may be the way to bring about a more convenient parking program. A public-private partnership is a contract between a city and a private party, where the private entity assumes the financial, technical and operational risk.  The city retains program oversight and retains control for things like rate increases.

This allows a city to work with a private company who provides management and expertise, in addition to making the investment in updating technologies like apps that help you find a parking space or paying the meter from your cell phone.

By joining forces with an experienced partner in the private sector, citizens can benefit from the improvements and cities can focus on running the city, not just the parking program. If you want to learn more about how your city might be able to improve parking in your hometown, listen to a podcast on whether public/private partnerships are best for your city.