One of the challenges of a parking garage is that the garage operator is selling a product-parking spaces-at the same price, when different parking spaces have different inherent values. If your parking space is four floors up from the exit and far from the elevator or stairwell, it’s not as valuable as a parking space right next to the exit on the ground floor. We know this because people park as close to the exit as possible until those spaces fill up, and then park progressively farther away. People are effectively voting with their cars.

 A selection of parking spaces near the front entrance (after disabled parking spaces) can be set at a higher price than the rest of the garage. The operator can charge a higher fee for the same time, or even charge for parking in shorter increments, such as $2 for 20 minutes rather than $2 for an hour. This lets garage operators earn a higher margin on their facility. It helps parkers by reserving the nearest parking spaces for drivers who really need to get in and out quickly, rather than giving those premium spaces to motorists who happened to get their first. Finally, it means merchants near the entrance of the parking garage will see increased traffic as turnover on some of the parking spaces nearest them increases.

 Of course, there’s a reason garage operators don’t do this already: Enforcement. Parking payment is usually performed at a toll booth at the exit of the parking lot, so consumers have no incentive to be honest and pay extra for a premium space. A pay by space meter can help with point of payment, but consumers can still park in premium spaces without paying full freight, unless a full-time individual is assigned to surveil premium spaces.

 A much more affordable solution is to use a smart parking solution like Streetline offers that combines surface mount sensors with an enforcement program to alert operators or staff whenever a spot has been filled but no one has paid for it. Credible enforcement ensures that drivers will park in premium spaces only when they pay premium fares, benefiting the whole parking ecosystem.