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  • Writer's pictureAthenaPSG

Ai And All The Ways It’s Not Going To Destroy The Parking Industry (Or Society).

Written by Susan Cyran

AI or Artificial Intelligence gets a lot of press. It’s fuel for the imagination and found a comfortable and terrifying home in science fiction for decades. Now that it has emerged into our daily reality, industry experts spill a lot of ink about the ways in which it will impact the way we work, the way we shop, our politics, and our daily lives.

AI, once a figment of science fiction, now stands at the forefront of revolutionizing industries like parking.

When it comes to technology and parking, like most industries, there exists a resistance to the embracing of innovation that disrupts an existing paradigm. It’s natural to feel anxiety about an uncertain future. In parking, this has manifested as a slow embracing of automated solutions or a hybrid of manual labor and some automation. And because technology tends to evolve at an accelerated pace at distinct points, that friction creates a loss of energy allowing businesses to stagnate and fall behind. This results in a more significant investment requirement to modernize before or, sometimes unhappily, after you have achieved obsolescence, and you must begin the process anew. While there is no panacea to this cycle, it is useful to think about technology as being at the core of parking and therefore, as technology solutions change and adapt to new discoveries such as increased computing power or machine learning algorithms, the industry can more naturally adapt and change alongside the technology. I’ve heard it said that the parking industry is fragmented, but if you think of the industry as a technology driver, it’s anything but.

AI is not as scary as it seems

All computers are AI. Your cell phone is AI. The ability to store and process commands and generate an information result or a decision result is the basic definition of an artificial intelligence. The more recent developments of machine learning algorithms and large language models have accelerated the possibilities of AI in a whole range of new ways. But it’s not doing the thinking for us. It’s just allowing us to think differently. This is the heart of innovation.

Automating Automation 

It’s a common experience for a business or company to introduce automation technology into an aspect of their processes to increase productivity and streamline operations and it ends up creating a lot of extra work through repeated trainings, rigorous oversight requirements, and battles with limitations of the tools. AI tools may offer companies the ability to introduce new technology that has a more intuitive learning curve by allowing operators the ability to request commands verbally or through queries. Have you ever spent a lot of money on an automated system that has a wide-ranging reporting function, but somehow the report you need doesn’t exist? You could partner with the developer to create a custom suite of reports, or you could download data and manually create the report you need. What if you could simply ask the system to give you the results of a specific question?

Further, AI tools promise a means of streamlining data in ways that are far easier to read and understand. The human brain is wired to look for patterns, but it’s not good at finding them in a pool of homogeneous data. That’s where AI can compliment the human brain by allowing operators to think about the results they need, or a question set that arises out of a specific problem and point the technology to provide results that are clear and easy to understand.

Customer Support

The increasing sophistication of large language models opens a lot of possibilities in the area of customer support. If you talk to a customer support representative in parking, they’ll likely tell you that more than half of their calls are for simple problems like credit card insertion or even accidental intercom connections. A lot of time is spent eliminating common problems that don’t necessarily need human guidance. AI tools can empower developers and operators with the ability to field simple or erroneous problems and eliminate them before they connect with a customer support representative. They could even do so with a friendly face that responds to audible commands. Having an easy and fast solution to annoying problems without abandoning the feeling of human interaction can have enormous benefits to customer outcomes and experiences.

On the support side, streamlining customer engagement allows support representatives to focus on the problems that have more impact on successful operations and positive consumer outcomes. They are allowed the time and space to develop greater expertise that may even allow for higher wages in those positions leading to greater employee retention and all of the benefits that entails. A rising tide lifts all ships, as the saying goes.

Predictive Analysis

The time and expertise required to compile sufficient data for a sample that will supply effective and accurate predictions is enormous. AI offers computing power that surpasses human capabilities by orders of magnitude. What to do with those predictive results and how to deploy strategies to leverage that information is best left to human ingenuity. That partnership reveals the power that technology partnerships wield to bring beneficial outcomes to businesses and the industry as a whole. The effect on results-driven innovation could be astounding if we are allowed to focus on results from a sound and encyclopedic data set that can be mined and focused on an infinite array of goals or desired outcomes.

Market Responsive Pricing

Dynamic pricing has been something of a unicorn in the parking industry, it seems. It magically evades every attempt to capture it effectively. The introduction of AI into automated systems complimented by the shift of parking transactions into the virtual space creates a real chance at deploying a dynamic pricing method that has the benefit of a huge pool of historical data, market pricing, and parker behavior that actually works.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

It’s clear that representation is critical in every aspect of life. Our ability to see and understand the differences among us fosters empathy, expands opportunities, and powers effective collaboration. Like any computing technology, AI functions with the information to which it has access, so it seems equally clear that the data must also be representative to ensure that target results are accurate and equitable. If appropriate and reasonable safeguards are continually managed in AI processes and oversight, then we may make the world the better place for everyone.

Like any technology, AI is a tool that gives us the opportunity to make our work and our lives better. If it’s developed and used with ethical methods and clear goals, it has potential to improve industry conditions, customer sentiment, drive revenue growth, and support sustainable practices.

End of a wonderful article

About Athena Partners Strategy Group 

Leveraging a specialized network of partners, APSG is a governmental relations and technology consultancy guiding organizations in developing new business and launching solutions across parking, transportation, curb management, rideshare, law enforcement, public safety and sustainability sectors. More at

About Susan Cyran

Susan Cyran has worked in the commercial real estate and parking industries for nearly 30 years with a focus on technology and innovation. She lives and works in the DC Metro area. In her 18+ years with Boston Properties - the largest REIT in the US, she developed expertise in parking technology through cultivation of a network of industry experts and the creation of meticulous processes for the evaluation of new solutions in new building developments.

Op-ed written by Susan Cyran, Freelance Consultant,



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