Grand Rapids, MI

Putting parkers first in Michigan’s second largest city



on-street parking spaces


growth in Apple Pay and Google Pay adoption

With its diverse mix of arts and culture, breweries and restaurants, and shopping and outdoor activities, Grand Rapids is a bustling city with plenty to offer. Known as America’s “Best Beer City,” Grand Rapids is the largest city on the west side of the state and sits less than an hour from the shore of Lake Michigan.

Customization and functionality

The City of Grand Rapids was an early U.S. adopter of mobile payments for parking, but its original program was overly complicated and unable to support the flexibility desired by City staff and the users of the system. As it transitioned from traditional, single-spaced parking meters to pay stations, it was necessary for the City to have a partner that was able to be flexible with the changes.

Once Grand Rapids recognized the need for a digital parking solution, the City was ready to choose a vendor: one that could provide a comprehensive software solution to help manage their operations as a city.

The City was drawn to Passport’s digital parking solution because of the application’s wallet feature and ability to customize features. The City chose Passport as its partner and launched MOTU, a private label parking app named after the City’s motto of “Motu Viget” meaning “strength in activity.” The app launched in 2018 and is currently offered at more than 3,600 on-street spaces across the City.

Convenience with a focus on providing options

Grand Rapids continues to enhance the customer experience by working with Passport to provide more equitable payment options. MOTU’s closed-loop wallet feature allows users, whether they are part of the banked or unbanked communities, to preload funds into their accounts so they can pay for future parking sessions without a credit card.

In 2023, Grand Rapids launched enhanced gateway services with Passport, enabling app users to transact using Apple Pay or Google Pay. Jennifer Kasper, Mobile GR Assistant Director for the City of Grand Rapids, saw adoption of this feature skyrocket from zero to 25% in less than six months.

“It’s exciting to watch the data in real time and the information on our user base helps influence our on-street methods,” says Kasper.

“It’s exciting to watch the data in real time and the information on our user base helps influence our on-street methods,” says Kasper.

One back office, multiple benefits

Passport’s platform makes it easy to power and operate mobile pay parking, parking enforcement, digital permitting, payments and more – all from one place. Kasper and her team regularly use dashboards from Passport’s portal to monitor month-over-month and year-over-year revenue and transaction performance. The team is also able to analyze adoption rates, payment types and more.

“We want to be able to get as much demographic information about our users as we can so that it drives our decision-making and ultimately our go-forward strategy,” explains Kasper.

More than just a technology provider

Passport strives to be more than just a technology provider, but a consultative partner to the City on its journey from physical to digital infrastructure.

With Passport’s technology, the City of Grand Rapids can offer its growing community efficient parking and payment experiences, while leveraging the most effective, real-time parking management system available.

“We really enjoy our partnership with Passport and the various people we have worked with along the way.”

– Jennifer Kasper

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