Home to over 3,000 faculty and 40,000 students, Purdue University, in the heart of Indiana, is known for science, technology and agricultural research, in addition to being a member of the Big Ten conference. While students and faculty are the primary users of parking on campus, the campus concert hall and the office of the president also have regular visits by community members and benefactors.
The campus used single-space coin meters for years and struggled with money handling, lack of parking data, and ongoing costly meter maintenance. In order to streamline these operations and to provide a modern payment method for the young, digitally-savvy students and visitors on campus, Purdue sought a mobile solution.
Enforcement Integration: T2, Genetec LPR
Purdue has a hardware-free solution that not only allows students and visitors to easily pay for parking, but also reduces time spent on maintenance. Purdue can also take advantage of knowing more about its parking operation with Passport’s back end system.
Moving Toward Mobile Pay
The transition to mobile pay began with implementing signage and putting decals on the parking meters. After a few months, Andy Pruitt, Parking Facilities Coordinator at Purdue, observed that mobile pay transactions were increasing, and decided to transition the campus to mobile only.
“We had meters and [the] PassportParkingⓇ app, and the transition to mobile payments was smoother than expected, so we decided to move forward with a mobile-only solution. With mobile, we have an idea of where people are parking, how long they’re parking, and we don’t have to unload the meters every three days and work to maintain them. It’s easy for the customer and it’s easy for the provider.” – Andy Pruitt, Parking Facilities Coordinator at Purdue
Making the Switch
After a few months of having dual options– coin-based meters and mobile pay– Purdue began removing meters across campus, giving parkers time to adjust to a new solution and for parking payment behavior to change. There is one section of campus that remains to go mobile pay only, and it has high visitor traffic. But Purdue has been able to use mobile payment data to help make their decision on whether or not to keep meters on that block for visitors.
“Looking back, the way we transitioned to mobile pay was a good thing. We have a bunch of students who will pay for anything with their phone, and then a bunch of visitors who aren’t used to that, but by methodically transitioning from meters to mobile, we haven’t had any complaints at all about using the system.” – Andy Pruitt, Parking Facilities Coordinator at Purdue
Passport’s back end system quickly provides data on where drivers are parking, how many transactions are coming through, and the transaction amount. Andy Pruitt’s frequently-used reports are the usage and income reports.
“We had no details on the money we were taking in from our meters — where it came from and when. For me to get into the [Passport] back office and to easily access this information is incredibly convenient– if I can do it, anybody can do it. I love looking at data, but I’m not a computer guy, so I don’t want it to be hard to get to. And it’s user friendly.” – Andy Pruitt, Parking Facilities Coordinator at Purdue
Saving Time and Increasing Revenue
Before implementing mobile payments, the parking department spent hours unloading all of the meters across campus every three days, which Andy would then need to spend even more time processing. Purdue’s parking enforcement officers can now do just that– enforce parking– and the parking department can spend time making thoughtful decisions about the university’s parking operation. This increased presence of parking enforcement officers has increased compliance across campus.
Looking to the Future
Pruitt sees mobile pay as a solution that will continue to reduce parking expenses while increasing revenue and operational insight. “A year from now, I want to have data that allows us to service our customer better, to understand occupancy, and to have the ability to use data make better operational decisions like getting rid of spaces or adding them” says Pruitt. This all adds into the university’s goal for students and visitors alike to have a smooth and enjoyable parking experience while on campus, in order to increase efficiency. He also looks to the day when all aspects of parking management, including permits and enforcement, can be tied into one holistic system.