The cities of Portland, Maine, Buffalo, New York and Omaha, Nebraska, share a common vision—a future where parking is no longer a burden for city leaders or the communities they serve.

Digital technology has changed how people live, move and do everyday tasks. These advancements have spiked a rapid growth in both the needs of parking operations and the demand from motorists who rely on them. However, the siloed, antiquated software historically used to manage parking has made it hard for cities to keep up with the pace of change.

As a result, parking officials suffer with systems that are difficult to manage, inflexible and that fail to provide mission-critical data in an automated way. Davis Hough, Senior Special Assistant to the Parking Commissioner of the City of Buffalo, explained, “We struggled to manage multiple analog systems that were not integrated, not in real time and not able to adapt to an accelerated evolution at the curb. We knew it was time to take action and ensure our city would be more innovative and efficient moving forward.”

Furthermore, when it comes to mobile payments for parking, motorists’ options are very limited, which is opposite of the modern experience they expect. People don’t want to waste time searching for and downloading a different parking app every time they visit a new city. They also don’t want to be forced to use a certain app. They expect the freedom to choose. In some cases, such as with people who require ADA accessibility, choice is even more crucial. Ken Smith, Parking and Mobility Manager for the City of Omaha said, “Technology will continue to advance, and people expect that our city will keep up. If our residents or visitors prefer to use one app over another when paying for parking, we want to accommodate them. We don’t want anything to deter or inconvenience them. We’d like to increase mobile pay parking usage in our city.”

Blazing a trail of modernization, the cities of Portland, Buffalo and Omaha have set their sights on a revolutionary, new parking management technology. The solution, created by transportation software company Passport, is an end-to-end digital operating system designed to unify parking management and modernize the customer parking experience.

Passport’s Operating System unlocks a revolutionary, open ecosystem model - a first of its kind for the US industry. This model makes it possible for cities to offer a wide range of mobile applications and manage them all within the same backend system. Motorists gain the freedom to choose their preferred app to pay for parking and cities manage all the app vendors seamlessly - without additional effort, contracts or complexity.

In support of the open ecosystem model, John Peverada, Parking Division Director for the City of Portland, shared, “We believe customers will perceive additional choices - multiple mobile apps to pay - as an enhancement and our goal is that mobile payment usage will increase as a result. I think it’s important to keep up with improved products that make their parking experience easier and quicker.”

And Hough added, “Like the City of Buffalo, Passport recognizes that paying for parking should be much more convenient for motorists and easier for cities to manage than it currently is. Well before the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Buffalo, under the leadership of Mayor Byron W. Brown, began moving away from parking meters and toward more mobile pay only zones. We look forward to building on our positive progress and finding even more ways to provide safe, contactless payment options for our community through the Passport Operating System.”

Regarding the advantages of the unified system, Smith explained, “The Passport Operating System will integrate different data sources operating within the City of Omaha’s parking ecosystem and provide us intelligent management insights in real time. There’s just one login to remember, where you’ll find historic, current and projected parking data in one convenient place.”

Portland, Buffalo and Omaha are among the first of a growing list of cities leveraging the Passport Operating System to redefine parking management and improve the parking experience. The shared vision is one with customer choice, increased revenue, better data, future adaptability and unified parking management.

To find out more about how Passport is helping cities, please visit the website.

This content is made possible by our sponsors; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of e.Republic’s editorial staff.