The City of Detroit switched to a new parking app the last week of December. The old ParkDetroit app only allowed drivers to pay for metered parking spaces. The new app allows users to pay for parking in both the city’s spaces and some private parking garages and lots. It also lets drivers search parking prices, availability and even pay for parking before hitting the road.
The app was designed by FLOWBIRD, a French-based company that specializes in transportation-related payment systems. The city says it cost about $300,000.
Listen: Detroit’s parking director talks about new features in the ParkDetroit app.
According to Detroit’s municipal parking director, Keith Hutchings, the old ParkDetroit app was “well loved” but the city wanted to create a new one with the hopes of making Metro Detroiters feel better-equipped to drive into the city.
“Sometimes they can be intimidated,” says Hutchings. “What we realized is we needed a more robust experience to give consumers all the information at their fingertips to make a decision to come into the city.”
Current ParkDetroit holders are unable to access the latest version simply by downloading an update. The old ParkDetroit app has to be deleted and then the new app, of the same name, can be downloaded. Upon first use, drivers will need to re-enter their license plate and payment information.
Since the app was officially released on Dec. 30, Hutchings says the city received some feedback and there have been a few upgrades. Users can now enter their payment information at the beginning of a transaction and can once again enter their parking zone number. When the app was first released, drivers had to scroll to their location on a map and find a nearby parking meter.
The city is planning to roll out additional app features within the next six months. One update will include a multimodal transportation portal, which Hutchings says would work like this: “You put in a location and it would give you multiple options to get there, whether you drive directly to the location or you park at an alternative location and take additional transportation there.” A merchant validation program that would include discounts for parking in certain structures is also in the works.
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