As appearing in June 2019 issue of Parking Magazine
Rather than rush to add more spaces, Kris Glenn, OU’s director of parking services, decided to maximize what they had. “There’s no doubt that our parking had become scarce. However, we also knew there were plenty of underutilized parking areas on campus. We just needed to help our faculty, staﬀ, and students ﬁnd it,” Glenn says. That was the beginning of OU’s Smarter Parking Initiative.
Glenn worked with local reseller Parking Guidance Systems to design a smart parking solution using Indect sensor technology. A parking app was developed to identify all OU parking lots on a single platform. The map shows the status of all parking lots: red for full, yellow for partially full, and green for open. The app — OU Innovate — has been downloaded over 20,000 times, and parking space utilization has improved signiﬁcantly.
The next step was converting OU’s metered parking to smart parking stations.These included two-hour-limit spaces where users can pay by credit card, coins, or the Whoosh!pay-by-phone app. “Eighty-ﬁve percent of people pay by card or phone, which really helps our revenue stream and minimizes the risk of people overstaying. We also added a number of EV charging stations,” Glenn says.
A new smart-bike program, Crimson Cruisers, is free to faculty, staﬀ, and students and accessed with a simple app that unlocks and locks the bikes. The ease of access to this alternative transportation has allowed traﬃc to ﬂow freely through campus.
In spring 2018, a new 1,221-space parking garage opened. “We knew from past experience about the ebb and ﬂow of garage traﬃc,” Glenn says. A combination of Indect’s single-space LED sensors, multifunction camera sensors, and electronic wayﬁnding signage was installed to give OU complete control over traﬃc ﬂow and space designation.
The system not only allows for faster parking; it also provides added security and analytics.The simple “red occupied, green open” system has been a huge success with students and faculty members. The signage shows real-time space availability on every level and guides drivers to speciﬁc parking zones. The parking data is also helpful to faculty as they schedule classes to maximize parking availability. The system has been so successful that it is now installed in three OU garages with plans to install it in another three in the next few years.
When faced with the challenge of improving parking, OU used a variety of approaches to ensure success. “We’ve designed an app, added smart parking services, built a smart garage, and integrated it all together,” says Glenn. “We’ve taken an innovative and successful approach to solving our parking challenges.”
PHOTOS COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA