How LAX Airport Improved Operations With Smart Parking

Creating an improved customer experience for visitors in a parking garage sets a great first impression of the facility.

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In 2019, the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) saw 88 million annual passengers. As one of the busiest airports in the world, LAX choose to improve its facilities through a multi-billion dollar capital improvement project—which included updating its parking operations. The airport’s 10 parking garages hadn’t gone through many updates since their construction between the 1960s and 1980s, aside from the addition of automated payment systems and electric vehicle charging stations in some structures.

To modernize the parking experience, LAX reached out to ABM for a smart parking solution. Josh Feinberg, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer of ABM, shares the three objectives for this project: to make parking information more accessible to facility managers; to support revenue streams; and to create an improved customer experience.

ABMvantage, the system implemented into LAX Airport’s parking operations, consolidates all subset parking information into a single system, enabling facility managers to better plan and prepare for demand. Facility staff can see data about parking garage capacity and can block off full garages before visitors wander in.

As part of the new automated parking infrastructure, the smart parking technology includes automated gates, contactless payment, automated license plate readers, and credit card and bar code readers. This enables facility managers to closely monitor payments, and creates a frictionless experience for customers—an important consideration in a post-pandemic world as cleanliness continues to be a major concern going into 2023.

In addition, the system gives guests the ability to pre-book online and choose which parking garage, designated level, and specific space they will use—including the ability to reserve valet parking for EV spaces. As part of the transition to this new technology, LAX had the largest integrated installation of EV chargers among U.S. airports, with 1,250 spaces equipped for EV charging.

As an added bonus, a pre-booking parking system can support sustainability goals by reducing the amount of pollution cars emit. Instead of taking extra time to wander around in a parking garage, aimlessly searching for a spot, visitors can simply look up available spots on their phone and drive right to their designated location.

Creating A Seamless Experience

By implementing smart parking measures, facilities can create a “great first impression”  from the start, says Feinberg. Parking is classically considered to be one of the more anxiety-inducing or stressful parts of an experience—especially when trying to rush to an airport to catch a flight. By implementing technology that can streamline this process, this is one concern that can be eased for customers.

“Smart parking technology is helping us deliver on the promises of our digital-first approach to building a truly next-generation guest experience,” says David Reich, LAWA Deputy Executive Director for Mobility Planning and Strategy. “One of the biggest benefits of the system is that it brings unparalleled convenience to an area of the airport journey that hasn’t historically been seen as convenient, and we are excited to deploy the system in more of our parking facilities in the future.”

Given the benefits of this convenience, visitors have already expressed their satisfaction with the new smart parking system.

“Guests are responding to our new smart parking experience in very positive ways,” says David Reich, LAWA Deputy Executive Director for Mobility Planning and Strategy. “Since its debut last year, hundreds of thousands of guests have taken advantage of the convenience of pre-booking spaces in our facilities while enjoying cost savings made possible by dynamic pricing.”

Beyond airports, smart parking technology can be used to regulate the flow of traffic and help facility managers in any industry understand more about their parking capabilities. When it comes to embracing this technology, Feinberg encourages facility managers to have an open mind and consider how this technology can help improve facilities overall.

“Customer experience needs are going to become more sophisticated,” says Feinberg, and by taking a data-based approach, with customer experience in mind, Feinberg believes that facility managers are “setting the foundation for the future.”

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