The City of Des Moines, Iowa, has just announced an exciting upgrade to its parking system in partnership with Flowbird Group, the leader in curbside management and urban mobility solutions. Flowbird, along with its local distribution and service provider, Baker Group, is in the process of implementing a smart multi-space pay station solution offering several exciting features to downtown motorists.
The City of Des Moines is Iowa’s capital city and most populous community with more than 217,000 residents. Downtown Des Moines supports 80,000 jobs each day, equating to over 35% of all jobs in the metro area. The City accommodates the daily influx of vehicles to the downtown area with a combination of 6 city-owned parking garages and 3,406 on-street parking spaces.
In 2020, the City released an RFP to modernize its on-street parking system, which, at the time, consisted of over 3,000 single space parking meters coming close to the end of their life span. The RFP stated the following goals: integrating data among on-street and off-street parking, convenient use for the public, enhancing short-term parking turnover at the curbside and long-term parking in garages, and remote regular and event rate changes.
Following a thorough RFP evaluation and a competitive trial, Flowbird was selected as the City’s highest ranking proposer to implement the new system which consists of over 400 solar powered smart multi-space parking pay stations. The pay stations feature a 9.7” full color touch screen that provides an experience similar to that of using a smart phone. Motorists will appreciate the ease of use and simplicity of the transaction flow as well as additional convenient features to help people stay in compliance with parking regulations. New payment methods such as Apple Pay and Google Pay are offered on the pay stations as well as a “text to extend” option that allows motorists to extend the parking session from their mobile device.
The pay stations are configured for Pay-by-Space parking, and the system is integrated with the City’s citation issuance system provided by Cardinal Tracking. Enforcement officers utilize wireless devices to check the status of each space. There is no need for a motorist to place their receipt on their dashboard.
All transaction data from the pay stations is sent in real-time to Flowbird’s intelligent data management suite ready to be integrated with other payment modes such as mobile phone payments. Using the data provided by the Flowbird system, City staff can analyze data in real time such as parking activity by zone, by date, by time of day, and more. Staff can view current and historical parking activity on Google Maps, helping them make critical decisions about when to change parking rates, where to place new meters, and where to focus enforcement efforts. Flowbird’s back-office system allows for remote changes to rates, messages, and screen layouts, ensuring that the pay stations are always up-to-date with the latest policy details.
Implementation of the project has already started with a multi-phased approach. The City anticipates that over 300 pay stations will be installed by the end of February. Flowbird is working closely with the Baker Group team on physical installation of the pay stations and Quality Striping, another local Des Moines based company, on single space meter removal and sign installation.
In addition to Des Moines, Flowbird systems can be found in 24 state capitals across the country, serving the critical role of managing parking in locations that offer many commercial and governmental services. Flowbird supports over 47,000 parking pay stations for 900 customers throughout the U.S.
Flowbird operates in over 5,000 towns and cities in 70 countries. The company is constantly innovating and breaking new ground to help provide solutions. Its mission is to facilitate the individual journey and maximize a city’s unique mobility potential while considering all city stakeholders and end-user experiences. Through its devices, elite service platform, and teams, Flowbird enables a new era for maximizing urban harmony and value throughout the city’s core.