The City of Grand Rapids, Michigan, has partnered with Flowbird Group, a global supplier of urban mobility solutions, to undergo a large expansion of smart parking kiosks within the fast-growing community. Upon completion, the City will utilize over 700 Flowbird Strada Pay Stations integrated with mobile phone payment and enforcement solutions.
The three-year expansion comes after a successful upgrade to the City’s paid parking system. In 2016, Flowbird signed a contract with the City to provide 75 solar-powered Strada Pay Stations. This initial installation was part of a shift to Pay-by-Plate parking from single-space coin meters, allowing more vehicles to park and encouraging customer parking turnover.
The Flowbird Strada Pay Station features a customer-friendly color display interface that is solar-powered and functions through adverse weather conditions. The pay stations accept a wide range of payments, including coins, credit or debit cards, and the system integrates payments from the City’s mobile parking app. Each kiosk is connected to Flowbird’s back-office system, SmartFolio, a cloud-based data intelligence platform that provides secure and actionable information to City staff, such as metrics, data visualization, and automated reporting.
The Strada Pay Stations also allow for a flexible rate structure that can be changed remotely throughout the day by City staff, such as during special events and holidays.
“We were very happy with the initial installation by Flowbird in 2016,” said Josh Naramore, manager of the City’s Mobile GR and Parking Services Department. “Expanding our smart parking pay stations is a natural progression toward our goal of having a world-class transportation and mobility ecosystem.”
The installation also addresses parking congestion and on-street availability downtown and the outlying business districts. In areas where free parking has posed a problem for small business customer turnover, paid parking kiosks aid in opening up parking spots.
Since initial installation in 2016, the City of Grand Rapids has reduced its operational costs, meter maintenance, and impact on the environment.
“Grand Rapids is forward thinking and focused on technology,” said Benoit Reliquet, President of Flowbird North America, “We are very proud to have been selected by such a dynamic partner to help them manage their impressive growth in smart city solutions.”
Currently, Flowbird supports over 40,000 parking pay stations for 600 customers throughout the United States and has deployed mobile parking applications for 80 cities and universities across the country. With over 700 pay stations, Grand Rapids will become one of Flowbird’s largest customers in the U.S.
The expansion is due to be complete by 2020.
The name Flowbird expresses the innate ability of birds to navigate individually within crowded spaces; mirroring the benefits for people of the intelligent parking and multi-modal systems developed for towns and cities by Parkeon and Cale.
Flowbird’s group resources include 500 R&D engineers working on behalf of customers to push the boundaries of innovation in transportation hardware, software, sensor systems, machine-learning and AI, information security and mobile development.