The City of Raleigh, North Carolina, has announced its partnership with Flowbird Group to relieve congested parking woes among high-traffic downtown streets. In mid-October 2019, installation of 250 new solar-powered Flowbird Strada Pay Stations and 26 single/dual space MAX meters commenced, replacing the City’s outdated meters. The digital upgrade will allow motorists to conveniently pay for parking using a credit card, coin, or via mobile app.
The Raleigh Parking Unit, a division of the City’s Transportation Department, began seeking a smart pay-by-plate parking program in 2017 in response to the City’s increasing growth and development. The goal was to provide more access to open parking spaces, better turnover of on-street parking spaces, and an improved customer experience. After research, parking studies, and community involvement, the City Council and Raleigh Parking voted to implement Flowbird’s Pay-by-Plate Strada Pay Stations, which would be installed at the same time several of the City’s parking decks would reduce their rates.
The Flowbird Strada Pay Stations fit several of the City’s smart parking plan initiatives. The new solar-powered Stradas use a top-of-the-line sealed lead acid gel cell battery that is estimated to last 3-5 years. They also display an easy-to-read color screen with clear instructions and a multi-lingual interface. The pay stations function in pay-by-plate mode, instructing users to input their license plate number and parking duration. Enforcement is done wirelessly so there is no need for users to display their receipt on their dashboard.
The 26 Flowbird MAX Meters are being installed in remote areas of the City. Six of the MAX meters are set up as dual space meters where the user indicates the space in which they have parked by pressing one of the arrow buttons. The MAX meters are solar powered, wireless, and accept coins, credit and debit cards.
Each Flowbird pay station and MAX meter is managed using Flowbird’s back-office platform, making it easy to monitor hardware, create detailed analysis reports, and adapt to meet current and future conditions.
Coinciding with pay station installation is the City’s plan to attract more visitors to the nine city-owned parking decks located around various parts of downtown Raleigh. The rate at seven of the nine decks will drop from $2 to $1.50 per hour for the first four hours. The change is intended to encourage people to use the parking decks for longer stays rather than metered spaces on-street.
Revenue from these parking changes will be reinvested in parking infrastructure, parking supply creation, safety enhancements and modernization of parking technology.
Installation is being done in 3 stages, the first beginning near the Hillsborough Street Corridor. The second installation will take place near the Glenwood South Corridor and finally, the Downtown Central Business District. The project is estimated to be complete by the beginning of 2020.
“We are very happy to see our pay-by-plate solution in such a vibrant city as Raleigh,” said Benoit Reliquet, President of Flowbird North America, “We appreciate that the City has put its trust in us and we look forward to helping them improve mobility downtown.”
Currently, Flowbird supports over 40,000 parking pay stations for 600 customers throughout the U.S., including other major North Carolina cities like Chapel Hill and Durham.
Flowbird is the world’s leading parking services and urban mobility company.
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.