The City of Sacramento was recently recognized by the International Parking Institute (IPI) for its successful public education campaign in conjunction with the roll out of new smart parking meters. The 2014 Parking Matters Marketing & Communications Award is designed to recognize outstanding parking-related marketing, public relations, or communications programs or campaigns. The award was presented to the City by IPI at its recent conference and tradeshow in Dallas, TX.
Last year, the City of Sacramento undertook a massive modernization of its existing parking meter technologies, encompassing a mix of outdated single-space meters, some 20 years old, and pay-and-display pay stations. After a competitive bid process, San Diego-based parking meter manufacturer IPS Group, Inc. was selected to provide and install approximately 6,000 “smart” meters which offer payment options including cash and credit card and are wirelessly networked to a web-based management system.
The transition to the new smart meters signaled an end to a long-standing practice of allowing customers to purchase time at a pay-and-display station and walk back to their vehicles with a receipt as proof of payment. The new meters are also bringing an end to single-space meters that only accept quarters. In light of the significant changes affecting the public, the City’s Parking Services Division staff concluded that a significant public education campaign was necessary.
”The new smart parking meters are simple to use, but we still needed to acclimate the downtown customers about how they operate and what an increase in convenience they will experience. So we set out to demonstrate just that,” said Linda Tucker, media and communications specialist with the City.
The City’s Parking Services Division began working with its new parking meter vendor, IPS Group, to develop a strategic marketing and public education campaign in order to educate the City’s diverse business groups, motorists, and employees. This public-private partnership allowed the City to leverage IPS Group’s experience gained from its vast installation base. As well, the City was able to increase its bandwidth by utilizing the IPS in-house creative team to structure multi-media messaging and marketing materials to meet the goals of the campaign. With input from IPS Group, the City’s team identified the primary audiences, determined the methods of communications, and developed the marcom materials for distribution.
“It is important that we support our clients with an extensive set of services, such as marketing communications. When the public is fully engaged and informed, it increases the likelihood of success for the project overall,” said Chad Randall, COO of IPS Group. “The City of Sacramento has done a great job ensuring their public is fully informed and educated on the new parking system, and we congratulate them on this well deserved award.”
The successful partnership between the City of Sacramento and IPS Group resulted in a seamless and efficient implementation of the new technology. With its public outreach in place from the start of the program, there have been few complaints and minimal confusion, along with increased compliance.
About IPS Group, Inc.
San Diego-based IPS Group, Inc. is a design, engineering and manufacturing company focused on low power wireless telecommunications and parking technologies. IPS is proud to manufacture in California and has been delivering world-class solutions to the telecommunications and parking industries for over 15 years. The company is best known for their patented credit card enabled, solar powered single-space parking meter and web-based management system.