UCO’s Transportation and Parking Services Introduce Parking Management Solutions
The UCO Transportation and Parking Services office recently rolled out new efforts to help students find parking on campus.
The commuter lot on the west side of the library hosts one of the University of Central Oklahoma’s new smart parking systems. The system alerts students before they enter the lot on how many parking spots are available for parking. (Provided/ Vista Archives).
UCO’s Transportation and Parking Services has recently rolled out smart parking management solutions that will be implemented across campus. These solutions are intended to help UCO students find parking spots more quickly.
Transportation and Parking Services (TPS) plans to install solar and AC-powered signs at the entrances of the parking lots on campus. Beginning with single entrance and exit lots, these signs will use road sensors to display the number of parking spots available.
Chelsea Ratterman, digital content specialist and media contact for TPS, gave some insight into the progress made so far.
According to Ratterman, while signs are already up in the library student and faculty/staff lots that have single entrances and exits, signs for the larger lots, like the one on the east side of campus by the Quad and Liberal Arts building, may be coming soon.
“The company we are working with is fantastic in helping us explore solutions to the challenges these lots present, both to us and to their current coding and tech structures. The biggest hurdle facing the larger, multiple entrance/exit lots is the need to have signs communicate wirelessly over a larger distance that the current coding and technology we have is capable of,” Ratterman said.
TPS has partnered with Canada-based Parking Logix, which produces the OpenSpace system that the signs run on. This company allows UCO to collect data about parking trends.
“All of the data we acquire is used to help us determine how we can better improve the parking experience for students, faculty, staff, and visitors. This may not necessarily mean lot creation and expansion, which is often the quickest option presented, and most difficult option to make happen just due to the available space around campus for this sort of construction,” Ratterman said.
She also explained that TPS may be making other changes to current parking procedure, such as how permits are issued. Currently, parking permits at UCO are the same price for everyone, regardless of where they plan to park. TPS is considering a plan that would allow for tiered pricing for permits, based on lot size and location of the lots where each student would be parking.
These changes come in response to complaints about the current parking conditions at UCO.
Starting next week, we will test opening a 2nd exit in the NUC visitor paylot Mon-Thurs, 11am-2pm to help w/ lunch rushes.
— UCOParking (@UCOParking) January 27, 2017
“I have classes in the Math and Science building and I have to park on the other side of campus just to find a spot,” said residential student Sierra Wilkinson. “I even have a hard time finding a parking spot on campus when I get back from work late at night.”
TPS is also hoping to create a mobile app that will give UCO’s students, faculty, staff and visitors the ability to view parking spot availability before they even reach campus.
“I think an app is a great idea and I would definitely use it because I would know if I would be able to park before I even get to the lot,” said commuter student Carly Montgomery.
There is currently no timeline on the app, but there is no doubt that TPS is working to make parking at UCO as easy and efficient as possible.