October 22nd, 2018

4 Applications combined in 1 to create one-of-a-kind app experience

Flowbird Group, the world’s leader in curbside management and urban mobility solutions, has announced that their newest mobile application will launch in November 2018.  The app, called flowbird, takes the customer friendly features from the company’s applications – Whoosh!, WayToPark, Yellowbrick, and PathToPark – and blends them together into one comprehensive mobility solution. 

The app will offer the following functionality: 

  • Mobile payments (iPhone, Android, web)
  • Coupon code acceptance (validation codes)
  • Real time parking occupancy (for select locations)
  • Find my car (for those who forget where they parked)
  • In car payments via Apple Car Play and Siri Payment 

The flowbird app was on display last week at the 2018 National Parking Association convention being held in Las Vegas, NV along with other innovative Flowbird solutions. 

“Our team is very excited about the launch of the flowbird mobile app,” said Benoit Reliquet, President of Flowbird North America.  “This app combines the best features of all of our brands while adding additional urban mobility services, making it easier for users to find and pay for parking.” 

Currently, Flowbird’s mobile applications are active in 15 countries and over 400 cities. The flowbird app will be available in the App Store and Google Play Store in a few short weeks.

Posted: 30 Oct 18

October 29th, 2018

Improvement to Downtown Goes Live 

The City of Beverly, Massachusetts, has partnered with Flowbird Group to launch a new pay-by-plate  parking system to manage and support its long-term economic vitality. Parking meters in the downtown area have been replaced with 95 Flowbird Strada kiosks, where drivers can now use a smartphone app, a debit or credit card, or coins to pay for parking. 

The decision to upgrade is due to a steady increase over the last 4 years in visitors coming to the downtown area to shop, dine and attend events. It was determined that although there was enough public parking in downtown, it was not being used efficiently or effectively. The City worked with a consultant to create a parking management plan for the downtown, including swapping out the antiquated, single-space meter heads in favor of multi-use kiosks. 

The new solar-powered Stradas are user-friendly with a large color screen and customized interface. The kiosks will function in pay-by-plate mode, instructing users to input their license plate number and parking duration. The user can then complete payment and is not required to display their receipt on their dashboard. Each kiosk accepts credit/debit cards, coins and are compatible with Beverly’s mobile payment app and citation issuance system. 

“People don’t come to downtown Beverly to park their car. They come to shop, dine or enjoy entertainment venues,” said Kevin Harutunian, Chief of Staff for the City of Beverly, “When the City decided to make the investment to upgrade its downtown parking program, we felt it was important to make the parking user experience a positive one.” 

The switch to a pay-by-plate system allows the City to implement permitted parking for both downtown businesses and residences living in congested areas. Permitted parking will be verified by enforcement officers via the vehicle’s license plate number. By implementing ‘Permit Parking Only’ and ‘4 Hour Parking’ zones in downtown residential areas, commuters will be encouraged to park in the nearby MBTA parking garage for just $2 per day. 

The new kiosks also allow the City to use a tiered system of parking rates, minimizing congestion in popular parking zones. The idea is to have spaces available downtown for people who want to patronize businesses, and to push people who may not mind walking, into less-expensive spaces further away. For example, in the “core” parking zones (busier streets like Rantoul and Cabot street), parking will be 75 cents per hour; 50 cents per hour in “secondary” zones; and 25 cents per hour in City parking lots. 

Under the new system, Flowbird’s kiosks are customized so that the first 20 minutes are free at any on-street space, allowing someone to grab a cup of coffee or other similar quick errand. The idea came from Mayor Cahill, who thought that those investing in downtown should not have to pay for a full hour of parking. 

"Our rates are very, very reasonable," said the City’s Commissioner of Public Services and Engineering, Mike Collins, “The top priority is to manage the City's parking, not make money. The revenue from the new system will be used to maintain it.” 

Currently, Flowbird supports over 40,000 parking pay stations for 600 customers throughout the U.S.  This project allows the company to continue its rapid expansion across the State of Massachusetts working together with its local distribution partner, Wescor Parking Controls, based in Auburn, MA.  The Wescor team managed the installation of Beverly’s Strada kiosks, and will provide local service and support.

Posted: 29 Oct 18

September 26, 2018

Chicago to Become Largest City in the U.S. to Implement Pay-by-Plate Technology

Flowbird, a world leader in the field of urban mobility and smart city solutions, has been selected by Chicago Parking Meters, LLC (CPM) to deploy the latest in urban parking technology. The City of Chicago will be the largest in the U.S. to implement Pay-by-Plate parking, covering 36,000 metered spaces, with new user-friendly parking kiosks.

CPM will begin installation of over 4,000 Flowbird CWT Stealth kiosks, the latest model in the Flowbird product line, on October 1st.  The new technology represents a major upgrade to the city’s parking infrastructure and follows an industry trend as more municipalities switch from Pay-and-Display meters to a Pay-by-Plate system.

Pay-by-Plate provides a more convenient customer experience.  Each CWT Stealth is solar powered, wireless and features a touch screen interface similar to a tablet, instructing users to input their license plate and choose a parking duration.  The user can then complete payment in the form of a credit card or coins.  Users will no longer be required to display their receipt on their dashboard, and the kiosks even offer receipts via text, reducing the amount of receipt paper and saving on operations costs.

“Flowbird’s experience implementing large scale Pay-by-Plate systems was a major factor when choosing a partner for our project,”  said Dennis Pedrelli, CEO of Chicago Parking Meters, “That experience, combined with their commitment to continuous development of new products and services, helped us conclude that they were best suited to implement the new on-street parking system in Chicago.”

The new system is designed to bring innovation and convenience to Chicago and its mobility structure.  CPM will have access to Flowbird’s updated version of the CWO back-office parking management system featuring an enhanced big data analytics reporting environment.  Transaction data from the kiosks is integrated with the mobile phone payment solution and citation management system.

“We are extremely happy that we will continue over a decade of partnership with the CPM team using Flowbird’s latest technology to benefit Chicago citizens and leadership,” said Benoit Reliquet, President of Flowbird North America, “Through all of the extensive testing and valuable input from the Chicago team, we have developed a product and solution that is more reliable and durable than our industry has ever seen.  The technology is really a remarkable milestone.”

This latest project builds on an already successful collaboration between CPM and Flowbird, who has been supplying  Chicago with parking solutions since 2009. The new kiosks will begin appearing throughout the city next week. All 36,000 metered spots will have the new kiosks in place by mid-year 2019.

Posted: 26 Sep 18

September 4th, 2018

Smartphone App Now Used for Metered Parking Payment in Salisbury and Tisbury

Flowbird’s Whoosh! parking app has officially launched in two Massachusetts towns - the Town of Salisbury and the Town of Tisbury, making remote parking payment a convenient option for residences and visitors.

The Whoosh! mobile phone payment solution provides ultimate convenience to motorists. App users, otherwise referred to as, ‘Whooshers,’ can pay for parking with their iPhone, Androids, and even through the Whoosh! website. Users receive a text reminder when their parking is about to expire and may add more time if needed, all without having to walk to their vehicle.

Located on Martha’s Vineyard, The Town of Tisbury launched Whoosh! this summer along with a Flowbird Strada Pay Station. The Whoosh! App serves as an added convenience to the Town’s Park & Ride Lot, a paid parking solution for commuters and travelers to park for up to 60 days. The app allows motorists to extend their time remotely if needed.

Whoosh! went live in the Town of Salisbury after an upgrade to the beach town’s old coin-operated meters. In early 2018, six of Flowbird’s Strada Pay Stations were installed with Pay-by-Plate technology, making it possible to integrate the convenience of the Whoosh! mobile app payment.

Following its launch in Massachusetts, Whoosh! is now available in 20 states in the US, and has been launched in 11 countries around the globe.

Flowbird worked in conjunction with its local Massachusetts-based distribution partner, Wescor Parking Controls, on the launch of Whoosh! in both towns.

Posted: 04 Sep 18

PARKING PROFESSIONAL, MENSA MEMBER

We all know that parking and mobility professionals are smart. But some are super-smart—and they have the certificates to prove it.

They’re also modest. “I don’t know if it necessarily means you’re smart,” says Tom Szubka, CAPP, director of operations for Flowbird. “It says you have a high I.Q. Smart can be relative.”

He’s talking about his membership in MENSA, a nonprofit membership society for people whose IQs test in the top two percent of the population. Szubka tested in about 12 years ago and says he knows of at least one other IPI member who’s also been admitted to MENSA and bets there are more out there.

“It was a bucket-list thing,” he says of joining the group—sort of a curiosity. “I was an honor student in school but I didn’t get particularly great grades in college. I could get away without having to do a lot of work.” But lesson learned: His kids are straight-A students. He also says his brother, who’s very mechanically inclined and an auto mechanic, is probably smarter than he is.

“Measuring your IQ is more about process and problem solving—do you look at things a little differently than other people do?” he says. And having that ability isn’t always a plus. “It can be very frustrating when you have customers or end users who want to argue about things we consider very logical,” he says. “Why would someone who is a $200-per-hour attorney take the time to fight a $30 parking ticket?”

And he’s amused that other people find his MENSA membership worthy of a mention. “It’s certainly not a roller derby story,” he laughs.

See the original story here: https://www.parking.org/2018/08/17/parking-professional-mensa-member/ 

Posted: 28 Aug 18

Flowbird Regional Sales Manager, Laura Lierz, CAPP, has been elected as Chair for the Pacific Intermountain Parking & Transportation Association (PIPTA). Laura will serve for 2 years where she will move to Past-Chair for an additional 2 years.

Laura has been on the PIPTA board since 2006. She was elected as secretary of the board until 2016 when she moved into the Vice Chair role for 2 years.

As Chair, Laura is the Chief Executive Officer of the Association and is responsible to the Executive Committee and Board for implementation and administration of policies. She is the chief spokesperson and provides overall guidance on association matters and activities of its members.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Laura on the Board of Directors for a number of years and she has always provided stellar leadership in her roles on the PIPTA Executive Board,” said John Cowley, Sr. Regional Sales Manager, T2 Systems, “I am very excited about Laura assuming the Chair for PIPTA as her commitment to the many members of our organization, her tireless energy, and her passion for Parking will insure we are well-poised to support the Northwest for the coming years.”

PIPTA was founded by a group of professionals who saw value in a regional organization designed to provide those involved in parking and transportation programs with an open forum to discuss common challenges, share information and remain in touch of industry best practices. Membership consists of professionals from the states of Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. 

“We are proud to have a member of our team at the top of such an elite association as PIPTA,” says Andreas Jansson, VP of Sales, Flowbird, “This further demonstrates the quality and commitment of our leaders to the industry.”

Posted: 23 Aug 18

Officials announced the start of new payment options on Thursday

GoErie.com - Erie Mayor Joe Schember and officials with the Erie Parking Authority and the local developers of meterEZ announced during Schember’s weekly news conference on Thursday that two new ways of feeding the city’s parking meters are in place.

Two parking kiosks were installed outside of the Erie County Courthouse on West Sixth Street on Thursday morning to allow motorists to pay for meter time using coins, cash, credit cards or prepaid cards. A number of parking spaces can be paid for using a kiosk, and they can send text alerts if the user’s meter time is expiring, officials have said.

Also launched on Thursday was meterEZ, an app that allows motorists to pay for parking by phone.

“For many years, people in the city of Erie have had to carry quarters. That ends today,” said Christopher Friday, deputy director of the Erie Parking Authority. “As of today, you can download the meterEZ app and use a credit card for your parking payments.”

Nate Wheeler of weCreate website design in Erie said his company was instrumental in developing the parking app, and was very excited to see it launched. Using the meterEZ app, motorists can punch in their meter number and use a payment method to put time on the meter. The technology requires no infrastructure changes or additional costs, Wheeler said.

“Pulling up to a meter today and pulling out that app and paying for my parking in a couple of seconds without quarters was a pretty cool feeling, so we’re looking for quarter-quitters,” he said.

Users of meterEZ will be notified by text to the person’s cell phone if the meter time is running out and more time needs to be purchased, Wheeler said. Parking Authority employees will be equipped with technology to verify that a meter is paid for, he said.

Friday said the Erie Parking Authority is working diligently to bring new technologies to the city, and he asked anyone with suggestions to pass them along as the work moves forward.

 

 

Tim Hahn can be reached at 870-1731 or by email. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ETNhahn.

Posted: 09 Aug 18

Honored as One of Parking’s Most Influential leaders Representing the Future

August 8th, 2018

CLEARWATER, FL -- Paolo Barsanti, Production & Solutions Manager for Flowbird, has been selected for The National Parking Association’s 2018 ‘40 Under 40’ class of up-and-coming leaders in the parking industry.

The 40 Under 40 recognizes the influx of young professionals, technology specialist and leaders growing in management roles within the parking industry. The 2018 class of 40 Under 40 represent parking professionals across from the private and public sectors that are developing as leaders representing the future of the industry.

Paolo Barsanti represents Flowbird as a highly effective contributor to the parking industry for more than 9 years.  Getting his start with Cale America (now Flowbird) as a programmer, Paolo has advanced to the role of Production & Solutions Manager for Flowbird.  In this role, Paolo is directly contributing to the customer and end-user experience with vendor provided solutions in the parking industry by managing programming, production and repair.

Paolo has proven himself to be a leader in the parking industry, by virtue of his leadership style and experience in contributing to the advancement of various parking industry solutions.

“Paolo’s leadership style should be for what he is most credited,” said Flowbird Director of Operations, Tom Szubka, CAPP, CPP, “Paolo is a leader who is not afraid to roll up his sleeves to get the job done or to show others how, and he is humble enough to have an open mind to new and alternative ways to accomplish a goal.”

NPA President Christine Banning IOM, CAE, adds, “NPA is extremely proud to recognize the impact of the parking industry’s best and brightest young professionals, who are growing as leaders in the parking industry. The 40 Under 40 is a peer reviewed selection of parking professionals who represent innovation, integrity and excellence.” Banning added, “NPA and its Young Professionals Network are growing with a dynamic influx of talent that is expanding as the parking industry evolves.”

Paolo will be inducted into the awards program at the NPA 2018 Convention & Exposition on October 23, 2018 in Las Vegas, NV.

Posted: 08 Aug 18

City hands over final kiosk selection to local community

August 6th, 2018

The City of Sarasota has partnered with Flowbird Group, the name of recently merged parking and transit leaders, Parkeon and Cale, to implement a new paid parking system. Forty new (40) CWT Color Touch multi-space kiosks and twenty (20) MAX single-space meters will be installed in St. Armand’s Circle parking district, located near the beach in the City of Sarasota.

The Sarasota City Commission voted to move toward a paid parking strategy in 2016 that recommended adding parking meters downtown. The strategy put forth the goal to improve circulation in prime spots in front of businesses and decrease traffic congestion associated with drivers circulating to find a space.

The City sent out a request for proposal for single and multi-space pay stations in 2017. Rather than selecting a system on their own, The City put the decision in the hands of Sarasota residents and visitors.

“We were anxious that we get the right equipment and we heard from the community and the visitors,” said City Parking Division Manager, Mark Lyons, “We wanted the natural component of who is in and out of the area and get their feedback on what would work best.”

The City surveyed passing citizens on 6 different parking machines, setting up their options side-by-side to get a first-hand report from which they liked best. Surveyors were asked a series of questions regarding functionality, such as: equipment design, visibility in sunlight, screen clarity and descriptive display messages, among others.

Over a 45-day survey period and three separate surveys, the community rated Flowbird’s Cale CWT multi-space kiosk as the top machine fit for the City, ranking #1 in all categories.

The 6 various meter options went through the evaluation committee where they also selected the CWT multi-space machine.

“The committee voted for the CWT machine for all of the same reasons the surveyors did,” said Lyons, “Surveys indicated when you interact with it, it’s very easy to use. It’s more pleasing to the eye. There are less distractions. You’re looking at the screen and your eyes are not diverted elsewhere to too many different buttons.”

Of the survey participants, an astounding 86% said that they prefer a fully functional multi-space kiosk as opposed to the single space meter. There was a large contingent of those surveyed that also asked for the City to include using a mobile app for ease of parking payment.

Lyons reports that a few single-space meters will be necessary in areas where there are not enough spaces for a multi-space kiosk. They will also be strategically placed in areas where it’s not safe to cross the street to pay at a full multi-space kiosk.

Installation of Flowbird’s Cale CWT Touch multi-space meters and Cale MAX single-space meters will begin in November of 2018.

Currently, Flowbird supports over 40,000 parking pay stations for 600 customers throughout the U.S.  This project allows the company to continue its rapid expansion in Southern Florida. 

Posted: 06 Aug 18

Kiosks, new pay-by-phone app to launch

Posted by Go Erie 8.1.18

Erie’s parking meter technology upgrade is nearly at hand.

The Erie Parking Authority expects to receive two new state-of-the-art parking kiosks this week, Deputy Director Christopher Friday said. The machines will be installed along West Sixth Street, between Peach and Sassafras streets, on Aug. 9, he said.

A new pay-by-phone app that lets people pay for parking via their cellular phones should be available to the public on Aug. 13, Friday said.

“To me, this is kind of a game-changer,” Friday said. “People have been asking for this kind of technology.”

The kiosks are manufactured by Flowbird, a parking technology company, and are being provided to the Parking Authority at no charge. They will be located in the high-use area outside the Erie County Courthouse, 140 W. Sixth St.

The machines can accept payments from coins, cash, credit cards or prepaid cards. One kiosk can cover a number of parking spaces, and the machines can also send text alerts if someone’s meter time is expiring.

Those using the downtown kiosks will input their vehicle’s license plate number when buying meter time.

The pay-by-phone app, which is being tested now, was developed by Meter EZ, a company with offices in Erie’s Renaissance Center, 1001 State St. The mobile app allows users to buy meter time at designated single-space parking spots or surface lots.

Meter EZ will be paid between 20 cents and 40 cents per transaction, depending on how users pay for parking.

 

The pay-by-phone technology can also send a text message to a person’s cell phone if their meter time is running out and more time needs to be purchased. The technology can also be used at sites with existing meters because Parking Authority enforcement employees will be equipped with hand-held devices that can tell them quickly if a vehicle has used the app to pay for parking.

Parking Authority officials have stressed that the upgrade plan will replace many but not all of the city’s 1,400 coin-operated parking meters, and people can still use coins to pay for parking if they wish.

The exact cost of a large-scale upgrade of the parking meter system, over several years, could be as much as $2 million. The upgrades would be paid for, in part, through higher fines and penalties that took effect July 1.

The Parking Authority could also contribute roughly $300,000 of its reserve funds to the upgrades and could borrow additional money to help pay for the improvements.

Kevin Flowers can be reached at 870-1693 or by email. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ETNflowers.

Posted: 02 Aug 18
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