The largest city in Kentucky, Louisville is home to the world-famous Kentucky Derby, some of the country’s best bourbon and about a dozen garages serving over 770,000 residents and 16 million annual visitors.
Varying from just a few floors to a few blocks in size, Louisville’s portfolio of assets spans everything from parking structures built in the 1960s to more recent developments like the garage of the new four-star Omni Louisville Hotel. For over two decades, every location in the City’s portfolio operated through a sole PARCS provider, Hub Parking, and was monitored through Hub’s database system, Adapt.
But when Adapt phased out and a new database system with no new functionality was brought in, the City felt it was high time to explore getting more bang for their buck in parking. That’s where we came in.
Louisville, Meet Parkonect
On the hunt for a better parking management system, Eric Peterson, project manager of parking for the city of Louisville, made his way to Nashville for the annual International Parking Institute Conference. There, our friends at SP+ encouraged him to meet up with the Parkonect team—and soon, Eric began discovering a whole new world in parking with our founding partner, Harlan Karp and head of strategic partnerships and innovation, Jake Squillaci.
“They were gung-ho, just really excited to talk parking,” said Eric. “Their solution not only covered monthlies, but it gave me a ton of extra functionality. The biggest thing for me was that it’s cloud-based, and it became the one of the first cloud-based systems Louisville ever considered.”
After reviewing the benefits and tools that Parkonect could bring to Louisville’s parking operations, the right decision was clear.
“Harlan was down to earth. He was real. It didn’t feel like I was being sold to—it felt like I found a product that addressed what I needed,” Eric added. “Everybody else wants to sell you their whole system. But Parkonect could replace only our monthly system. I liked that I could just bolt it on the side and have all the Parkonect software capability, because that’s the secret sauce: it’s cloud-based.”
While others offer cloud-based solutions, Parkonect’s ability to integrate with existing systems meant the city of Louisville could update over a dozen garages worth of equipment far more economically than anticipated, saving millions of dollars.
Confident in their decision, the City brought on Parkonect and the telecommunications provider, Umojo, to overhaul its outdated systems with a focus on the future.
A City Plugged into the Cloud
As Eric describes it, the process of integrating Parkonect technology into their existing Hub hardware was like switching out the tires on a car. “All of our card readers were separately attached to the machines so we could issue tickets. We took all of that off, and then installed Parkonect equipment,” said Eric. “We still have Hub for ticket issuance and cash payments, but we have a really tightly integrated system, not only with Parkonect, but with Umojo as well.”
It wasn’t just the integration with their existing hardware that made Parkonect the standout choice. Flexibility in how customers are charged, additional revenue channels, a branded online parking sales presence, integrations with their Go502 app, hotel parking options, valet tracking and more has trans- formed how the city of Louisville optimizes its portfolio of assets for increased profitability. And on top of it all, the Parkonect team has consistently delivered superior customer service that the City knows it can rely on.
“Some companies, you call them up and get a recording that says to send them an email. You don’t get that with Parkonect,” Eric noted. “Even at random hours of the morning, I can get ahold of somebody. They solve issues on the phone or say give me a minute and I’ll call you back, and then the same person actually calls back. It’s remarkable.”
Tiffany Peebles, Director of Parking Authority of River City, echoed Eric’s enthusiasm for the City’s Parkonect partnership. “Parkonect is a great asset to our parking operation. It has become a cornerstone to how we work due to their ease of use and flexibility,” expressed Tiffany. “We have even encountered a few situations where Parkonect has been willing to partner with PARC and create solutions that have been very successful. They have been extremely innovative.”