Nashville’s New Smart Parking Meters

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Smart technology meets the streets of Nashville in a bigger way with the new smart parking initiative. The long-standing and solely coin-operated parking meters are being replaced with smart kiosks, aka parking kiosks. In addition to coins these upgraded meters allow drivers to pay via text, QR code, credit card and cash.

With the expanded payment options and smartphone connectivity comes a few benefits to the driver. Payments can be made remotely using an app. Also, drivers will be able to extend their time on the meter from their current location right from their phone.

How Smart Parking Meters Came to Nashville

LAZ Parking from Georgia was awarded a 5-year contract by Metro Council for managing the smart kiosk installations. There has already been an announcement about increased enforcement and education about the new smart meters, with signage being installed to aid in informing local residents about the new changes.

At the moment the price of parking remains the same, that is $2.25 an hour downtown, and $1.75 an hour outside of that area. Time limits will also remain the same for the time being. While installation of the smart parking meters is expected to take several months to complete, earning expectations are already being reported. With meters not only replacing existing meters, but also being installed in what was free parking before, the city is expecting roughly $747,000 in revenue, starting this month and up to the fiscal year’s end in June. Director Diana Alarcon of the Nashville Department of Transportation stated that the revenue would go towards traffic and parking improvements. 

With the expansion of metered spaces there are questions about how this will affect those working within the metered area. NDOT, in conjunction with Downtown Partnership, is developing an employee parking program with a shuttle service. This will allow employees to park in another location while reserving up-front parking for those coming to do business in the area.

Handicapped drivers will still be able to park for free.

With Smart Parking Comes Smart Citations

As mentioned previously, the expanded smart parking area will see increased enforcement. That means close monitoring 24/7. Just as payment options are shifting towards the digital so are parking citations, LAZ Parking will handle the issuing of citations. For the first few weeks parking enforcers will issue warnings instead of citations. This period will coincide with education procedures for the general public. After that it’s back to citations which will be handed over from LAZ Parking to NDOT and finally to Metro courts for managing payments.

Parking Kiosks Pay Big Dividends to Nashville City

Metro officials are expecting higher returns from smart meters which they hope to put to good use. With the previous parking meters, NDOT saw up to $1M in revenue on a yearly basis. With smart parking meters, in the first year alone, Metro estimates close to $2.85M in returns.

Will Metro keep operation standards as they have been in the past in order to maintain that steady return? At the moment it’s difficult to say. What’s worth noting is that time of operation and fees can be changed in the future quite easily. If Nashville increases the number of metered spaces, lengthens operating hours or increases parking rates, the city’s meters could bring in up to $15M yearly by 2027, according to Metro estimates.

Here’s a look at the new parking meter layout. Provided by Nashville Department of Traffic.

Nashville Smart Parking Kiosk Map

What Changes Lie Ahead for Smart Parking?

The smart parking initiative along with usage of smart kiosks will undoubtedly grow in the future. There are features available while not yet open to the public. For example, smart kiosks allow for some level of automation, allowing drivers to reserve parking spaces. They also make it possible to enforce them without human involvement. While not currently in place, smart parking meters also include connections for charging electric vehicles.

Kevin H.
Kevin H.

Kevin has been fascinated with the internet and technology since a young age. He progressed to a profession in information systems and later digital marketing which exposed him to new avenues through the businesses that he helped to support through their growth. Kevin breaks down topics related to improving business operations through IT systems.