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Wednesday, October 1, 2014 | Last updated: 11:27pm

UA Parking and Transportation Services creates tool to track parking availability in garages



UA Parking and Transportation Services introduced a tool that will allow visitors to view parking garage vacancies and is working toward creating a mobile device version.

The service, which launched last semester, is available on the PTS website and shows students, faculty and visitors live data on the status of a parking garage that is updated every few seconds. Data is available Monday through Friday between 5:00 a.m. and midnight, excluding university holidays. PTS is also trying to work on a mobile device compatible version to connect the tool with the UA app as well, according to Bill Davidson, marketing manager for PTS.

“I think it’s a good way for our visitors, students and staff to plan ahead and to determine which garages they can enter upon arrival at the university,” said Davidson.

Some students said they would use the tool if they were late to a class.

“Usually the only time I will pay to park in a garage is when I’m running late,” said Caroline Pool, a public management and policy senior. “It would be nice to know ahead of time if I’m going to be able to get the spot that I need to get.”

Some students have permits and don’t worry about garage availability, but Grant Kornrumph, a sophomore studying environmental hydrology and water resources, said he would use the service for other instances.

“I would probably use it [for a game day] because sometimes I don’t always know what is happening with games.”
PTS is working on the upload of information for special event parking, such as a UApresents event or even a football game, Davidson said.

“I think that the site will be very useful because we will be able to give our customers other information, too,” Davidson said. “I think it’s going to be good for overall communication for everybody.”

The information technology department at PTS came up with the idea, since it had the software to determine if a parking garage was full. FLEX, the software, tracks the amount of visitors in a parking garage by counting tickets. No extra money was used to implement the tool, except the time the IT services people put in, Davidson said.

“They were just looking for an effective way to get real-time information of our garages to our customers,” Davidson said. “They themselves put everything together and I think they did a really good job.”


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