Detroit's new parking app shows open spots, prices and where you parked


Detroit Free Press

Detroit's parking department launched a new and improved mobile parking application that allows users to prepay for spots and check on parking availability at various lots, garages and on-street metered spaces.

Users of the ParkDetroit app will be able to zoom into a map and pinpoint a specific garage, parking lot or metered street spot to check the prices and prepay for some spaces. The app also allows users to search by location and guide them back to their spot through turn-by-turn navigation. Visitors can also check for parking availabilityby searching the name of an event or venue.

"This is our opportunity to help reduce congestion and pollution and solve an issue that’s hurting cities throughout the country when people are uncomfortable coming into a city, figuring out where to park, what the pricing is and making it a more convenient opportunity. With one click, you can find out pricing, availability and purchase it all in one location," said Keith Hutchings, director of the Detroit Municipal Parking Department.

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The city of Detroit overhauled its ParkDetroit mobile application to launch a new an improved experience. Users will be required to delete the old one and redownload it in the Apple or Google Play stores. The new ParkDetroit mobile application offers real-time data of parking availabilities, as well as the opportunity to prepay for parking in various lots and garages.

Once parking prepayments are made, the app generates a QR code, which visitors would scan to gain access to the participating garage or lot. ParkDetroit also has a section listing  events in the city, such as sports matches and shows. Participating event operators can also change the cost of parking in real time, Hutchings added. 

Users will need to delete the old ParkDetroit app and download it again in the Apple or Google Play store to take advantage of the upgrades. It will not automatically update, Hutchings added. The upgrade will have no effecton the city's current parking rates.

The app initially launched in 2015. Officials have been engineering and testing the new capabilities for a year and currently have about 19 garages and lots configured. They include both public and private spaces, some of which have entry instructions. 

"We will be at about 40 (garages and lots) by next week and will continue to expand for the next month," Hutchings said. 

The newly upgraded Detroit parking app has a section for events and venues in the area.

He added that some vehicles, mainly recent models, will have the capability to integrate the system into the dashboard, freeing users from their smartphones. Hutchings' goal for the new year is to have widespread adoption of the new app and ensure parking providers and event promoters across the city participate. 

"We believe this will begin to create the reality of people reducing emissions from parking activities, but it will also help to increase activity visits and interaction of people coming into the city of Detroit," Hutchings said.