Matt Eierman, Mike King, Linda tucker, and Carlos Eliason photographed with award next to a "smart" meter in downtown.
Matt Eierman, Mike King, Linda Tucker, and Carlos Eliason photographed with IPI award next to a “smart” meter in downtown.

Recently, the City of Sacramento was honored by the International Parking Institute (IPI), for its effective public education campaign associated with the introduction of thousands of smart parking meters being installed downtown. The 2014 Parking Matters Marketing and Communications Award is designed to recognize remarkable parking-related marketing, public relations, or communications programs or campaigns. The City was recognized with the award at IPI’s recent tradeshow in Dallas, TX.

Last year, the City started replacing a combination of outdated single-space meters (up to 20 years old), and pay-and-display stations, the latter of which require customers to return to their vehicle and post a receipt. Following a competitive bid process, San Diego-based vendor IPS Group, Inc. was selected to install and provide approximately 6,000 “smart” meters.

To get City community members accustomed to the new system, the City’s Parking Services Division staff decided that a significant public education campaign was necessary.

“The new smart parking meters are simple to use, but we still needed to acclimate the downtown customers about how they operate and what an increase in convenience they will experience. So we set out to demonstrate just that,” said Linda Tucker, Media & Communications specialist with the City.

To develop a marketing and public education campaign, the City’s Parking Services Division began working with its new parking meter vendor, IPS Group, in order to educate the City’s diverse business groups, motorists, and employees. The successful partnership between the City of Sacramento and IPS Group resulted in a seamless and efficient implementation of the new technology. Proving effective, its public outreach in place from the start of the program has garnered few complaints and minimal confusion, along with increased compliance.