Boston Parking Exposed: Mobile Apps Drive a New Era of Parking

Downtown Boston

Urban parking is changing nearly every day. Uber, Lyft, P2P apps, and valet apps are springing up across the country, leaving off-street parking operators wondering where they stand.

The most successful operators won’t panic. Instead, they’ll learn to adopt new marketing strategies and innovative business tactics to stay competitive.

We already exposed the shifting parking landscape in New York City: online reservations are steadily replacing coupons in the Big Apple. Now we turn to Boston, a city whose parking is also changing.


Boston’s New Street Parking Payment App Is Already Gaining Traction

The reason we’re doing a deep dive into Boston now is because the city launched a new street parking payment mobile app, ParkBoston, in late July. The city already partners with PayByPhone, which is at 101 MBTA locations and services 250,000 transactions per month.

ParkBoston Mobile Application

ParkBoston already has 10,000-50,000 installs on Google Play, and is also available for iPhone.

According to the Mayor of Boston, the app will be usable on all of the city’s 8,000 parking meters by the end of this summer. The app is currently usable in Back Bay, Fenway-Kenmore, Beacon Hill, the North End, the West End, Charlestown, and Downtown. Areas to be added next are South Boston, Allston, Brighton, Mission Hill, and the South End.

The rollout is currently in Stage 3.

The rollout is currently in Phase 3.


Boston is a Hotbed for P2P and Valet Parking Apps

Along with street-parking innovations, Boston has also recently become a hub for P2P apps and on-demand valet services.

These are just some of the apps already impacting Boston parking:

P2P Apps Funding to Date # Spots in Boston
SPOT $1M ~25
ParqEx Not available Goes live end of 2015
JustPark $5.7M ~15


On-Demand Valet Apps Funding to Date
Luxe $25.5M
SpotLight Parking None
Zwayo 60K

When drivers can choose ride-sharing services, on-demand valets, and on-street parking all from their phone, what will encourage them to continue parking at your off-street facility?

To stay competitive with these players that allow drivers to find parking on their phone, operators are turning to mobile reservations. As Boston parking companies become accessible on mobile platforms, they are able to take advantage of an untapped customer base.

Match the Convenience of the Competition

Nearly 50% of Boston commuters drive to work, and Boston is the city with the youngest median age of workers at 34.4 years old. To be successful, your company must adapt to the shifting values of these younger consumers. New parking options like SPOT, Luxe, and ParkBoston have raised the bar for driver expectations.

How can you stand out in the market? By catering to these three pillars:



Visibility. Drivers want to know parking locations, times, and rates in advance. It’s valuable for your facility to be visible to customers online and on a mobile platform.




Convenience. The customer experience is greatly improved when drivers know that a space will be waiting for them when they arrive. Mobile redemption also streamlines entry and exit.


Competitive Rates


Competitive Rates. With online reservations, you are able to adjust your facility’s prices based on the time of day and fluctuating demand. This strategy ensures that you can provide rates that are as affordable as competing services.


Mobile Reservations are the Key to Staying Competitive

Partnering with an online reservation platform is a good way to provide drivers with the visibility, convenience and competitive rates they’re looking for.

Mobile reservations empower you to control your rates and vary them based on online demand. They also give your customers a parking experience that’s consistent with their mobile lifestyle and on-demand expectations.

If Bostonians can reserve parking at your facility in advance or on the go from their phones, you will be top of mind when drivers seek parking.

Mobile Preferences

Today’s consumers rely heavily on mobile.


Many Boston Companies Already Use Online Reservations

Which operators in Boston already use online reservations?

We dug into the Boston parking market and found 6 major companies that have embraced mobile and web in their parking operations.

  1. LAZ
  2. SP+
  3. VPNE
  4. ProPark
  5. Pilgrim Parking
  6. One Parking

These Boston parking innovators use reservations to capture online demand. They also ensure their parking is just as convenient and accessible as other parking and transportation services to stay competitive.


Partner with a Mobile Reservation Platform Today to Capture Untapped Demand

Today’s drivers seek a parking experience that is consistent with their mobile-centric lifestyle. Partnering with a reservation platform can make your company the preferred parking option over P2P, on-demand valet, and on-street parking apps.

Major parking companies in Boston have already integrated mobile reservations into their operations to capitalize on additional customers they weren’t reaching before.

Building and marketing your own reservation platform uses valuable company time and resources. While some of the companies above do use their own reservation platform, all six partner with an established platform as well.

Drivers today are looking for an easy way to find affordable parking on their mobile device, and many operators have already taken notice. Will you adapt to the needs of the 21st century consumer, or risk being left behind?


Join the ParkingExec email newsletter and LinkedIn Group to learn how parking is changing in other cities across the U.S.

This article was updated to reflect the PayByPhone presence in Boston.

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