As a local neighbourhood shopping centre with over 80 stores and amenities, Stockland Baulkham Hills has on average 68,000 visitors a week with 6,000 of those using the car park facilities each day. As the first point of contact with the shopping centre, the challenge of balancing the needs of those visiting and working at Stockland Baulkham Hills has created a need to deliver innovative solutions in managing the centre’s car park.
Stockland Baulkham Hills has 831 car parking spaces, with over 500 of these undercover to ensure shopping is easy and convenient for customers. Despite the significant capital investment made to improve these parking facilities, the centre continues to maintain a free car parking facility for its customers.
Research conducted in August 2015 indicated 56% of respondents rated parking at Stockland Baulkham Hills as poor or very poor. Customer feedback further indicated that the undercover areas were dark, dull and difficult to navigate.
The Centre Management team, looking to manage demands and improve the customer experience of parking at Stockland Baulkham Hills, embarked on a customer-focused car park improvement programme.
One of Stockland Baulkham Hills key challenges was to overcome the difficulties associated with attempting to find a vacant parking space in the car park. To help combat this, Stockland turned to Smart Parking to deploy SmartGuide – a solution that detects the occupancy status of every parking space within the centre’s car park, then directs drivers to available bays using dynamic signage and overhead guidance indicators.
The SmartGuide deployment includes the installation of 826 vehicle detection sensors inserted in each individual bay – both undercover and surface level. Each sensor is linked to an overhead indicator, which lights green or red, depending on whether that particular space is occupied, with additional blue lights indicating mobility bays and vehicles in contravention. This is complemented by 50 variable message signs, which display the number of free parks alongside the number of free mobility bays down every aisle, at every driver decision point.
By understanding that Stockland Baulkham Hills is a convenience based shopping centre, the majority of customers spend less than 3 hours at the centre. There are 3 major supermarkets and 80 specialty stores, including a Post Office and 6 major banks. Improving the car park means the centre is an even more convenient destination for the community. With less time spent searching for a parking space, visitors have more time for everything else.
Amanda Whittle, Stockland Baulkham Hills Centre Manager
Quick and easy identification of available parking bays means time-to-wait has been dramatically reduced and cars trying to enter the car park are no longer obstructing the free flow of traffic on the surrounding roads. Underused bays are also now much more visible increasing overall occupancy of the car park.
Easier access for happier customers results in more shoppers visiting the centre.
Intelligent data The occupancy data collected through the sensors is then relayed in real-time to SmartRep, Smart Parking’s car parking management software tool. Accurate vehicle-by-vehicle, minute-by-minute data on actual usage of the car park means that Stockland are now able to understand the car park usage patterns and enforcement efficiency allowing them to make informed decisions on parking policies. Retailer revenues are also maximised through optimum efficiency.
The system has been online just a few weeks and customer feedback so far has been very positive. Customers have commented on the brighter car park, new colour scheme and are very satisfied with the improvements to the ease of finding an available car parking space.
The installation of the system has also had a positive impact on driver perceptions of the centre as a whole – an additional bonus for Stockland Baulkham Hills.