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Shared Parking through FlexePark

Inexpensively utilize existing city pavement to improve traffic congestion, transportation, and with potential for significant revenue.

Photo of Leah Shattuck
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No one likes to search for an available parking space, especially during peak traffic hours or when you’re running behind schedule. As the amount of pedestrians and cars moving in and around the Michigan Central Station area rises, traffic becomes increasingly congested. This issue is widespread: it costs Americans $73 billion a year in wasted time, fuel, and emissions to search for available parking spaces. Many studies to address this parking problem have found there is actually an abundance of parking; it’s just not available to the public. 

A September article in the Detroit Free Press reported the local problem of excess pavement from developer incentives and parking minimums. “Surface parking lots have ‘spread like a disease’ and are ‘threatening to undermine Detroit's resurgence.’” In October, it was reported in the Detroit Metro Times that a historic building is scheduled for demolition to accommodate 12 parking spaces.

FlexePark, a shared parking management solution, was born from this frustration; one of its founders was driving in circles for a downtown parking spot, finding many private spaces unoccupied but off limits. FlexePark can improve mobility for Corktown residents and workers by making available additional parking spaces that were once designated as private or “No Parking” zones without the need to create new, expensive parking structures or lots. 

FlexePark collaborates with municipalities to find efficient parking and enforcement solutions that do not use taxpayer money. Securing existing pavement near the QLINE, People Mover, buses and electric scooters creates an accessible, affordable and environmentally-friendly way to get around town.

FlexePark can also improve mobility for every driver through its simple pay-to-park user interface, which does not require to download any app, rendering the solution practical for visitors or for people with older phones. Drivers use their phone camera (to scan a QR code) for registering a car and paying electronically to park, and the 24/7 helpline is always available.

The all-in-one parking management service, powered by patent-pending technology, makes it possible for property owners - which can be as small a “business” as a driveway - to share their existing parking spaces for public use after their business is closed for the day. The owner console provides businesses with tools for marketing, promotion and management of parking users, and they receive supplemental income from a percentage of sales.

Because there is no shortage of pavement available in and around Detroit, FlexePark can grow with demand to make mobility easy, simple and efficient. FlexePark will also offer pay-to-park service during special events and expand in-app promotional capabilities, offering paid opportunities for businesses to reach people who are in the right place at the right time.

How will your solution benefit residents, workers, or visitors in the Michigan Central Station impact area? (1,000 characters)

Worker A commutes to the Impact Area daily and parks in a FlexePark lot that offers monthly rates for a fraction of the standard cost downtown. He walks a short distance to his office building, and sometimes hops on a Spin scooter into work. Worker B is a local business owner with 5 parking spaces near Michigan Ave., home to several restaurants and businesses open late. Last year she made $6,000 in extra revenue by opening her spots for public use after hours through FlexePark. Resident is pleased to see that nearly-abandoned parking lot utilized more often, which brings more business interest into the area. She has considered to share her own driveway through FlexePark to make a few extra dollars. Visitor is just in town for a show tonight, and was glad it wasn’t as difficult to find a parking space as he anticipated. Parking with FlexePark was simple, too - he just used his phone camera to scan the lot’s QR code, paid electronically and got to the show on time.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Ready to Scale - you have completed and expanded your pilot and are seeing adoption of your solution by your intended user

Insights from previous testing (500 characters)

FlexePark launched in 2017, and has done well over a 2-year pilot. With 15 contracts and more than 5,000 users, we have learned: -Lot owners can earn significant revenue with low startup costs (one earned $23k annually from 20 spaces!). -Enforcement was a concern. We added features to help business owners address offenders. -Over 86% of users have checked in at least once, and 30% of our parking transactions are completed by repeat users.

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

FlexePark was founded by engineers with more than 70 years experience creating, refining, and maintaining products. Every member of the founding team is an international speaker, and two members are Google Developer Experts and Microsoft MVPs. Our VP of Sales is an award-winning sales leader with 25 years experience. Altogether the FlexePark team has extensive experience in sales, marketing, public relations, social media, software development, security, accessibility, and quality assurance.

Size of your team or organization

  • 11-50

Team or Organization URL

Are you submitting as a student team?

  • No

Are you submitting as a team from the Impact Area?

  • No

Funding Request

  • $100,000

Rough Budget (500 characters)

Phase 1 (~3 months) - $25,000 -One lot with 100 spaces needs 50 signs: $2,000 per lot in signs and installation -Expand 24/7 helpline: $500/month -Marketing to raise awareness of new parking: $1000/month -Develop & automate monthly data report: $14,500 -Free monthly data report Phase 2 (~3 months) - $75,000 -Development of hourly parking & real time data: $43,500 -24/7 helpline: $500/month -Marketing: $1000/month -1,000 locations: $40/sign, $2/meter sticker -Travel: $5,000

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

During Phase 1, FlexePark will focus on securing off-street parking spaces and lots for flat daily parking rates. The revenue generated from parking transactions will go directly to the lot owner. Its talented sales team will recruit and train ambassadors who are familiar with the Impact Area to locate and secure contracts. In Phase 2, FlexePark will partner with the city of Detroit to secure municipal lots and street parking for hourly rate parking spaces. This revenue will directly benefit the city. With its team of software developers, FlexePark will create a customized, automated monthly report for the city of Detroit to use for determining mobility improvements and targeted areas of concern. Ideally, FlexePark locations will be near public transportation to further reduce traffic congestion. Through traditional media & paid promotions, FlexePark will publicize new lots and ease of use through FlexePark’s simple mobile interface.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

To measure the success of FlexePark’s implementation, City:One Challenge and/or the city of Detroit will be assigned a point of contact at FlexePark, available for consistent communication throughout the pilot and beyond. This contact will answer IT-support and technical questions, offer sales support for lot owners, and collaborate with area sales ambassadors for deployment and reach. FlexePark has a committed team of software engineers who will create a custom, automated report to run on a monthly basis for summary and discussion by the assigned point of contact. The report will include: saturation of targeted areas, number of lots, spaces and drivers, transactions, and revenue. The 24/7 helpline addresses technical questions, concerns and app enhancements that the FlexePark team regularly reviews and updates.

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

FlexePark in Corktown is sustainable through additional revenue streams, including ticketing, in-app promotions and software licensing. We are recruiting investments to enhance our technology even further to offer automated services for enforcement, onboarding, parking management and financial gain. Our product works and has global reach potential. We are currently hiring ambassadors from cities across the U.S. and offering referral incentives to bring FlexePark into communities everywhere.

Social Media

@FlexePark across all channels

Attachments (1)

FlexePark Business Model.pdf

Slide deck to explain shared parking solution and business model


Join the conversation:

Photo of Boratha Tan

Thanks Leah Shattuck ! I am part of the facilitation team for City:One. I was wondering what cities you have implemented your plan (I couldn't find it in the proposal). And what happens in the event that someone parks in a FlexePark spot illegally? If I desperately need a spot, I'm not going to wait to report the car and stick around to get someone to move it. Also, would it also be good to partner with current parking lots and have them subscribe to some sort of real-time parking spot availability notifications?

Photo of Michael Dowden

Hi Boratha Tan ! Thanks for your questions. We have implemented FlexePark in both Indianapolis and Bloomington Indiana, and are expanding to Cincinnati Ohio. We have enforcement options built-in to our system including photo-based enforcement, ticketing, and towing requests. We can partner with municipalities, parking companies, and business owners for both parking locations and enforcement. Our solution can work on existing parking lots as well as new shared spaces.