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Apps take guesswork, frustration out of parking

By: Eric Czarnik | C&G Newspapers | Published February 19, 2018

METRO DETROIT — Searching for affordable and available parking in an unfamiliar downtown area can be an added source of frustration while driving. But a couple of app developers recently announced solutions that they say will use massive collections of parking-related data to make the process easier. 

ParkWhiz and Parkbob are examples of companies that were explaining their apps’ capabilities at the AutoMobili-D exhibit at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last month.

The ParkWhiz app lets drivers reserve spots at participating parking garages ahead of time.

Todd Tucker, ParkWhiz vice president of sales, said his company has relationships with thousands of parking garages or lots across the United States, and there are plans to branch out into Canada. He said his company partners with structures around Little Caesars Arena and Comerica Park.

“Parking is such a grudge purchase and a friction-based purchase,” he said. “There’s so much animosity around it, and we wanted to create a better experience.”

While ParkWhiz has been around as a company for years, Tucker said it is now trying to take advantage of the data it has collected, such as how many spaces are at a garage, or when the structures are open.

“We’ve got all this data that we’ve been collecting on parking garages for over a decade,” he said. “So the vehicle of the future — that’s where it really gets interesting with that data being accessible to an OEM, to be able to say, my car, which may be driving itself in the near future, needs to know where it’s going to go park when somebody else is not driving it.”

Another app, Parkbob, says it helps inform drivers of parking choices in the city, including on-street parking. While a navigation system tells you how to reach your destination, Parkbob offers information on parking availability, restrictions and search times, according to company CEO and founder Christian Adelsberger.

“We focus on the digitalization of the last mile in the car,” he said. “We have dozens of sources of real-time data, real-time behavior of parking, that enables us to understand where it’s difficult to find a spot, where it’s easy to find a spot, where there is a spot. 

“And all this data we transform into information that helps drivers take better decisions.” 

Adelsberger said the Parkbob app helps direct drivers on where to park and whether a vehicle is allowed to park there. This is done by digitizing on-street parking information within the city. This required innovation since 95 percent of cities do not have a digital representation of their available parking, he explained.

Adelsberger said Parkbob has focused on operating in 30 European cities, including Rome, Madrid, Berlin and Moscow. However, he said the company just opened an office in San Francisco and is looking to expand its services into North America. 

Seattle and Portland are the first targeted cities, and the eventual goal is to cover 22 North American cities by the end of 2018, Adelsberger said.

“Detroit is on the roadmap for summer,” he said.

Find out more about Parkbob by visiting To learn about ParkWhiz, visit