Apcoa launches combined app and RFID parking system across Germany


One of Europe’s leading parking facility managers, Apcoa Parking, has successfully launched its new Flow smartphone application and radio frequency identification RFID chip system for more than 100,000 parking spaces across Germany.

At launch, customers can seamlessly enter, leave, and make cashless payments without the need for tickets in 200 selected Apcoa car parks across Germany. The company is now planning to equip all of its 300 or so car parks in Germany with the Flow technology, making more than 230,000 parking spaces more easily accessible to customers throughout the country. With approximately 1.4 million individual parking spaces at over 9,000 locations in 13 European countries, Apcoa plans to roll out the Flow system across its full portfolio by 2019.

Due to the use of RFID technology, the car park recognizes the vehicle and opens the barriers automatically. Additional functions, such as reservation and booking of parking spaces, as well as payment for on-street parking, are also due to be introduced in the near future. Customers can download the Flow app for both Android and Apple devices, register their account, and order a personal Flow RFID chip for fixing to their vehicle’s windscreen. It is this RFID technology that automatically opens a car park’s barriers as the car approaches. Every single parking process is precisely recorded by the system and charged to the registered credit card. Customers can view their accounts at any time, due to the system’s completely transparent overview of all parking processes.

The user begins by entering their destination, at which point the app quickly and intuitively displays the nearest Flow-enabled car parks, and navigates them directly to the most convenient destination. The app displays prices, opening hours and capacity of parking spaces in each car park, along with other useful information, such as accessibility, access heights, and the availability of EV charging stations. Equipped with an API interface, the digital platform’s enhanced compatibility means that a large number of new services and partnerships can be launched in the near future. The first comprehensive cooperation agreement was concluded with Sunhill Technologies, a subsidiary of Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS), and as a result, VW Group customers can now enjoy contactless entry and exit and automated payment processing.

“Flow opens up an entirely new digital parking experience which is unique in this form: The combination of new services and a large number of car parks across the whole of Germany, combined with the open, central and scalable digital platform behind it, make Flow the most comprehensive connected car offering in the parking sector. We are setting completely new standards for the entire industry,” said Philippe Op de Beeck, CEO of Apcoa Parking Group. “VW is the first automobile manufacturer to join us on our strategic journey to the future of parking. Thanks to our RFID chips, customers’ vehicles are networked with our car parks, which makes Flow the most widely available, truly connected car service on the market.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).