EPA 2017 Awards

Thursday, 21 September 2017

We are pleased to announce that, at the biannual EPA Congress where awards can be won in the five categories; newly build, renovated, on-street, innovation and marketing, Q-Park won two awards;

  • The award in the category marketing was won by Q-Park The Netherlands for ‘Prevent Smash & Grab’.
  • The award in the category innovation was won by Q-Park NV for ‘Cashless & Contactless Payments'.

Prevent Smash & Grab

In 2015, Amsterdam decided to tackle the growing problem of car break-ins. With 9,965 reported thefts (of which 30% in car parks), these were having a devastating effect on safe and secure parking, and posed a threat to the city’s image as a top tourist destination.

Decreasing these thefts is no simple matter. Many factors have an impact, including existing prevention measures and technologies, police tactics, the design of public spaces and buildings, and the behaviour and mind-set of the motorists whose cars were increasingly being targeted by criminals.

After extensive research at home and abroad, we concluded that the key solution lay in changing motorists' behaviour. Specifically, we focused on their deeply entrenched habit of 'hiding' valuables in their cars, making cars appealing targets for smash-and-grab theft. We realised that to stop theft, it is essential to convince our customers that a car is not a safe place to stow away valuables.

Drawing on the joint experience and resources of the municipality of Amsterdam, the Amsterdam Police Department and Q-Park Netherlands, we addressed the problem with a combination of public space management, innovative policing tactics and a unique communication campaign.

We created a vast range of media, including street signs of different types and sizes, permanent and temporary street markings, wall stickers, billboards, a website and social media. We designed promotion activities, security teams, and deployed mailings, press packages, incentives and promotional items.

The campaign started as a pilot in one of the main Amsterdam tourist areas and led to a 25% decrease of car break-ins within 6 months. Positive side-effects included the noticeable involvement of local companies, entrepreneurs and residents in the prevention of car break-ins.

Cashless & Contactless Payments

Q-Park Cashless & Contactless Payments is an innovation which enables motorists to access and exit our car parks using their own debit or credit card.

Firstly, this is a much-needed innovation as the payment card industry rules and regulations are constantly changing and, consequently, at some point in the near future we would otherwise no longer be able to offer the credit card payment option to our customers. In the Netherlands, credit card payments are important as they have always accounted for 10 - 11% of all payment transactions at our facilities.

Secondly, this is an opportune innovation as we have been seeking ways to increase the number of cashless transactions by introducing access and payment options for debit cards as well as credit cards. We also wanted to make sure that we would be future proof when it comes to card payments and transaction processing services.

This innovation also enhances the customer experience by making the customer’s interaction with us as seamless as possible.

The customer benefits most because they will no longer need to go to the Pay-on-Foot (POF) terminal, avoiding queues at even the busiest of times. Our customers can simply Dip or Tap their payment card at our access and exit terminals, making the card act like a parking ticket which can also be used to re-enter the car park at the pedestrian entrances.

The combination of necessity (changing rules and regulations) and opportunity (introduction of EMV and contactless payment technology) made us embrace the challenges of innovation after first fully understanding the time, effort, and financial impacts, which were analysed based on a comprehensive business case.

The Q-Park Cashless & Contactless Payments innovation has enabled a transition from cash payments to card/chip payments, and from contact (Dip&Go) to contactless (Tap&Go) payments. We have dematerialised cash payments into card/chip payments, we have also dematerialised parking tickets because payment cards are used instead, while we continue to be compliant to EMV and PCI DSS rules and regulations.

Customers can access our car parks by using their payment device (bank card or smart phone) and exit without using a PIN for parking transactions no higher than EUR 50 (in UK GBP 30).

This innovation has ensured that credit card payments remain possible at our car parks (for the last ten years, a constant 10 – 11% of all payment transactions in the Netherlands). We have introduced the debit card as access and payment devices, and we have introduced Tap&Go (contactless payment).

The Q-Park Cashless & Contactless Payments innovation has commoditised card processing and decreased costs significantly (approx. EUR 2 million saving per annum). It has also decreased the frequency of PMS breakdowns and reduced maintenance costs and has meant considerable savings on the cost of money management.

Cash payments have decreased significantly over time, accounting for 27% of payment transactions at the end of 2016 in the Netherlands. We are however confident that with Tap&Go installed in all Q-Park car parks in the Netherlands, we will see cash payments down to 20% in 2017.

PCI DSS = Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard

PIN = Personal Identification Number

EMV = Europay MasterCard Visa. A technical standard for smart payment cards and for payment terminals and automated teller machines that can accept them. EMV cards are smart cards that store their data on integrated circuits in addition to magnetic stripes. These include cards that must be physically inserted (or dipped) into a reader and contactless cards that can be tapped near a reader as they can be read over a very short range.