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Project Spotlight: Port of Galveston – The “Port of Everything”
Where History Meets Innovation
Galveston Wharves has been a driving force of maritime activity since 1825. The 840-acre port is situated at the crossroads between Galveston Bay and Houston Ship Channel, just 45 minutes from the open seas.
Cruise-goers and cargo shippers alike continue to discover all that Port of Galveston has to offer. As the fourth most popular cruise port in the nation, and the only home port in Texas, the Port of Galveston cruise terminal welcomes more than one million travelers annually and keeps them coming back for more!
The port also serves no shortage of cargo operations, moving more than 4 million tons of cargo annually, including roll-on/roll-off, dry bulk, export grains, refrigerated fruit, liquid bulk, and general/project cargos.
With the infrastructure in place to accommodate booming cruise operations, cargo traffic, and commercial businesses alike – this historic site remains an integral part of industry innovation today.
Port of Galveston recently opened its newest cruise ship terminal, Terminal 10. This facility includes a solar awning covering a portion of the parking area to provide power to the terminal and is the world’s first LEED Zero-Energy cruise facility.
In conjunction with the innovative design of the terminal, parking access was envisioned to enhance customer experience while providing a high level of operational efficiency.
The parking systems offer multiple cross-platform integrations that communicate dynamic data used to update cruise schedules, as well as provide real-time parking availability and way-finding to roadway and location signs.
Sustainability Meets Technology
The new parking technology being used for the recently opened passenger cruise Terminal 10 at Galveston Wharves is a revolutionary step forward in sustainable design.
It is the first cruise terminal in the world to generate 100% of its energy through 30,000 sq. ft. of on-site solar photovoltaic panels, making it the first LEED Zero-Energy cruise facility worldwide.
The solar canopy installed over a portion of the parking area not only provides power to the terminal but also provides covered VIP parking and electric charging stations.
Planning for the new cruise passenger terminal began in 2017. The plans included adding two (2) surface parking locations to serve the new terminal.
Parking gates, dynamic signs, as well as revenue and access-control systems were used to ensure that the parking areas were reserved for passengers.
From the planning phases, the Port had a vision for technological efficiencies and integrations for the access and revenue control systems that were to be used for parking associated with the new terminal.
The Amano One Parking Access and Revenue Control System (PARCS) includes an integrated and streamlined parking purchase process for cruise passengers working with the Port’s reservation system (ResPort).
The system efficiencies include an integration that allows cruise passengers to purchase parking at the time of their cruise reservation.
It also allows them to provide license plate numbers and/or receive a barcode validation to enter and exit an assigned parking location(s).
Providing customers with multiple options for accessing the parking locations was very important to minimize entering delays and customer frustrations while maximizing system efficiency.
Enhancing Passenger Parking
In order to accommodate the mass ingress and egress that a cruise port experiences, the PARCS system was designed to get passengers in and out with little queuing.
The system can read license plates from prepaid parking reservations, scan prepaid reservation barcodes, and/or allow the passenger to select their cruise on the screen to pay the rate in advance of their stay.
Amano and Resport created a real-time integration that pushes reservation credentials to the PARCS database with key reporting information. By default, each credential includes barcode validation and plate information at the time of purchase.
When the patron pulls up to the Amano One entry device, the License Plate Recognition (LPR) camera will read the plate and automatically vend the gate if the plate is in the database.
Passengers who choose not to enter their license plate info can scan the provided barcode at the Amano One entry device. If the passenger did not reserve parking, the passenger selects their cruise and pays the fee displayed with a credit card, Apple Pay, or Google Pay. LPR cameras record and correlate the license plate number with the transaction.
To exit, if the duration of parking purchased at entry has not been exceeded, gates will raise when a license plate or a bar code is scanned. If the duration of parking purchased at entry has been exceeded, passengers are prompted for additional payment at the exit device.
Using these technologies in concert provides the passengers with a one-of-a-kind VIP experience.
To achieve this, the parking system is integrated with a large (50”x 50”), fully-programmable roadway message display at the Terminal’s central access point as well as fully-programmable location signs at each entrance to the parking areas.
The roadway messages actively communicate daily informational lists, including scheduled cruise departures and associated assigned parking locations, local and destination weather conditions, and current parking availability in different locations.
If a customer encounters difficulties upon arriving in-lane, a fully-interactive video intercom provides options for personalized assistance when entering or exiting the parking locations.
The administrative interface for the system provides a user-friendly dashboard that allows Port help-desk staff the ability to provide a high level of customer service and autonomy of the lane devices.
Staff can remotely vend gates, see the in-lane device’s screen, and push rates to the lane devices.
The system manages, aggregates, and compares the parking availability information for each location with the number of parking reservations/advance sales by cruise to limit the number of drive-up vehicles allowed at the locations, and communicates parking availability to roadway and entry signs.
The installed and functioning system includes but is not limited to the following features:
► Advance Sale/Parking Reservation by Cruise and cruise schedule/PARCS integration. With this integration, the Port has converted almost 50% of parking purchases to advance purchases in the first year.
► Tap-to-pay credit card, Google, and Apple Pay acceptance. The system only accepts credit card payments, further increasing the efficiency and sustainability of the system.
► External barcode scanners allow the scanning of advance sale barcodes from mobile devices.
► Trigger loop activated Genetec Sharp-V LPR cameras provide plate data used for advance sale credentials and license plate information for in-lane transactions. The LPR system is currently successfully observing more than 90% of visible license plates.
► The Amano One PARCS allows the Port to internally monitor and respond to calls from the location. Intercoms from in-lane devices provide two-way video calls and a high level of remote autonomy of device functions and rates.
► Fully customizable roadway and location variable message signs display constantly updating daily cruise schedules, current local and cruise destination weather, as well as parking locations and real-time parking availabilities.
World Class Team of Parking Experts
Key Team Members:
Julio Deleon, CPP (Director of Mobility – Port of Galveston), was the project lead and visionary for the Port.
Amano manufactured the parking equipment and provided the customized software interface with ResPort. Jeff Becker, Vice President for Strategic Partnerships for Amano Mcgann Inc., led the effort for Amano.
PSX Inc. distributes and services Amano equipment in the Galveston area and provides parking equipment and software integration, installation, and continuing support. Thomas Perkins, PSX Parking Division Manager, was essential in leading the effort for PSX, Inc.
Parking Guidance Systems, Inc. provided the programmable signs, software, integration, and continuing support for the project. Dylan Prep leads the sign integration and customization effort for Parking Guidance Systems, Inc.
Trans Systems provided general design and transportation consulting.
WGI Service Spotlight
The Port of Galveston opened its revolutionary Terminal 10 lot expansion in November of 2022, thanks to many of the services offered by WGI. One of the first of its kind, the lot expansion provides visitors with an unparalleled experience while supplying the power required to operate a New Zero facility. The cruise terminal is also proud to boast that they are the first in Texas to achieve LEED Gold certification.
WGI worked closely with the client to ensure that the Terminal 10 lot expansion had the optimal parking technology and signage solutions to meet the client’s needs, which included:
- Assisting with both the specifications and bidding for the project’s parking technology and signage solutions.
- Assisting with the review of submitted bids for the project’s parking technology and signage solutions.
- Providing an analysis matrix and itemized pricing sheet to help the client better understand how component costs compared to software costs.
- Providing comprehensive peer design reviews for the project’s parking functional design, signage solutions, shuttles (passenger shuttle stops), and access control.
- Successfully navigating the project’s timeline to ensure that the project was delivered successfully and met the grand opening date in coordination with the Port of Galveston’s busy cruise line calendar.
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