At the end of January, INRIX, who bought off-street parking data startup Parkme in September 2015, published a press release and set up an online webinar claiming that their parking data is better than their competitor Parkopedia.
To prove their point INRIX hired market research firm SBD to perform a ground truth assessment of parking information.
SBD looked at 488 random parking lots in November 2015 across Berlin, Munich and Stuttgart in Germany, as well as Boston and San Francisco in the United States. The research firm sent trained data collectors to evaluate on-site attributes lot by lot (backed by photographic evidence), then compared the field results to published information on respective ParkMe and Parkopedia websites.
Based on these findings the study concluded that “ParkMe was 12 percent more accurate than Parkopedia across a set of core attributes that are essential to automakers for customer satisfaction. Most important, ParkMe was 23 percent more accurate providing the precise entrance location to parking lots as compared to Parkopedia. ParkMe was the "clear winner" across parking attributes including pricing information accuracy (91 percent versus 81 percent) and correct parking lot operating hours (87 percent versus 83 percent).“
While SBD is a well respected research firm we see several limitations in this study and the way their results are promoted by INRIX. First the study was commissioned by INRIX who decided which cities were to be analyzed. Who knows what could have been the outcome of the comparison in London, Paris or Chicago?
Comparing website data for an Automotive purpose?
But the most important part is what has been analyzed against ground truth: website data. The problem with it is that the database available from websites is different from what is delivered to automakers.
More than that, Parkopedia, like many other companies that license data in one hand and have a consumer facing website in the other, are voluntarily limiting and sometimes degrading the data freely available on their website to avoid piracy.
While we are not sure about who has the best data, what we might sure of is that a PR fight has been declared by INRIX.
For more details, see below the report from SBD: