Smart Parking solutions are on top of mind of public officials, city information technology (IT) and innovation executives when planning smart cities. In the age of “smart” and the Internet of Things (IoT), it is easy to see why smart parking solutions are considered innovative. IoT could provide a viable, cost-effective and lasting remedy to this problem. City planners now have the technology to build smart city parking solutions for their commuters, which will result in higher quality of life for urban dwellers. Major cities around the world can install advanced IoT technology on its busiest streets and parking garages.
About Smart Parking Solution Functionalities
Sensors embedded in the ground, or cameras mounted on light poles or building structures, determine whether the parking spaces are occupied or available. This data is routed wirelessly to a gateway and relayed to a central cloud-based smart parking platform. It is aggregated with data from other sensors to create a real time parking map. Drivers use this map on their mobile phone to find parking faster and easier instead of blindly driving around searching. For parking control officers, the map directs them to where the parking violations are and improves their citation enforcement effectiveness. While smart parking solutions provide improved visibility and effectiveness for both drivers and parking enforcement officers, that is not where the real innovation lies.
The stakeholders around Smart Parking
The real value lies in the data, and when combined with data from key stakeholders (businesses, other city agencies), processes and systems, will yield real innovations that matter most.
Drivers, parking enforcement officers and agencies are the main stakeholders to be happy with solutions of Smart Parking. Parking control agencies must balance between increasing enforcement effectiveness against the perception of overzealous prosecution of parking violators and increased complaints from local businesses.
Businesses are also of concerned as parking frustrations drive some customers and potential employees to go elsewhere. This results in businesses underperforming, shutting down, or relocating.
To residents in dense urban areas, parking is a real problem for those who use their cars on a daily basis. Difficult parking situations causes people to find questionable alternative parking arrangements, park far from where they live, or choose to live in another area with more parking.
The real IoT innovation for impactful change
In spotting the real innovation opportunities with smart parking, data is collected by the sensors, and can be used along one or more of the innovation paths.
- Sponsored meter time extension
Smart parking solutions can be configured to notify driver that their parking meter is expiring soon, and allows them to extend the parking time through their phone and a merchant in the area is notified, pays for a 15-minute extension, and the driver is notified that the merchant paid for it.
- High value, high priority enforcement
Smart parking solutions can efficiently identify violators that pose potential safety risks. Cars that are illegally parked in red zones, passenger loading and unloading zones, bus stops, and handicapped zones pose a bigger disruption to traffic than a car that is five minutes past the time limit. This type of targeted enforcement allows the parking control officers to find and clear those disruptions proactively before they become a real problem.
- Parking incentives to drive business growth and economic development
Merchants could offset their customer’s parking costs as incentive to get them in. This is similar to parking validation programs for garage parking, but applied to metered street parking. This has the intended effect removing some of the barriers that might have prevented their customers from coming in.
- Efficient citywide parking space utilization
Parking control agencies can maximise the number of spaces available for drivers on any given day, turning otherwise empty spaces into revenue generating occupied spaces. Using historical parking and traffic information, parking analysts can adjust meter enforcement times, rates, and maximum parking times to fill up normally unoccupied spaces.