Dwindling land availability and increasing traffic congestion have cities clamoring for efficient management of existing parking infrastructure. Smart parking promises to be the springboard launching a full transportation system overhaul needs.
The components of an efficient and adaptive parking system – software, data, sensors, dynamic pricing, smartphone integration, public-private partnerships – are also central to a fully integrated, intelligent transportation system (ITS), which rests on three ‘i’s:
- Instrumentation (hardware that collects and transmits mobility data)
- Interconnection (the network to share the data)
- Intelligence (user-facing programs and algorithms that process the data)
Let’s see how smart parking can form the backbone of a modern and intelligent transportation system.
The brains behind smart parking, the predictive software can process and transfer real-time data from images and time stamps to GPS coordinates on the user’s app.
Such real-time availability forecast algorithms will be key to efficient traffic management- accurately predicting traffic jams is essential to give users an alternative to avoid them.
Accurate and real-time data lies at the heart of a modern smart parking system. For it to be efficiently processed by software developers, data owners (parking developers and authorities) must make it transparent and centralized in a standard format.
Presently, apart from a general lack of availability, siloed data is a costly barrier to adoption of smart parking systems.
Data collection relies on physical sensors embedded in the pavements of parking spots. Most sensors use ultrasonic technology to record and transmit data.
Demand-responsive pricing is important to reduce traffic congestion by shifting parking away from peak times, increasing overall availability and parking revenue.
For the end user experience, smartphone integration is the most essential aspect of smart parking. Smartphones equipped with GPS can perform parking selection based on real-time awareness of other vehicles’ location.
Users just need to enter details such as proximity to destination and parking cost, and the app takes care of the rest.
Since private entities provide the software and technical know-how and public entities control data, a symbiotic relationship between the two is key to the success of innovations in parking and traffic management.
Improved Traffic Management
Parking troubles contribute significantly to traffic woes. Smart parking will not only help commuters identify available parking spots but also monitor thefts, acts of vandalism, detect rule violations like jumping of signals and forewarn vehicle owners of accidents causing traffic congestion.
Video surveillance will help improve compliance, a factor that will go a long way in building a sustainable transportation system.
Increased Revenue Generation
Building a modern and connected transport system implies more infrastructure spending by the governments. Smart parking can generate more revenue for business owners and city administrations through parking based on dynamic, real-time data.
This can also help governments recover their losses from reduced fuel cost revenues, as an increasing number of vehicles turn hybrid and fuel-efficient.
Promotes Sustainability Efforts
Sustainability is not a mere buzzword but the cornerstone of building an Intelligent Transportation System. Billions of gallons of fuel are wasted over trying to find the perfect parking spot.
When smart parking provides the option to pre-book your spot or identifies a spot for you as you enter a building, you know exactly where to park and save fuel.
Improved User Experience
The aim of building intelligent transportation is to remove the frustration from the travel experience by streamlining all its aspects.
Smart parking, with its assistance from the minute you step out of your home and into your car till when you park it back into your garage, ensures a smooth run.
Thus, the benefits of smart parking for city administrations broadly include:
- Fewer attendants
- Improved revenue
- Reduced emissions
User benefits include:
- Fuel and time savings
- Reduced hassle
- Greater flexibility
With sound technical know-how and a multi-stakeholder relationship, smart parking has the potential to transform the landscape of our traffic system. It will act as the launchpad for an interconnected and intelligent transportation system that efficiently manages urban mobility.