Blockchain has revolutionized multiple industries across the world; healthcare, finance, media, you name it. The parking industry is now on its way to embracing this radical technology and decentralizing control and operations. The benefits are obvious – more transparency, a secure network, and easy to find parking spaces. Ultimately, blockchain in parking spells win-win for all stakeholders –citizens, governments, and parking operators. Let’s read more about blockchain in parking.
Blockchain in Parking: How it will work
In a blockchain network, different shareholders act as different nodes. In a parking system, the nodes can be – a government body, a landowner, or a parking facility owner. Each node will offer information concerning parking fees, vacant spots, and other related data on the network. The framework for one such system was developed by the Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management and Cochin University of Science and Technology in a study. Let’s understand how this hypothetical system would work.
Most urban spaces today have an abundance of private and unused land, which can be used for building smart parking pools. Land-owners willing to lease or rent out such properties will have to face several legal and logistical complexities – tracking the contract, taking possession before expiry, etc. A smart contract-based blockchain and IoT solution can be employed here for effectively leasing land and creating parking pools.
A smart contract is an agreement between two parties, in the form of computer code. This code is stored directly into a blockchain network and cannot be changed. By building an immutable trail in blockchain, a smart contract can ensure the proper following of its conditions without involving the stakeholders in the legal complications of the process.
In this system, the state government would be the primary agent that will act as the link between the land-owner and a parking operator. Smart contracts would then enforce the agreement’s conditions related to the lease, pricing, etc. In fact, such a blockchain platform could also be used by existing parking spaces to offer superior service to customers and build a transparent revenue stream.
A decentralized platform that stores parking data
Smart parking facilities can sometimes become vulnerable to single-point failures in operation. In case of a discrepancy in the cloud server, the system would be unable to function properly. Thus, leaving many motorists, who are trying to access the server using a mobile-app, stranded and without any aid to find a vacant spot.
However, with the use of a blockchain in parking platforms, a decentralized digital ledger can be created. This means users have access to data from multiple parking facilities using a mobile-based app, thus reducing the chances of a server error significantly.
Since the blockchain-based app is easily available to the motorists, any transaction done through a blockchain network is also directand requires no third-party negotiations. This will assist the facility operators and government authorities to monetize parking spaces effectively and create a transparent revenue model.
Real-time navigation facility for motorists
Digital parking platforms are connected to IoT sensors of all the nodal parking facilities. In a blockchain network, this will assist in retrieving the latest information and procuring real-time alerts regarding vacant parking spots in a user’s vicinity. In this manner, motorists can easily find an empty parking space and save fuel costs on reduced search time.
Blockchain networks also supply information regarding suitable routes to reach the designated parking spot. In case the suggested parking spot or route experiences any issues, the network offers alternate parking spots and routes with less congestion and traffic.
A blockchain-enabled smartphone app can be used by motorists to access such information and ensure a seamless and smooth commuting experience. This will also vastly improve a cities’ transportation network with reduced search time, congestion, and traffic on roads.
New methods of transaction
Smart contracts can be used in a decentralized digital parking platform to secure a parking spot or to make parking reservations. When end-users avail of a parking spot using a blockchain network, a smart contract is generated using the unique identification number of the user’s smartphone. Each reservation or transaction is electronically verified through such smart contracts and the parking space is provided to the registered motorist.
Users also have the facility to use either flat notes or cryptocurrencies to make a transaction on a blockchain network. In this manner, parking lot owners and government bodies can also monetize in new modes of currency and earn revenue.
Improved transparency in transactions
A public ledger in the blockchain network stores immutable data that is secured using encryption methods. Since the digital platform is also decentralized, the stored data is tamper-proof and uncensored. This offers enhanced transparency to all the nodal shareholders like the parking facility owner and regulating government body.
Each parking transaction on the blockchain network will be validated through a consensus process and committed to the associated ledger. So when a user makes a transaction for a parking spot on the network, that data is first run by all the nodes (parking lot owners and government bodies in this case) to legitimize it. After this process is completed, the transaction data is made available on the ledger.
A blockchain network will improve transparency and security due to the availability of a verifiable but unchangeable database. And with such a database at disposal, parking lot operators and government authorities can keep tabs on the facility employees and users in case of rule violations or any sort of omission regarding transactions. This will ultimately prove beneficial to both the government body and nodal parking facilities.
Blockchain in Parking: In summation
With the rising demands for parking spaces and congested road networks, city dwellers and authorities are experiencing a transportation nightmare today. Therefore, to make the city’s transportation networks smarter, a systematic change is mandated.
Only then, these cities will be able to meet the parking demands, facilitate a reduction in search time for motorists and lower carbon emissions as a result. This will alsocater to a greener network with enhanced mobility. In this respect, blockchain technology can be used to create a decentralized parking digital platform to ease the transportation distress of the cities.