December 12 2017

Smart parking is one of the fastest growing Smart City initiatives around the world, and Canada is no exception with pilots already underway. The application has potential to move beyond the city and into other areas including university campuses, shopping malls, hospitals and other large-scale types of parking environments. What makes the Smart parking application so enticing is that it offers a flexible and easy-to-deploy solution for cities and organizations looking to get started with IoT initiatives. The technology can provide short-term results while collecting data for longer-term planning and decision-making.

Great ROI With the Right Solution

Additionally, the types of data collected, from capturing traffic flow patterns to tracking specific space usage data, can all play a big role in providing a better experience for drivers and providing more value to the owner of the parking assets. Parking assets can eat up big chunks of budgets these days. The investment is significant, from monitoring and maintaining parking lots, to the development of new parkades.

But a smart parking application can not only have a positive impact from an economic point of view, it can also have a tremendous impact on the environment. Reports suggest that as much as 30% of traffic flow delays and restrictions are due to idling and circling drivers in search of parking. This congestion also has a dramatic impact on the environment due to increased carbon emissions.

A smart parking application includes the use of low-cost, battery-powered sensors to collect real-time data which can be used to help direct drivers to available parking spaces. Two key areas to consider when looking at smart parking solutions are accuracy and timely vehicle detection. Thus, reducing the time spent idling and circling in search of an available space or even a parking lot with available spaces. Additionally, the real-time data can be collected to help cities and private lot owners build out profiles of their parking assets which provides them the ability to influence longer-term resource planning.

Benefits Of Smart Parking

Below, we break down some of the benefits that a smart parking application provides:

  • Driver experience: helping drivers find a parking space goes beyond efficiency and can help transform the whole experience. The positive results of getting people to where they want to be faster can have a domino effect on parking lot owners and local businesses as well. Smart parking also opens the potential for a seamless experience, from locating to time notification to paying, all in one place.
  • Reduced traffic: means less congestion which is good no matter how you look at it. By helping drivers locate available parking quicker, fewer cars will be driving around looking for spaces and less stress on the environment.
  • Reduced pollution: goes along with the reduced traffic, with cars spending less time idling and circling, GHG emissions will be reduced which will also result in reduced overall global footprint.
  • New revenue opportunities: smart parking offers the potential for variable rate options based on demand or location, as well as loyalty program participation.
  • Optimized parking: for cities or private lot managers, knowing more about how your spaces are used and when demand is high can help you optimize and leverage your parking assets to their fullest.
  • Parking Profile Development: the collection of parking space data allows the build-out of comprehensive parking profiles for individual lots or multiple parking assets. These profiles can help identify short-term trends as well as longer-term insights to help lot managers make better decisions in terms of use and maintenance of their parking assets.
  • Reduced operational costs: whether you are a city providing parking space and services or a private company, automating the process of checking for vehicles in violation is more efficient and cost-effective than manual monitoring.
  • Improved Safety: improving safety can be achieved a couple of ways. First, real-time data can be provided to parking lot employees and security to help with violations and in cases where suspicious activity may be present. It also keeps employees from wandering around busy parking lots where drivers may be distracted looking for available parking.

The growing Autonomous Vehicle segment also supports, and in fact requires, the adoption of a smart parking solution. Whether partially or fully automated, driverless cars will comprise a good percentage of vehicles in the near future and the potential for an embedded application to help offer a completely seamless experience for drivers is on the horizon.

One final thought on smart parking… while the push is on for cities to try and figure out ways to get people out of their cars and utilize other ways to get around including public transit, biking and walking, by 2035 there will be almost 2 billion cars on the road, autonomous and otherwise, and some think it could be even sooner.

With this magnitude of anticipated volume, coupled with current issues, efficiencies gained through parking asset optimization is needed to help make cities become more people-friendly. From an urban landscape perspective, the need for parking does not appear to be diminishing, however, cities and private parking entities can help manage the potential impact through thoughtful planning and development through data collected from a smart parking application.