When improving citizens’ quality of life, the challenge of providing suitable and sufficient parking ranks consistently at the top of issues to solve for today’s cities. This problem is also constantly expensive for citizens: drivers spend increasing periods trapped in cars, paying for petrol and polluting our environment.
The most simple and speediest solution is usually the development of a smart-parking app. Today, a wide range of progressive cities have experimented with such tools.
Although smart parking apps and technology can undoubtedly strengthen a city, not all apps are created equal. Many cities are eager to introducing solutions as quickly as possible. Nevertheless, it appears that instead of rolling out a single app, it is significantly more effective to design an integrated parking platform or system that monitors multiple parking parameters.
Such a system could measure could anything from connected cars activity to parking personal assistant systems, like an ‘Alexa’ or ‘Siri’ platform. With easy-to-use apps that citizens can navigate, smart parking solutions will improve mobility, getting cars off the road quicker and reducing traffic and carbon emissions. In short, drivers, passengers, and pedestrians will all be happier since they are reaching their destinations as swiftly as possible.
Simplifying Parking Strategies
Considering that smart parking solutions industry will be worth around $1461.52 million by 2025, it is little surprise that the most important of contributing factors is technology. Cities such as Parthas in Greece have turned to NB-IoT (NarrowBand Internet of the Things) network infrastructure. This technology, developed by Deutsche Telekom, creates a “connected parking” solution to reduce the lack of parking and constant traffic jams. The platform starts by analysing the current transport infrastructure. Following this, sensors are placed around the city to collect data to monitor everything from road surface temperature to parking spaces. This information is then transmitted to app users and citizens to manage traffic flow and other driver solutions, such as autonomous pay for parking. Larger cities such as Barcelona and Rotterdam have also introduced smart parking solutions.
Apps may make it easier for drivers to pay for their spaces, but it also makes the entire trip a more efficient one, allowing drivers to plan where they will park before they even hit the road. Cluj-Napoca in northwestern Romania, for example, is one of the many cities that have created a streamlined parking app designed to guide drivers where to park in the city centre. They even have introduced with online payment options that eliminate the need to fumble with coins at a parking meter.
Beyond Parking and Towards Parking 2.0
Smart parking investments easily move beyond the physical act of parking: these apps can easily track weather conditions and lead drivers in the direction of available parking. In theory, these applications build a cohesive communications network that constantly feeds data into city monitoring centres and infrastructure. It can also create a new revenue stream, using software for pricing optimisation to allow tiered payment options for different car parks across a city.
While the cities mentioned above these have been more successful at getting citizens onboard with the latest parking technology, not all solutions are quickly accepted. One solution that is gaining momentum across Europe, however, is ParkDots, a Slovakian smart parking solution adopted in towns such as Trnava, Trenčín, Liptovský Mikuláš and Bratislava, with plans to expand to other cities across Europe. Selected as an official solution from Deutsche Telekom, the platform combines mobile, cloud and IoT technology. ParkDots has found that instead of focusing on sensors, or on apps, it is important to first look at how to upgrade a city’s current parking system. For example, an administrative application for the city would offer an overview of parking lots with real-time occupancy statistics, as well as information on registered parking fee payments. As for drivers themselves, a user-friendly mobile app would allow them to search for free spaces, quickly navigate to a parking lot, and pay for parking. Drivers can even share their private spaces when they’re not using them—a notion that was popular with 74 percent of people polled in a 2017 survey. With a single smart solution such as this, cities can streamline their parking systems from the ground up in a quick—and cost-efficient—manner.