How Smart Parking Systems Work
Have you ever been looking for a place to park in a big city or perhaps a crowded summer resort? If you have, you’re probably familiar with the agitation that builds up inside as you keep circling the same blocks over and over and over, again. For many people, this pattern repeats on a daily basis, resulting in stress, pollution and wasted time.
According to research, a staggering 30% of the traffic in central urban areas is caused by drivers looking for parking spaces. But don’t despair. An increasing number of cities are now developing smart parking systems to end this time-consuming ritual. Using IoT (Internet of Things), smart cities are on a mission to optimize urban parking. Let’s have a closer look at how smart parking works.
What Is Smart Parking?
Smart parking is a part of the concept of smart cities. Smart cities are cities driven by an intelligent IT infrastructure to enhance the city’s quality of life, economic development, and sustainability. Smart parking systems use the same methods as other IoT concepts (Internet of Things), where objects are enhanced with data-gathering functionality, machine-learning, and AI.
The global demand for smart parking is growing at a rapid pace. According to a recent report by Allied Market Research, the global smart parking market was worth $6.05 billion in 2019, and it is estimated to reach $11.13 billion by 2027, with a compound annual growth of 12.6% from 2020 to 2027.
Intelligent Parking – How It Works
So, how does it actually work? There is no one simple answer, as there can be several technologies involved. Smart parking systems can use various devices such as vehicle counting equipment, cameras, and sensors installed in streets and pavements to gather data about the occupancy of different streets and parking lots. This data is then transmitted in real-time via the internet to a database where it’s aggregated and analyzed. The information can then be fed into a mobile app. Such an app then guides the driver with a GPS, providing directions to the nearest available parking space.
Smart Parking and Smart Cities
As cities increasingly venture into AI, big data, and IoT (internet of things), an important goal is to create a real-time overview of what is happening in the city. Aggregating the data from smart parking systems and combining it with other traffic-related data points provides smart cities with invaluable insights. This information can form a basis for data-driven decisions about things like landscaping, city planning, and speed limits.
Smart Parking and Driver-Less Cars
Climate change is one of the most urgent challenges that cities around the world need to address. Here, big data and AI in relation to transportation and traffic can play an important part.
The city of Seoul in Korea is at the forefront of this development, spearheading “smart green mobility” technologies such as driverless cars and delivering goods with the help of robots. Rotterdam is another example of a city where big data and AI have helped the city’s transport authority (RET) provide citizens with electric bikes and e-scooters as greener modes of travel. Smart parking plays an important part in gathering the big data that enables all kinds of innovative initiatives to help us build more sustainable cities.
Benefits of Smart Parking
It’s easy to understand that there are many benefits of smart parking and increased access to parking space. There are benefits both on an individual level, and on a societal plane, as the benefits span from increased convenience to reduced emissions of greenhouse gas.
Smart parking systems increase the total availability of parking. With better access to parking, people waste less time looking for a place to park and can spend more time on productive work or leisure. With more parking available and easy to find, everything in a city flows more smoothly – from running errands to unloading goods or going grocery shopping.
Cars circling around on the hunt for a parking space create a lot of pollution. Reducing the need to look for parking reduces the total amount of traffic. Smart parking is particularly beneficial in cities with high population and traffic density. One such city is San Francisco. After implementing smart parking technology in the city, the time it takes to find a parking space was reduced by 43%. On top of that, the number of miles driven to get to a parking space was reduced by 30%, and thus greenhouse gas emissions dropped by 30%.
Smart parking systems gather data that can enable smart cities to implement data-driven decision-making. When all the data that smart parking systems accumulate is aggregated on a macro-level, it provides a valuable overview of the city that makes it easier to plan and make projections about everything from new projects to safety precautions.
When Smart Parking is implemented well, it means drivers who are looking for a parking spot will find it in the quickest and best way possible. It also means that cities can not only optimize their parking territories but also use them to gather valuable data. Insights that can be used to inform strategic decision-making in a number of areas. Smart parking systems contribute to making cities more pleasant to live in, safer, and less congested. Smart parking reduces traffic and pollution and can be an important piece of the puzzle as smart cities aim to fight climate change.