As demand for parking spaces continues to increase, smart parking solutions are being integrated into cities across the world.
Smart parking consists of a range of tools designed to help drivers book and locate spaces in car parks, access and exit car parks using frictionless payment systems and keep drivers informed of parking information using digital signage. In short, it’s a way of making parking less of a pain, alleviating congestion in and around car parks and ultimately saving drivers time and, in some cases, money.
Additional benefits include the potential to capture data and to use that data to design long-term solutions for parking as the technology becomes fully integrated into tomorrow’s smart cities, as well as providing short-term benefits to drivers, such as being able to award discounts to regular users.
Successful examples include Germany’s Cleverciti, which has installations across Europe, North America and the Middle East. Cleverciti’s comprehensive system employs sensors to detect whether a space is taken or not, then uses that data to update digital signs in real-time, which give drivers turn-by-turn information on where to find available spaces.
Australian company Smart Parking offers a similar service called SmartPark as well as a mobile app. The Google Maps-powered Smart Parking app will guide drivers to a car park, providing up-to-the-minute information on details such as opening hours, space availability and prices. It’s already being used in 17 countries.
To make inconvenient parking meters a thing of the past, Pay by Sky, which operates in the US, uses information from satellites, wi-fi and mobile phone signals to determine exactly where you’re parked and bills your account automatically. Not only does that mean frictionless payments, drivers only pay for the exact amount of time they are parked.
And while Australia is lagging a little in uptake, an increasing number of councils (including the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council in Victoria, the City of Darwin, Queensland’s Moreton Bay Regional Council and Randwick City Council in NSW), are trialling smart parking solutions.
The trials form part of the Federal Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs initiative, a $50 million program supporting the delivery of smart technologies in cities and towns across the country.