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Why Cities Need Smart Parking?

In this post: we look at how major cities could manage parking issues with smart parking solutions and what regulations can help cities plan future-proof infrastructure.

America’s fascination towards football – especially the Super Bowl LIII – is mesmeric. While the city of Atlanta hosted the latest showdown, the city planners, police and even Lyft had a part to play in ferrying hundreds and thousands of sports fans. More than 1 million people were expected to arrive in Atlanta by that afternoon. Just watch this video to see the impact of people influx on a city’s traffic management.

Some percentage of fans would come from other cities or states, and the rest from Atlanta itself. The question is, if cabs such as Lyft and Uber are bringing people in and thousands who drive down to the majestic Mercedes Benz stadium, where do they park all the cars?

Most American mega-cities – such as Philadelphia and New York – have excess parking spaces. The trouble is, they are being used inefficiently. If we ask mayors and city planners of each major American city about what concerns them about city planning – they wouldn’t hesitate to point at managing traffic and parking.

Most of human population is heading towards major cities, the urban jungles, so to speak. While many of us move to big cities in search of jobs, business opportunities, hundreds and thousands of travelers arrive for leisure and cultural events and activities. One major factor which influences what people think about a particular city’s infrastructure, is the ease of travel and parking. Either people clog roads to travel to and from work, or the city welcomes millions of tourists, either way, there got be efficient parking facilities available. All of us expect to quickly and efficiently locate an open parking space.

The time is right to implement smart parking management

Every major city around the world is about to face similar challenges. Many cities in the United States alone are talking about implementing smart parking solutions. The idea is to bring a variety of parking spaces under a handful of grids to simplify parking space management on a city level. The issue is not lack of parking spaces, it is to do with efficient management of parking slots.

A recent study conducted by the International Parking Institute in 2018 threw some light on what people expect in terms of parking technology to be implemented across major cities. What people want is intelligent guidance systems built into parking management solutions. Such a feature, when integrated on to a parking lot service app, would guide traffic to empty parking slots quickly and efficiently. Thereby saving time and money (gas) in finding a place to park your car.

Check out these emerging trends is parking lot management

With usage of smart sensors and affordable IoT platforms, any parking space can be converted in a smart parking lot. When LIVE data is fed into the parking lot app, then it is easy for people to be guided to the nearest (available) space. Real-time updates with reliable and live information captured from sensors facilitate intelligent parking decisions that are based on data, not luck.

For cities such as Atlanta, which saw a tremendous influx of people arriving for the Super Bowl LIII, such smart parking initiatives would have eliminated most issues in managing traffic and parking.

Parking management insight is a gold mine

The bigger picture city planners should look at is the insights they generate. Once smart parking systems are implemented, it starts collecting massive amounts of data about traffic and parking inflow. Analysts can dig deep to ascertain hourly demand each day. Such data can help city planners make adequate upgrades to existing city infrastructure to tackle future traffic and parking demand. Hang on a minute. How can the traffic management hub of a particular city get its hands on data generated by each and every – privately owned – parking space?

We need new data sharing regulations in major cities of the world

Regulations should mandate every parking space owner to implement smart parking solutions – may be through subsidies to encourage quick on-boarding. This is possibly the only way to boost mass on-boarding in quick time. The second part of the regulation should ensure that each parking lot business to share data with local municipalities. Insights gathered from this data will help cities to better equip themselves to tackle sudden influx of traffic and demand for parking.

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