Whether you drive in Barcelona, San Francisco, or Sydney, parking your car can be a nightmare!
Every day millions of drivers around the world get stuck in traffic jams and waste precious hours looking for parking. Fortunately, smart technologies such as real-time traffic updates and real-time parking availability are starting to change that.
Combined with a meteoric rise in the number of connected vehicles on the road, new traffic technologies are starting to have a real effect on reducing traffic and congestion along with eliminating unnecessary time wasted driving around looking for parking.
To address the issue of unnecessary pollution and driver stress caused by searching for a parking space, a recent project focused on a real-time space availability service that received data on the number of available spaces from participating parking lots every few minutes. This information was then relayed in real-time to drivers using mobile and car navigation systems.
The project began to become more and more relevant when studied in relation to on-street/surface parking lots: Multi-story parking garages have the required barrier and/or loop infrastructure to calculate the number of available spaces, but surface parking lots and street spaces generally do not have any mechanisms to do the same thing.
Drivers could make intelligent parking decisions and drive to where there was space availability. They could see what their chances of finding a street parking space were based on the day and time of their arrival, even in locations that had no barriers or sensors installed. This also had a positive environmental effect as it reduced congestion, noise pollution, and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
In terms of providing the information to end users, the data was integrated into car/mobile apps, which were now able to know final destination and current traffic conditions in real-time. The car/mobile app was able to give various options to the driver. An interesting element to the project was the use of historical payment transaction data to provide forecasts of parking space availability in the future.
The project went live with the City of Seattle and Westminster Council in London in 2012. I look forward to sharing more about it on Sunday, May 19 during the IPI Conference & Expo–hope to see you then!