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Smart Parking – Definition and Examples

Smart parking will make parking efficient as it solves the number one problem everyone has with it – finding free spots. If you ever drove through a city and spent 10 or 15 minutes finding a good spot near your destination or if you were at a shopping mall and spent more time searching for a free parking spot than actually buying things, then this technology will be a lifesaver for you.

What is Smart Parking?

Smart parking is an IoT (Internet of Things) solution that uses sensors and/or cameras in combination with a software to inform users of vacant parking spaces in a certain area.

It should not be confused with mobile parking. This is only a way to pay with your phone or smartphone, to extend the parking time and find your car. Here you still need to find free spots by yourself.

The way smart parking works is, that a sensor detects if, or if not, a car is standing on a parking spot. This can either be a proximity sensor or often also a camera. The advantage of using a camera is that it can view a wider space. On the other hand, if the environment is not ideal for one of these, for example if trees or objects are in the way, then they can become quite expensive in comparison to sensors.

After the sensor detected a change (parking space free or not) on the parking spot, it sends a message to the cloud of the provider. Afterwards, the user receives a notification that there is a free parking space and gets the direction towards it.

When the user leaves the spot, the procedure gets repeated and other people get notified.

Advantages

  • Reduces Traffic
    By always directly showing a user where there is a free spot, smart parking can reduce the time searching for it. Cars wouldn’t drive around blocks and slow down if there might be a spot.
  • Reduces Emissions
    In addition to the point mentioned previously, by reducing traffic, it also reduces the emissions of cars.
  • Real Time Traffic Data
    With the data collected of the parking spots, cities can better analyse their traffic and thus improve its efficiency and detect errors.
  • Manage Retail or Office Parking
    Not only cities will see benefits in using smart parking technology, also large office or retail parking lots can. For companies with a high number of employees that come by car, the technology can reduce time, emissions and costs of running the car.
  • Help Cities to Become Smart
    Smart parking is a step into the direction of smart cities. By connecting buildings, cars, transportation and other public services, our future cities can become more efficient and sustainable.

Costs

The pricing for smart parking systems depends on various factors such as: the size of the parking lot, the shape of it, if objects are in its way (trees, lamps, …) and the features of the user-software.

There is not a direct estimate of how much the smart parking system will cost you, but we would recommend you to take a look at an example of the United States Department of Transportation.

The system for two roadsides (50 parking spots) with sensors and a reservation app was estimated at around $200,000. The initial installation costs consist mostly of sensors and the application. By using cameras instead of sensors and a less custom software, these costs can be reduced. The more smart parking systems will be installed, the lower the unit cost will be in the end.

Conclusion

Smart parking is a good investment for cities that have lots of traffic problems and want to increase their efficiency. Also, for commercial real estate, this can be quite interesting. Especially for large parking lots in front of shopping malls, offices and industrial buildings, the technology can help to reduce emissions, time spent on searching for parking spots and costs.

If you want to find out more about smart and sustainable building technology, please take a look at our blog and glossary.

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