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Building a smart city: The emergence of clever parking management

Building a smart city: The emergence of clever parking management
While the IoT provides a host of benefits to a number of markets, urban areas are at the top of the list of those seeing the most significant impact empowering what’s known as the Smart City.
Central to improving the way a city delivers services is technology. There's no denying it. Systems and solutions are emerging on the market every day that can help guide autonomous vehicles through city streets, analyze traffic patterns and usage of areas like bike lanes, provide emergency responders with more information through captured video, and intelligently direct drivers to open parking. All of these new capabilities, often deployed using the Internet of Things (IoT), make up a web of systems that collectively provide a city with real-time information to better serve residents and visitors.

While the IoT provides a host of benefits to a number of markets, urban areas are at the top of the list of those seeing the most significant impact empowering what's known as the Smart City. A Smart City is a municipality “that uses information and communication technologies to increase operational efficiency, share information with the public and improve both the quality of government services and citizen welfare."

Smart City initiatives are taking over these urban markets and increasingly relying on the IoT and its connected devices to enhance infrastructure and well-being of citizens. In fact, according to recent research from IoT Analytics on 1,600 real IoT use cases, the largest amount of projects were part of Smart City initiatives. The IoT provides Smart Cities with numerous advantages, such as the ability to streamline waste management and structural health. New York City's Smart City efforts, for example, include energy conservation through smart lighting and air quality monitoring. 
Thomas Hohenacker, CEO and Founder, Cleverciti Systems
Thomas Hohenacker,
CEO and Founder, Cleverciti Systems 

But of the many ways in which municipalities can benefit from the IoT for Smart City initiatives, its role in intelligent traffic management can be argued as one of the most critical. Cities frequently face a variety of challenges when it comes to traffic and parking, such as long search times for a parking space; exceeded emissions limits (especially in European cities where these levels are calculated as part of overarching goals to reduce carbon emissions); illegal parking; missed revenue; and ineffective parking space management systems and procedures. 

Smart City projects that utilize the interconnectivity and innovation of the IoT can effectively mitigate these issues through multiple elements, including:

Real-time communication

Immediate and up-to-date detection of available on-street parking spaces reduces the required time and distance to park, improving mobility. This can be achieved by utilizing overhead parking sensors mounted on lightposts that are connected through the IoT and analyze and measure the appropriate parking-related data, sending information to digital signage to communicate the latest updates for drivers. 

Traffic and emissions reduction

Parking technologies that utilize IoT solutions allow drivers to make smart parking decisions based on facts rather than luck, ensuring less congestion – in regard to both the amount of cars backed up in a certain area and the emissions released into the air. It is essential for drivers to be able to rely on accurate real-time information about where to go, and more importantly, where not to go when all spaces are occupied. The decision to park right away in a nearby garage, rather than circling in the inner city to find an on-street parking space, is essential to avoid unnecessary emissions and traffic.

Parking revenue

Spaces dedicated to parking are one of a city’s most valuable assets, but in most cases, drivers aren’t paying for these precious spots. By providing them with real-time information about the location of available spaces through reliable on-street parking data, drivers are motivated and incentivized to pay for the service and the valuable space as their search time, costs and frustration are substantially reduced.

Improved monitoring

Clever parking services and management solutions enable cities to automate processes that may be time-consuming or costly. These solutions allow users to identify trends and prioritize controls according to real occupancy and payment data. For example, the appropriate use of dedicated zones, such as handicap or delivery areas, can be continuously monitored. Safety in the city can be increased and the identification of a hazard or non-authorized vehicles in certain zones can be easily established.

These components can then be incorporated into the implementation of a Smart City project, bringing together additional pieces that revolutionize the entire parking experience. Officials can manage parking pricing dynamically according to supply and demand, and integrate the management of electric cars, shared cars and charging points. 

As Smart City initiatives converge and incorporate more and more IoT sensors to collect and analyze data, the possibilities for streamlining various pieces of life in these areas become endless. Intelligent parking management is a good place to start, providing cities with the data they need to determine usage, increase revenue and find more ways to serve residents and visitors of a community.

In the future, parking management technology can help fight congestion on city streets, improve communication and contribute to a truly smart — and happy — city.

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