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How cities can benefit from smart parking

How cities can benefit from smart parking
It can be said that parking is a headache and a major issue facing municipalities around the world. In this regard, cities can rely on smart parking, which carries various benefits.
It can be said that parking is a headache and a major issue facing municipalities around the world. In this regard, cities can rely on smart parking, which carries various benefits.
Increasingly, the urbanization trend is picking up across the globe. With more and more people living in cities, municipal officials are inevitably faced with transportation issues, especially in the areas of traffic congestion and parking. A report by USA Today, for example, finds that on average, a US driver spends 17 hours per year to find parking.
However, a lot of times the problem is not with the availability of parking space. “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,” said a blogpost by Rentcubo.
This is where city officials, parking operators and drivers alike can find rely on smart parking, whose growth potential is not to be ignored. According to a recent report by Allied Market Research, the global smart parking market was valued at US$5 billion in 2017 and is projected to reach $11.6 billion by 2025, registering a compound annual growth rate of 11.2 percent from 2018 to 2025.
Smart parking is made possible by the internet of things, which entails the interplay of two critical components, data and the connected parking sensors that generate them.
Especially, data plays a critical role in smart parking. “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,” Rentcubo said. “Regulations should mandate every parking space owner to implement smart parking solutions … and 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.”

Types of parking sensors

Parking sensors range from in-ground sensors to overhead cameras. Regardless of type, parking sensors’ function is to detect vehicles coming to the space and transmit the data to the backend.
In-ground sensors typically work by way of either magnetism or radar. With the former, the sensor detects the stirring-up of the area’s magnetic field, as a car is in essence a big chunk of iron. Radar, meanwhile, works by way of shooting an electromagnetic wave, which bounces back when there's a vehicle above the sensor.
Both in-ground sensors and cameras have their advantages and drawbacks.
“Wireless sensors have a low cost of maintenance since the battery life is long, thus does not require regular changing, and the product has a clear single-aim engineering design. Despite all these pros, vehicle detection sensors have some limitations because they are in-ground. They do not provide any other data other than space occupancy, therefore, they are a single-goal technology that have lower returns on investment,” said a blogpost by Nwave. “Fixed cameras have the advantage of monitoring several parking spots at once, usually a street lane or a significant area of a parking structure. They are also instrumental in enforcement of parking rules and policies through the ability to detect license plates and capture violations. However, the expense of purchasing and maintaining cameras is significantly higher than that of in-ground sensors.”

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