Incorporating smart technology, such as sensors and cameras, into parking management is not only reducing time spent by drivers searching for a parking spot, it’s also increasing operational efficiency and revenue for parking lot owners.
According to Navigant Research, sensor networks that detect vehicle occupancy are what provide the basic intelligence behind smart parking systems. In fact, its recent report found the installed base of sensor-enabled on-street smart parking spaces is expected to surpass one million worldwide by 2024.
By utilizing sensors, software and smart data interpretation, the benefits of smart parking management are clear: “smart infrastructures save time, protect the environment and ultimately improve the quality of life for city dwellers,” said Marcus Zwick, Head of Innovation Management Mobility Division at Siemens.
The use of devices like sensors is helping drivers find available parking spaces and allowing parking managers to maximize their profit.
“Our wireless parking sensor system SENSIT detects in real time whether or not an on-street parking space is available or not and for how long,” said Edwin Siemerink, SENSIT Proposition Manager at Nedap Mobility Solutions. “This information can be used to efficiently guide motorists to an available parking space. Our parking solution notifies parking enforcers in real time about the cars in overstay and the cars that misuse a dedicated parking space. Additionally, the real-time parking data from the sensors can be used to integrate in parking payment apps and displays.”
Radar sensors vs. ground sensors
Ground sensors are becoming increasingly popular as a mechanism for monitoring parking space availability. However, some companies like Siemens are proposing the use of radar sensors instead. “In comparison to ground sensors, overhead radar sensors capture not only the occupancy of individually marked parking spaces but also monitor several spaces at the same time as well as the adjacent area (i.e., cycle paths, sidewalks or the road),” said Zwick.
Zwick explained how Siemens’ technology works: “A network of sensors — based on a newly-developed radar sensor installed on street lamps — records the parking position and learns typical occupancy patterns. The data is processed in a control center, enabling drivers to enter their destination via a smartphone or navigation device and receive real-time information about the parking space situation there.” Additionally, the system is coupled with a multimodal route planner, which provides real-time information on possible options for switching to public transportation services in the event there is no parking available in a given area.
However, as data minimization is a key aim in the design of the parking space sensor, the IT platform and associated apps, the radar system in the street lamps are capable of only showing schematic images; it is not possible to identify people or vehicles.
Photo courtesy of Siemens