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Will we see Smart Parking Technology in the foreseeable future?

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Posted April 25, 2019

What is Smart Parking Technology?

Nothing can be more frustrating during or at the end of a stressful day driving around and around a car park only to find out there aren’t any spaces at all. Not only does this waste your precious time but you’re also using up fuel and causing pollution driving around for longer than needed. If you hear the term Smart Parking Technology, this refers to the combination of both advanced software and automation in order to erase these problems. There are a few different ways in which Smart Technology has been introduced so far.

Image credit: JayMantri | Free image via Pixabay (Pixabay licence)

Image credit: JayMantri | Free image via Pixabay (Pixabay licence)

Automatic Parking

This area of Smart Parking Technology involves vehicles being shuffled and stored using dollies which not only allow them to be stored in a vacant space automatically but also in closer areas and at a higher density saving valuable space. Rather than the need for a ticket, there is a number place recognition technology fitted in making paper tickets redundant. This number place recognition technology can also produce detailed reports to the owner of the car park such as the average stay for a car in the car park and the volume of vehicles using the car park.

Green Parking Technology

In alignment with the shift towards electric vehicles and lower emissions, car parks are also following this trend by taking on green parking technologies. This includes aspects such as solar power canopies acting as the roof of the car park. The main practical use of this canopy will be to charge any electric vehicles that are parked underneath it as well as preventing uncomfortable warmth during the blistering summer inside cars. One of the biggest of these in the planning for the UK is at St. Ives Park & Ride in Cambridgeshire which will be a staggering 948Kw in size.

What are the benefits of Smart Parking Technology?

Apart from the environmental and eco-friendly benefits of adopting Smart Parking Technology, there are also many other rewards that can be reaped from this technology such as:

– Optimisation when it comes to parking – rather than just telling you how many free spots there are in the car park, it will also find you the nearest best place available reducing congestion and time wasted in the car park.

– Reduced congestion – there will be fewer cars driving around the car park and subsequently leaving if they haven’t found a space due to this technology.

– Reduction in pollution – Studies have found that people driving around looking for a parking spot burns one million barrels of oil a day. With the technology being able to find a place quicker this will significantly reduce the impact the problem is having on the environment.

– Real-time data analysis – as we have mentioned already this smart parking technology will be able to produce insights like never before for councils and owners. This can let them know the volume of cars, what time of day is the busiest and whether the car park requires expansion.

– More opportunities for business – with the evolution in car park payment machines technology such as contactless and being able to use applications on smartphones car park owners could create a tier type system in order to increase revenue if someone wants to park closer to the entrance to a nearby shopping centre for example.

When can we expect to see Smart Parking Technology everywhere in the UK?

Smart Parking Technology is yet to become commonplace in the UK; however local councils have started picking up on the benefits of it and want to adopt it early on. One of these early adopters of the technology is Harrogate Borough Council, who have supported the development for an application for a smart phone that allows residents in the city to see in real-time the availability of car parking spaces in the town centre.

This is thanks to around 2000 sensors placed on the ground in these parking spots that sense whether a vehicle is parked there. This app is free to download and not only benefits the drivers in the town but also the town itself as there is less congestion

Of course the deployment of these types of projects on a large scale in cities such as London, Liverpool and Manchester will take a lot more planning and projects like Harrogate will help them to see what types of insights and benefits can be observed and experienced on a much smaller scale.

Many car parks have already taken away the need for a human to be present to oversee when a car has been parked too long or to receive payment with parking machines that accept both cash and contactless. After all, this year is when debit cards and smart phone contactless payments are forecast to overtake cash payments as the number of mobile users is to exceed 4.68 billion.

A final few words

Going forward with the population increasing and therefore the number of cars increasing we need smart parking technologies and innovations to be adopted now more than ever. There are 27 million cars that need to be parked right across the UK, and these cars make up over 25 billion trips in a single year!

Not only this, but over half of these trips require a parking space away from the person’s house. So the need to streamline this parking experience means that our cities are less congested, we have more time to ourselves in our day and more importantly, there is reduced pollution and damage to the environment.

This is especially needed in London where the average motorist spends over four days every year just looking for a car parking space! Over the space of ten years you’re losing nearly two months of your life to simply looking for a car parking space; so giving the people of London a bit of this time back is invaluable.

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