Accurate, real-time mapping is the future of smart cities, and this is particularly relevant where vehicles are concerned. Think Google Traffic – constant updates based on mobile data that tell road users exactly where congestion is, how long it will take to get from A to B, and even live crash or emergency information. Smart Australian cities can implement similar technology to augment the driver experience when it comes to parking.
Combined on- and off-street parking guidance is only just arriving in Australia, and will introduce massive benefits for both Councils, commercial operators, and most importantly, drivers.
The historic parking guidance problems
In the past, almost all on-street and off-street parking operations were managed in separate silos. The off-street environment is typically managed by a council or private operator, and boom-gates are used to manage the entry/exit flows. Boom-gates with live data feeds could facilitate LED displays at the entry that show how many available spaces are in the parking complex, but this is not much help when the driver is a few streets away and desperately looking for a park.
Similarly, drivers have always had to turn into a road before discovering whether there are any available on-street spaces to park in. In today's busy urban congestion, the answer is often 'no', and drivers can spend frustrating amounts of time circling to try and find that empty parking space.
How good would it be to provide drivers with the kind of 'real-time, global parking information' they need – on-street or off-street. This is where accurate vehicle sensors and an open platform management system can help.
Building synthesised parking mapping in Australia
Over the last five years, the use of vehicle sensors for off-street parking guidance has grown exponentially. These systems directly allow drivers inside the building to know where parking is available, either via digital signage, or more recently on drivers' mobile phones using an integrated application.
Similarly, Councils have begun to roll out vehicle sensors in the street, where they have primarily been used to assist with enforcement, but are now increasingly used to provide parking availability via separate applications and LED signage.
But solutions that combine both on-street and off-street parking availability to provide a 'precinct-wide overview' are few and far between.
Thankfully, this has begun to change. Vehicle sensor accuracy, accessibility of real-time parking information, improved mapping technology and communications on smartphones, more affordable digital signage and better partnerships between public and private operations have resulted in the ability to synthesise on- and off-street parking availability data – and present it across a single network of signs and applications.
It's a revolution for inner-city drivers that will speed up the act of finding a park, and will reduce traffic congestion at the same time.
Can you benefit from on- and off-street parking?
A recent system launched in Santa Monica and the emergence of mobile applications in Australia show how useful it is to combine multiple sets of real-time parking availability data. Synthesising multiple operators' parking information is the key to present drivers with a comprehensive top-down view of where parking is available across cities in a way that single operators can't do with their own information. It's convenient, it's accessible and it's all encompassing.
The technologies for both on-street and off-street parking must be accurate, and must feed to an open platform management system. Experienced parking solution providers like Duncan facilitate precinct guidance via their parking sensors and Parking Enterprise Management System.
This kind of collaboration is what smart cities are built on. Integrated systems that can all communicate with one another, sending and displaying information that benefits everyone who can access it. With Duncan Solutions by your side, you'll be well on the way to achieving this.