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Smart Cities: Driving the Future of Parking

Post on April 06, 2016
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In part three of his 5-part blog series examining the trends driving the future of parking, T2’s VP of Research Blake Laufer explores Smart Cities.


Previous Posts
Trend #1: Self-driving Cars
Trend #2: The Internet of Things
 

Smart Cities

For the first time in history more people live in cities than live in rural areas.  In the United States the urban population increased 14 percent between 2000 and 2013.
 

A city is responsible for serving its citizens with things like water, electricity, sanitation, and sewers.  It provides urban mobility and public transport.  These are big, difficult things to manage.  Through a combination of technology and governance cities are now making “smarter” decisions using information and communication to better serve citizens, and are becoming more efficient while doing it. 

 

There is no one single thing a city does to become “smart”.  Instead, it’s a collection of services and ideas implemented to improve the lives of citizens and become more efficient. 

 

Smart cities, for example, might look at their garbage trucks and optimize routes they take in order to reduce congestion, or plan sewer operations using rainfall forecasts. 

 

The part that we’re most interested in, of course, is parking.  Cities are beginning to understand that parking is an extension of their overall transportation infrastructure.  Proper data collection is starting to illuminate the relationship between parking and transportation in a city, and technology is providing solutions. 

 

Examples:
-  Hong Kong provides its citizens a nearly universal smart card for services like public transit, library access, building access, shopping, and even parking.
-  Copenhagen is trending toward carbon-neutrality with 40% of their citizens commuting by bicycle.
-  Berlin is testing the infrastructure to use electric vehicles to contribute power back into the grid during peak usage.
-  London is recognized for having a tax to reduce traffic congestion passing through the inner city.

 

Parking vendors are also getting in on the action. Solutions in the marketplace now include:

-  Online payments and appeals services for citizens
-  Real-time occupancy data available via apps and signage
-  Integration with toll-tags and pay-by-cell solutions for customer convenience
-  Optimization facility use via car counting 


These are all “smart city” functions. The next generation of parking solutions might take these smart city functions even further, with potential services including:

-  Dynamic pricing to incentivize parkers toward specific locations—parking meters could transmit the current rates to the vehicle as it’s coming down the street.  
-  Parking garage equipment informing nearby stoplights how much additional traffic is being generated after a big event, so the stoplights could adjust accordingly.