Smart parking systems: What they are and why they’re beneficial

Smart parking systems

Technologies are transforming the world around us, including sectors that already seem to have clear and well-established procedures. Public parking services may seem straightforward enough, but a deeper look reveals lots of challenges for both drivers and parking operators, from the difficulty of finding an available parking spot in a popular location to issues involving convenient and secure payments. The Internet of Things has huge potential to address these problems. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the concept of a smart parking system and explain what benefits it can offer both to drivers and parking lot operators.

What is a smart parking system?

Smart parking can be defined as an IoT-powered system that relies on sensors and/or cameras to gather data regarding the availability of spots in a particular parking area. To interact with such a system, a driver needs the right mobile application (in some cases such applications may also have a web version). As a rule, such apps allow users to book a place in advance and pay to park there.

How does smart parking technology work?

To understand what opportunities a smart parking solution offers drivers and the company operating a parking garage, we need only consider the elements and functions of such a system.

Smart detectors (sensors) are the core element of smart parking technology. A sensor can be related to just one parking spot or a couple simultaneously. It sends data about whether the parking space is currently occupied to a cloud server. 

Drivers can check parking availability via a relevant app, which typically plots available spaces on a smart parking map, allowing users to see whether there are still free places at a parking lot now, or will be at a chosen time in the future. The driver can find a suitable parking lot and book a spot in advance. Information about the reserved parking spot will be sent to the server and be visible to other users of the app.

For the convenience of drivers, information about parking area occupancy can also be displayed on dynamic smart parking signs. That means even drivers who don’t have the app can instantly see if there are available spots at the entrance. If there isn’t a single parking space available, they can go to another parking lot and avoid contributing to a traffic jam near the one that is fully occupied.

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Types of smart parking systems

There are several types of solutions in this category, based on the devices used.

Types of smart parking systems
  • Smart parking solution powered by ground sensors. Ground sensors are not the latest innovations. In fact, they’ve been in use for several decades with little change. They use radar to detect when a car occupies a parking spot.
  • Counter system. Such solutions usually rely on raisable gates. They count the number of cars that have entered and exited. A system of this type is a popular choice for an enclosed parking garage. These systems have been widely adopted but have disadvantages if they’re not accompanied by additional sensors. They can’t demonstrate smart parking maps with available places.
  • Camera-based systems or systems enriched with overhead parking sensors. Smart detectors of this kind can view a parking area from above, each covering more than one parking space at the same time.

Benefits of a smart parking system

When considering the feasibility of implementing a smart parking system, it’s worth learning about the core advantages.

Benefits of a smart parking system
  1. Less stress for drivers. Trying to find an available parking space can become an exercise in frustration. But smart detectors and cameras installed at a parking lot and connected to a cloud server can solve the problem. If you can readily see that all spaces are occupied, you can just look for another parking area. 
  2. Fuel and time savings. Apps give car owners a clear understanding of where they can find a parking space and the chance to book it in advance. This means less wasted time and fuel spent driving around looking for a parking spot.
  3. Informed parking management decisions. The possibility of monitoring the situation at a parking lot remotely is also beneficial for operators, who can build more efficient business strategies and make better decisions about whether to close a parking garage or open a new one in a particular zone. This means city authorities and businesses can make smarter investments in organizing parking areas and optimize their budget allocations.
  4. Higher revenues for parking operators. Real-time data analytics can be used not only for better planning and service enhancement but also for introducing dynamic pricing. In this case, prices can be changed depending on ongoing demand, which will help maximize profits.
  5. Lower carbon footprint. Providing drivers with relevant information on parking availability will minimize the number of cars circling around a garage, thus reducing pointless carbon emissions.
  6. Reduced traffic jams. This benefit is closely related to the previous one. When drivers clearly know where they can leave their vehicles, they don’t need to wait in lines to get out of a garage after an unsuccessful attempt at finding a parking space.
  7. Easy payments. A smart parking system can also accept payments via a mobile app. The transaction is simple and quick, enhancing the experience for drivers.
  8. Higher safety and security. A smart parking system enriched with cameras helps operators monitor what is happening in the parking lot. It is possible to know who is arriving, by identifying the license plate, and when they arrive and depart.

Smart parking solution development: Our experience

Our team has rich expertise in building IoT-powered products that are intended for drivers. Recently we have worked on creating a smart parking management system. This solution allows drivers to check the availability of spots at a parking area, view the overall parking occupancy, book a parking spot for a particular time and pay for it, as well as cancel a reservation. The system relies on parking barrier devices that include a sensor connected to a router located at a parking lot and a cloud server. These smart barriers are enabled and disabled in accordance with data received from the cloud server.

The app also has some features built for the convenience of parking lot operators, who can view parking usage statistics and availability at different periods of the day.

Final word

Smart parking systems have become a vital element of a smart city infrastructure. They help not only to save time for drivers but also to regulate traffic congestion and avoid incidents caused by traffic jams. Introducing such systems can also have a positive impact on environmental protection. All these factors suggest that we can expect a growing interest in these solutions from governments all over the world, leading to even higher adoption.

If you are looking for developers who will be able to build a smart parking system in accordance with your requirements, do not hesitate to contact us. Our experts will study your request and offer the best solution.