The Role of AI in Smart Parking

December 16, 2020

Traffic congestion is a significant problem in urban areas worldwide. It weighs down economic, social, and environmental progress, both every day and long-term. Economically, traffic congestion increases transportation costs dramatically through delays, fuel consumption, and emissions. Additionally, the mental stress it inflicts on motorists lowers productivity. 

According to research, 30% of all urban traffic stems from motorists looking for parking spaces. Most cities and towns have limited parking spaces, and even the existing lots are underutilized because of inefficient allocation and irregular parking. 

Fortunately, technological advancements are showing great promise to reduce traffic congestion. Artificial Intelligence-based smart parking solutions from innovative companies like Pavemint can help solve parking issues and eliminate urban congestion inconveniences.

How does traditional parking contribute to traffic congestion?

Although the causes of traffic jams are numerous, they all come down to having too many vehicles on the streets simultaneously. Limited parking may not be the sole cause of the problem, but it is a notable contributor.

Drivers looking for low-cost on-street parking often bypass off-street lots to save money. However, in doing so, they block motorway sections, causing congestion. Moreover, because many off-street parking lots are located further from business centers, vehicles spend more time on the road before they reach them. 

Even more significant is the mismanagement that goes on in most parking lots. Most dedicated motor spaces can support many more cars than they currently hold if proper parking standards are implemented and enforced. Unfortunately, few parking service providers are willing to invest in the necessary upgrades.

The need for AI-based Smart Parking Systems

Artificial intelligence has a host of applications in the parking industry, thanks to its ability to collect and process massive data points and adjust its processes through machine learning. From parking lot optimization to smart city systems, AI can be infused into the fabric of parking. 

In smart cities, traffic authorities can use pre-collected data to learn how cars move and guide them to the best parking spaces available. Meanwhile, enforcers can know the areas and times with the highest parking violations to make more effective rounds. 

Smart parking facilities exemplify the potential of artificial intelligence even further. Currently, fully integrated systems that include entrance barriers, detection loops, sensors, and building access monitors exist. Incorporating artificial intelligence into such systems could unlock a myriad of intriguing opportunities. For starters, they could learn to distinguish between regular parking users, occasional visitors, and first-timers through number plates and direct vehicles to the ideal parking areas, saving valuable time and fuel. 

Intelligent software can also enable parking companies to redistribute space according to demand. Using real-time and historical data, systems can predict the percentage of parking spaces that will likely be occupied at particular times, days, or seasons. Therefore, they can free up any pre-reserved lots for other users. 

Finally, artificial intelligence can help service providers to develop dynamic pricing for their parking lots. AI-based systems can calculate the right prices depending on real-time parking availability, capacity, and frequency of use. That way, companies can allocate prices that maximize returns while keeping clients satisfied.

Challenges of AI adoption in parking

Despite its apparent benefits, AI is still a long way from achieving mainstream adoption in parking. One of the most significant inhibitors of growth is the upfront investment required to automate traditional systems. The long return-on-investment period discourages many providers from setting aside the required capital. 

Smart parking solutions do not negate the need for education about proper parking. Drivers must still be morally responsible for following the rules. Unfortunately, people often park their vehicles to suit their convenience with little consideration of others. Therefore, to some degree, human intervention is still necessary to keep smart parking systems running efficiently.

The future of AI in smart parking

Urbanization’s high growth rate and increased car sales present a window of opportunity for parking companies to improve their services, reduce their operating costs, and contribute to less traffic congestion. With AI, the parking industry can adopt intelligent systems that make parking as efficient as possible. 

If you are in the parking business, the smart parking segment is open for you to maximize its benefits. An AI-based parking system can completely transform how you deliver your service.

Join us in making parking smart.

Speak to a member of our sales team to discover how Pavemint’s software can make your parking more efficient.

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