Understanding the Role of IoT in Parking

March 31, 2021

With consistent increases in urban populations, the need for space is higher than ever.  According to the World Bank, at least half the global population lives in cities and the number is expected to reach 60% by 2030. This scale of urbanization brings immense challenges to citywide infrastructural planning. Among the most significant issues is the skyrocketing demand for parking.

Fortunately, modern technology can deliver effective answers to the problem. Parking operators are increasingly looking into the Internet of Things for solutions that help motorists drive and park comfortably in their facilities.

Read on to find out how IoT-based systems can improve today’s parking sector.

What is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a mesh of interconnected devices, machines, and appliances, that can communicate autonomously. This network expands beyond typical smart devices like smartphones and computers into traditionally non-connected objects like refrigerators, air conditioners, and even vehicles. Once connected, these “things” can be remotely controlled and monitored. They can also exchange data without human interaction. 

IoT connects devices to solve everyday problems. By integrating sensors, actuators, software, and end-user apps, this technology can turn headache-inducing processes like parking into seamless experiences.

Harnessing the Internet of Things for the Parking Industry

IoT has the potential to deliver scalable, secure, and affordable service across numerous sectors and markets. For the parking industry, IoT can enable smart solutions in on-street, off-street, municipal, and private parking spaces. 

Below are some intriguing ways in which the Internet of Things can improve the parking sector.

1. Vehicle Tracking

IoT is the primary enabler of vehicle tracking systems. GPS and OBD sensors can collect information about a car’s location and monitor parking occupancy. This data can then be dispensed to drivers, car manufacturers, and parking lot operators in the form of clear, actionable insights. 

For motorists, IoT tracking can deliver maps of parking facilities complete with real-time vehicle movements. With this information, drivers can know immediately when a parking space becomes available and the best route to reach it.

2. Car Counters

An IoT-based counting system can be deployed to large capacity facilities to inform drivers and parking operators when a vehicle enters and leaves a spot. Motorists can know the number of free spots available before driving into a parking facility. That way, they can cut down the time they spend hunting for parking in a crowded lot. 

For parking operators, counter systems can help to determine patterns and trends regarding vehicle flow. With this information, they can derive reliable forecasts about peak and off-peak times and adjust their resources to achieve maximum efficiency.

This can be achieved by installing hardware in individual parking spaces, or more affordably with Pavemint's management tools monitoring check-in and check-out information.

3. Automated Parking

Automatic parking systems rely on device connectivity to move vehicles in and out of parking spaces without drivers. In an APS, all a motorist does is leave their car at a facility’s entrance. Sensors detect the presence of a vehicle and trigger a series of conveyors and elevators that move it to its designated parking slot. 

Since an APS is fully automated, parking lots do not require driveways or pathways. Therefore, managers can maximize space efficiency while eliminating the possibility of accidents that involve humans. They can also reduce lighting and ventilation costs.

4. Policy Enforcers

The Internet of Things can act as an effective traffic compliance reinforcer. With a network of sensors, data analytics tools, and mobile apps, authorities can detect and register offenders, record evidence, issue tickets, and notify the violators, all within seconds. Pavemint's Lot Enforcement tool creates this with any camera-enabled smart device.

IoT can also help authorities to convey information about parking regulations more effectively. The right solution can tell a driver where and how to park, making on-street parking easier to manage.

How Will IoT Enable Autonomous Parking In the Future?

Today, parking facilities are increasingly investing in IoT technologies to streamline their operations and make parking easier for drivers. These technologies range from ground and post sensors, which can sense whether parking spaces are vacant or occupied and relay this information to drivers looking for parking, to software solutions like Pavemint's that make use of tablets and smartphones.

IoT experts suggest that, soon, parking will not require drivers at all. Instead, cameras in parking lots will map the facility and send the data to a vehicle so that it can detect obstacles, navigate corners, and park all by itself. Integrating with smart software solutions like Pavemint is the best way to prepare yourself for the coming changes to parking technology. 

Going by the strides already made in smart parking, the industry is not far from a future where vehicles drive and park themselves.

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