Parking for a mobile society

Mobility is a precondition for economic growth. Cities that
experience rapid expansion struggle to implement a transport
infrastructure to support the mobility requirements of their

growing populations. Maintaining mobility as well as reducing
costs and cutting pollution are constant challenges.
Parking Trend International- August 200S
A lot of metropolitan areas suffer from parking traffic - in other words, traffic caused by drivers looking for a parking space. In some cities, every third driver is involved in that search. This does not necessarily have anything to do with shortage of space, but with a lack of information about the location and number of available spaces.
Finding a place to park and the right means of payment is an everyday occurrence, whether it is in on-street parking, private residential and business estates, shopping malls, hotels, bus and railway stations or at airports.
The provision of parking spaces and guiding traffic to where the spaces are available is increasingly becoming a top-priority task for local management and operators. In the near future mobility services could become a major feature and providing parking facilities with accurate and precise data could be one of the first applications to benefit.

Parking is mobility

carpark.jpgMobility management requires the optimum networking of different transportation modes and services. Efficient mobility management is achieved when for public and individual transportation modes the important property time can be significantly reduced and mobile indivi¬duals are able to make the optimum choice between alternative services. Traffic information services offer route guidance and additional services such as parking information.
Thus parking information services have grown in importance, especially for local authorities. Due to the complexity of traffic phenomena real improvements can only be achieved through carefully coordinated overall solutions which take into account all influencing factors. Information can be accessed / presented by different means of media generating dynamic or static data. A static system, for example, is most useful for pre-trip planning or local guidance, whereas dynamic information becomes of great value for the user for on-trip planning.
Parking space management systems for communities, however, are also faced with a problem: lots of parking spaces remain empty for many hours per day while, very close by, people are desperately looking for a space or are parking illegally. Here, parking guidance systems can provide cus¬tomized solutions because every city is different - every city has its own traffic structures, its own topography and its own financial possibilities. But even the best parking guidance systems do not necessarily mean progress if a tailback has formed in front ofthe multi-storey car park or the parking space provided can not be reached or is not accepted by the user. With modern mobility management, the traffic data and the comprehen¬sive information network could be defined in such a way as to match each urban traffic situation. In the outskirts, dynamic displays guide drivers to park and ride areas, free parking zones and multi-storey car parks. Even in the car park, every space can be monitored online in the management center, which relieves the driver of the chore of finding a parking space.
This guarantees better traffic flow, optimum use of parking capacities and boosted demand thanks to high customer satisfaction. It also reduces emissions by minimizing the number of drivers searching for a parking space.

Harmonized complete solutions

carpark1.jpgKeeping traffic flowing therefore means helping drivers find parking spaces. As experience has shown, the complexity oftraffic means that real improvements can only be achieved with carefully harmonized complete solutions taking all factors into account.
In the ideal case a customer can already be supported during his pre-trip and on-trip planning phase by different means of media. An information and guidance system will welcome the individual at the periphery and should ensure optimum transparency for directions and free capacity. Parking can be then differentiated into short and long term parking; the car park should be planned with a professional contractor and competent equipment specialist in order to meet the most stringent technical and esthetical demands. As part of a complete solution the integration into a parking guidance system and car park guidance system such as the Siemens systems should be possible. For optimum economic efficiency and customer satisfaction on-street parking should be divided into zones and be charged through modern multi-space parking meters, which have already conquered the urban landscape. New technologies and innova¬tive concepts could help to optimize available parking facilities and to improve efficient management. Further it should be mentioned that important success factors could be a right tariff structure for the parking duration and the different zones / locations, and a large choice of means for payment.
Parking in general will be one of the first applications to be used for content services around mobility management. The information gathered for on- and off-street parking is very simple and easily accessible through existing technology and infrastructure, and the service is of great interest to the individual road user. In addition parking has become a business and thus operators (both public and private) are using new technologies to make their own systems more efficient and attractive to users.

Intelligent traffic solutions

Recently there has been a trend for cities and large conurbations to construct parking and traffic management centers where relevant data from different related sources is collected and evaluated. Such a center forms the basis for intelligent parking and traffic management, e.g. control of dynamic parking information / guidance systems or effective operation of traffic control systems.
Once again the concern is whether it will be possible to combine all on¬and off.street parking information, where this information originates from, how it is processed, and in what way it reaches the driver. Only a few companies worldwide have a complete product and system knowledge in parking, know how to link various multi.storey car parks to a parking guidance and/or management system, have the solution for an on-street information system in combination with parking guidance, and have the experience to integrate such complex parking information into an overall traffic control and mobility management center.
In order to open up all these possibilities, a partner is required who can put into practice an integrated, complete solution which also contains a comprehensive range of services.

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