Global urbanization is paving the way for smart cities. As municipalities look to improve the urban environment it is becoming imperative to gather a range of data efficiently. Cities now have a means of managing a range of services, from waste management to parking.
In the latest edition of Parking Talks, we discussed Smart City and were lucky to have industry expert, Thomas Hohenacker, CEO of Cleverciti, on hand to join our discussion and share his knowledge and experience on the subject.
It seems to us that Smart City is all about data-driven decision making, so we asked Thomas if he could tell us more.
"In a lot of cities, as a driver, you might find an indication of spaces available in garages, and quite often there will be a parking guidance system in place. However, many drivers are still trying, with an old medieval system called luck, to find parking spaces in the on-street environment. This means that before they make the final decision to go into a garage, maybe they will cruise for half an hour.
"There is a lack of data in the on-street environment, and as long as there is a lack of data, people will still cruise around. To solve this we require two data sets: you need to have on-street parking data as well as the indoor garage data. If, as a driver, you know that in the on-street environment nothing is available, you will make a smart decision and go straight away into a garage."
We were also keen to learn more about the problems that municipalities are most keen to address with Smart City solutions.
"For the cities, it is essential to reduce emissions, which means reducing the traffic that is needlessly cruising around (about 30% of the traffic). Reducing search-time also benefits local businesses, because instead of spending 10 or 30 minutes in the car looking for a space, people will have time to shop. And, another effect is that people are less frustrated because they know exactly where to go to get a space.
"And, because we are also measuring the length of stay with our on-street system, it helps local business have more turnover in their parking spaces. Ideally, you don’t want people staying for eight hours when they are working all day. It would be better for these people to park in indoor garages and for on-street spaces to be occupied by shoppers for two hour periods, thus maximizing business for the shops. So it helps the local business, just as it helps safety and reducing emissions."
Thomas shared his insight into how uptake has been for smart city solutions.
"Well, we have 51 installations in 18 countries so we are very happy about that! The first city that adopted the seamless data system, is the city of Bad Hersfeld near Frankfurt. Here, the very smart mayor recognized that it is absolutely vital to display available spaces in city center on-street parking lots, as well as data from the garages.
"So we installed our system in this city and we displayed both data sets on large LED panels. Now, when a driver enters the cities, he can see right away, “Well there is nothing available in the market square, where there’s a big parking area with 300 spaces, so what do I do? Well, I go right away into the nearest garage and I don’t lose any more time.” So smart parking is about having the complete data set. You cannot make intelligent decisions if you are lacking half the data."
Finally, we asked Thomas what Cleverciti’s focus is going to be.
"We have realized that it’s very important to communicate data locally. So local guidance is key to displaying and visualizing valuable data. With this in mind, we are distributing our CIRC360, which is a new omnidirectional sign which can be mounted on existing infrastructure (such as lampposts, as our sensors are). CIRC360 makes it possible to guide people in a very fine grain way to the parking spaces. Instead of simply providing big LED signs at the entrances of the city, data is displayed where ever people have to make a decision, on an individual street basis. And so our effort is really to have a complete system which can guide people in a smart way, and display the data wherever they have to make decisions."
For more insights from Thomas, and to hear from ParKam's, Nikki Eylon, watch the discussion in full:
About Cleverciti Systems
Cleverciti Systems is the leader in comprehensive, high-tech solutions for outdoor and on-street parking detection, monitoring and guidance. Cleverciti provides organizations with a robust and highly reliable solution that enhances convenience, builds loyalty and boosts engagement, allowing our customers to maximize ROI and streamline the parking experience. Its end-to-end solutions are designed to strengthen parking detection, improve guidance, and enhance communication. ´Cleverciti seeks to help organizations reduce traffic and emissions, and increase revenue while allowing drivers to enjoy a smooth, stress-free parking experience. The company is headquartered in Munich, Germany, with offices in Chicago. To learn more, visit www.cleverciti.com.