The Covid-19 pandemic had a major impact on our everyday lives. The impact of the imposed confinement period can be measured through many changes in citizen’s habits including mobility patterns. Thanks to around 650 installed PrestoSense parking monitoring sensors, we have analyzed with anonymized data how on-street parking patterns have evolved in different parts of Geneva, Switzerland where a semi-confinement was announced.
A state of emergency and the semi-confinement period was officially declared in Switzerland on March 16th, 2020. From this day and during the semi-confinement period, vehicle parking control was suspended in Geneva. Progressive de-confinement started in April and lockdown officially ended on May 11th.
We looked at the following parking indicators:
- Turnover rate: The average number of vehicles using the same parking space over a specific period.
- Occupancy rate: Ratio between the number of parked vehicles and parking capacity.
- Average parking time: Average time each vehicle spends in a paid parking space.
Parking Behavior in Residential Areas
Before the semi-confinement, the parking usage in residential areas showed an average occupancy level of 82% with peaks during office hours and an average car turnover rate of 7.2 per day. Parking spots became available early in the morning when residents left their homes to go to work. Occupancy increased in the evening when they returned home.
Average occupancy Rue des Pâquis before the confinement period. (between January 5th, 2020 and February 5th, 2020) - click to enlarge
In the same area during the semi-confinement, we noticed an increase of the occupancy level from 84% to a near-constant level of 93.4% and a decrease in car turnover rates from 7.2 to 3.2 cars per day. This data reveals that fewer residents were leaving their homes to go to work i.e. home office (grey colored). The graph also shows no evening parking fluctuation with bars and restaurants being closed.
Average occupancy Rue des Pâquis during the confinement period. (between April 1st and April 30th, 2020)- click to enlarge
Parking Behavior in Office and Cultural Areas
Before the confinement period, we observed an average occupancy level of 39.3% with peaks during office and evening hours and an average car turnover rate of 5.7 cars per parking space per day. High occupancy rates decrease at the end of working days and quickly increase again with people going to restaurants, bars, and cultural places.
Average occupancy Bd. Du théâtre between January 5th and February 5th, 2020- click to enlarge
In the same area during the semi-confinement, we see a substantial drop in occupancy levels from 49.3% to 26.6% while car turnover rates decreased from 5.7 to 1.7 per parking space per day. This data reveals that only office workers had been using on-street parking spaces during work hours with near zero parking activity in the evening hours.
Average occupancy Bd. Du théâtre between April 1st and April 30th, 2020- click to enlarge
Evolution of Car Turnover Rates
The graphics below show the evolution of the car turnover rates per parking bay per day in three different areas before and during the semi-confinement.
As seen above, Bd Carl Vogt (red graph) and Rue des Pâquis (blue graph) are mainly residential areas with a few bars and restaurants around. On the other hand, Bd du Théâtre (purple graph) is an area with offices, bars, restaurants, and cultural places.
Car turnover rates drop sharply with the introduction of semi-confinement by mid-May. On-street parking activities have been on low levels during the confinement period before slowly recovering as of the end of April.
Evolution of car turnover rates per day before and during the semi-confinement period- click to enlarge
Evolution of revenue per day in Geneva
Parking enforcement was officially paused from March 18 to May 27, 2020. This last diagram shows the cumulative revenue per day during this period in the city of Geneva. The end of the lockdown period is also clearly visible.
As available parking spaces in city centers become more and more regulated in an effort to curb pollution levels and reduce congestion, the analysis of parking behavior is a critical step towards making educated decisions.
The investment into a modern IoT and Smart City infrastructure lays the foundation for a data-driven decision-making process rather than relying on vague guesstimates.
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated semi-confinement had a significant and measurable impact on people’s parking behavior and mobility patterns in general.
Real-time monitoring of parking bays through PrestoSense vehicle detection sensors combined with revenue statistics from parking meters allow policymakers and enforcement teams to precisely analyze on-street parking behavior.
With an installed base of over 30,000 parking meters across Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, IEM is one of the world's leading manufacturers of smart parking solutions.
Based in Geneva/Switzerland, the company develops, designs and sells state-of-the-art parking solutions ranging from parking meters, vehicle detection sensors, payment apps to management software and digital parking services.
IEM's fully integrated portfolio of on-/and off-street parking solutions help parking operators as well as municipalities to address the most demanding mobility challenges of today's Smart Cities.