iRam is a product development and technology company with most advanced solutions based on Internet of Things (IoT)

Indian economy has been on a growth path leading to rapid urbanization and growing affluence of its populace. Standard of living of an urban India is much higher now than what it used to be a decade ago with every family owning multiple private vehicles. While the number of cars on the road have gone up considerably, the city roads and the available parking space have remained the same. According to a study done by Frost & Sullivan in 2015, a commuter in Delhi spends over 80 hours, driving more than 150 miles more every year, looking for parking spaces. Situation across Indian cities has only worsened since then, posing a huge challenge to the city municipal corporations.

Owing to lack of proper parking spaces, people have started parking their vehicles haphazardly on road leading to congested streets and traffic jams. Amongst various problems that Indian cities are faced with, growing number of cars and limited parking spaces is probably the paramount. To address the various challenges of urban living, the government has unveiled Smart Cities Mission that aims to drive growth and improve quality of life, enabling local authorities and municipal corporations to provide better amenities by harnessing technology to create smart outcomes for citizens.

A smart city is considered smart due to its inherent intelligence in dealing with its resources and environment, by harnessing the potential of ever evolving ICT technologies like IoT and AI. Smart cities have been adopting smart parking that allows more efficient use of parking spaces, using IoT enabled smart parking solutions to regularize parking and ease traffic congestion. Smart parking, by definition, is using IoT to check availability of parking spaces and pre-book the same using a mobile app. The smart parking system involves extracting field data from parking base through sensors to efficiently manage on-street, off-street and covered parking spaces real-time.  By using the data on parking availability, a real time parking map is created.

A real time parking map can be used in many ways, including:

  • Helping drivers find parking easily and quickly through an app and pre-book online
  • Relaying information to parking officials to identify violations
  • Prompting people to use alternate transportation options in the case of parking congestion

This people focused solution aids municipal corporation and local authorities in regularizing and organizing parking and adds to their revenues by preventing pilferage.

The technology behind Smart Parking

Smart Parking Solution uses IoT to equip existing parking spaces with sensors that can help notify users on the availability of a parking spot. All the parking lots of the city can be further connected with the city navigation system which can help drivers find the nearest parking location making parking convenient and hassle free.

Smart parking works for On-Street, Off Street and covered parking spaces. It provides prepaid or post-paid payment options and allows variable and demand-based parking fees. It also supports multiple payment methods – cash or cashless, parking permits (reserved parking slots), payment through credit card, debit card, e-wallets, pre-paid city cards.

The sensors can be embedded in the ground or cameras can be installed to give real time parking occupancy data. For covered parking spaces red or green spotlight indicators can guide users to available parking spots. This helps drivers looking for parking find an open spot more conveniently and quickly.

Once the technology has determined the available spaces, the data is transferred to a cloud/premise based smart parking platform. This data with other parking availability data creates a real time map. This smart parking system not only optimizes usage of the available parking space but also enhances the overall functioning of streets in the city. The system employs IT as the backbone to facilitate greater transparency and efficiency in the collection of parking fees and making parking operations in the cities more organized and increasing the revenue potential for the municipalities.

Since the Smart Parking is totally transparent, between Municipalities, Parking contractors and citizens, there is a possibility for many organisations coming forward to work on PPP models. This might be resisted by existing conventional parking operators.

Suitable parking policy is a pre-requisite for an effective implementation of initiatives like Smart Parking under Smart City Mission. Today, both the government and developers are focusing on making best use of smart parking technologies. Some Indian smart cities like Kanpur, Nashik, New Delhi, Rajkot and Bhubaneshwar have already started implementing the smart parking system. Smart Parking is the future and many more cities are likely to adopt smart parking solutions in the years to come.

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