One of the biggest problems presented in modern cities is the increasing number of vehicles circulating on the roads, causing intense congestion.
Immediate and visible impact of this increase is the inability of drivers to easily find parking spaces, as there is no infrastructure upgrade. It has been estimated that 30% of traffic congestion is caused by drivers who are looking for a parking place, and until they find one, probably would have traveled up to 4.5 km further.
The negative consequences of this situation are manifold and multifaceted: millions of man hours lost, huge amounts of spent fuel and thousands tonnes of emissions of gases released which further aggravate the problem of environmental degradation. And all this without taking into account the substantial costs borne by drivers and translated in terms of mental fatigue, anxiety and stress.
Innovative solutions now find immediate application in the concept of smart cities. Using wireless sensors that are placed in confined parking spaces and providing parking management software, enables individuals to have real-time information about available parking spaces in the area of interest. The sensors are attached either to the road surface, or “planted” on it for better protection. They consume little energy using batteries and they have a lifespan of more than five years. They can be easily and inexpensively maintained or replaced. The sensors generate a magnetic field through the variation of which is made by detecting the presence of vehicle. A signal to the nearest server (gateway) is sent wirelessly indicating their status (available or engaged position). These signals are collected from multiple gateways and they are processed.
The end user via a mobile or tablet can see in real time, in the area that interests him, the number of available parking spaces. By using geostationary data it is displayed on a map the location of the vehicle, while he can focus on a specific point on the map or enter an address where all the available parking spaces are shown.
Through specialized software the parking authority can track and monitor the status of the sensors (battery level, signal strength, temperature) and general infrastructure (state transmitters and routers, scheduled maintenance).
The benefits of the use of that solution is social (improvement of traffic flow and reducing congestion, improving mobility and increasing safety conditions) environmental (reduced carbon emissions and reducing fuel consumption), economically (saving man-hours and time) but above all anthropocentric (more time available for creative engagement, reducing stress and so on). Similar solutions have been implemented with great success in cities that are pilots and pillars of the concept of Smart Cities like Barcelona, Moscow, Berlin, London and Toronto.