Parking Guidance for Murten - A Technological Tale of Medieval Charm and Modern Convenience


A city-wide parking guidance system eliminates the parking shortage by optimizing the utilization of existing capacities, making the city more liveable and combining heritage protection with today's needs

Parking is a big issue in Murten. The old town and the lake draw lots of visitors and day tourists. And everyone wants to park.

In reality, there are enough parking spaces, but they are not always where [as a driver] you would like them to be. Everyone would like to drive to the doorstep, but we can't do that.

Stefan Portmann, Head of the Department of Planning and Construction in Murten

Murten, a picturesque medieval town in western Switzerland on Lake Murten, perfectly blends history, character and modernity. Cobblestone streets, half-timbered houses, and rampart walls transport visitors back in time. At the same time, the town has taken an innovative approach to the parking problems of a historic town with limited parking space.

A demand-driven parking guidance system with digital signage of SWARCO shows drivers the way to the nearest available parking spot thanks to Parquery’s Artificial Intelligence (AI), preventing search traffic and frustration and ensuring a relaxed and pleasant experience for visitors and residents alike. The system is powered by Parquery’s AI that continuously monitors parking occupancy across the town using cameras as sensors. 

The smart parking system not only streamlines the parking experience but also contributes to a more livable and sustainable urban environment. By reducing unnecessary circling and emissions as well as wild parking, the system alleviates traffic congestion, especially in the town's charming center. 


The Need 


Eliminate the inner-city parking shortage by optimizing the use of existing capacities

  • Better occupancy, i.e. optimally using the parking capacity instead of building more
  • Economical and viable solution for an old town
  • Reduction of search and drive-through traffic
  • Prevent illegal parking in side streets
  • Provide real-time driver guidance and information during events, 
  • And thus, improve safety and quality of life for everyone, preserve the town’s appeal as an attractive place to work, shop and live

Motorists need a parking guidance system (PGS) to find distributed parking options throughout Murten.

The attractive old town of Murten, surrounded by city walls, allows only limited space for parking. An effective parking guidance system directs drivers to parking spaces close to the town center, thus optimizing capacity utilization and meeting demand with existing parking areas.

The underlying issue: The unbalanced parking usage 

On most days, Murten recorded a high daily parking occupancy (80 - 95%) in the city center, particularly in the old town and its immediate surroundings, while areas further away had free capacity. 

As in most towns, drivers first push towards the center to try to get a parking space as close to their destination as possible, before looking further afield. This causes issues in and near the town center, particularly

  • unnecessary search and through traffic and associated emissions, and 
  • wild parking, i.e. leaving their car in undesignated areas, on sidewalks, or in a way that violates parking regulations, often obstructing other traffic. 

In the past, the town deployed traffic wardens to manually redirect drivers during events and peak times. However, the effect was inevitably only very localized. Effective town-wide guidance was needed, with incoming traffic already being directed from the town entrances onwards.


Kranjska Gora, the Ski world cup town in Slovenia, struggled with the same problem until they solved it with Parquery. 

 Show me how


Classic solutions are impractical and expensive 

You can't just build barriers around the old town [...] - a town is not a parking garage.

Stefan Portmann, Head of the Department of Planning and Construction in Murten

A classic parking guidance system, such as separate parking spaces with barriers, ticket machines or ground sensors was considered not cost-effective and impractical to implement in a town. A parking garage had been rejected on the grounds of unreasonable expense. 

The installation of barriers or sensors in all public parking spaces was rejected due to the high costs and difficulty of implementation (old town).

Press Release Murten, 10th October 2023

A [new] parking garage next to the old town was not viable in terms of cost-benefit ratio.

Stefan Portmann, Head of the Department of Planning and Construction in Murten

The Solution 


Effectively guide motorists to optimize utilization of existing parking spaces for a better quality of life in Murten

  • Economical and viable solution for an old town
  • Cameras and AI as an unobtrusive means of recording parking occupancy without building interventions 
  • Privacy and data protection guaranteed by physical, technical and organizational measures
  • SWARCO's digital parking displays for traffic routing using real-time usage levels
  • Straightforward parking management with remote access from the dashboards of Parquery and SWARCO


Monitor a variety parking configurations and keep an eye on violations

42 cameras keep an eye on 650 parking spots in 10 diverse areas across the city, including on-street parallel and diagonal parking, off-street lots with various layouts, and unmarked no-parking zones. Parquery's adaptive learning solution perfectly aligns with this diversity.

How the AI works

High-mounted cameras monitor the occupancy of parking spaces. The high mounting point is one of the measures to protect privacy and facilitates the most reliable occupancy detection


Direct drivers effectively with digital guidance panels

First and foremost, this parking information is seamlessly delivered to eight dynamic LED displays, located on the major traffic arteries of the town. They aim to assist drivers in finding parking spaces before they reach the center. Each panel displays the number of vacant parking spots for nearby parking areas and across town. Existing traditional signage supplements the digital boards at smaller junctions. 

In addition to the display of parking spaces, a multi-line variable text display provides guidance during events, road closures, occurrences, detours, or shuttle buses, making them very effective and targeted.

Electronic displays show the available spaces and information in a free text field.

Murten decided on SWARCO’s parking guidance system with high-end digital panels with LED numbers and a multi-line variable text display.

SWARCO Schweiz AGis a Swiss company that specializes in the design, development, and supply of traffic management solutions. They offer a wide range of products and services, including traffic signals and control systems, road markings and signage, parking guidance and traffic information systems. 

Orchestrate the parking situation with ease

Two digital tools allow Stefan Portmann, the town’s responsible for parking, to manage the entire parking guidance system - cameras, displays, and data:

  • SWARCO's dashboard for managing the parking guidance system and displays
  • Parquery’s dashboard for the cameras and data. 

SWARCO's dashboard makes it easy to manage the guidance system and displays and shows the live occupancy data feed from Parquery's system to the displays. (Image courtesy of SWARCO and city of Murten)


Parking management made easy: All parking data is collected in Parquery's digital, browser-based dashboard, which provides access to live data, statistics, parking duration and no-parking zone monitoring and pricing tools

What distinguishes this solution? An affordable digital solution with little infrastructure

The city's vision for the parking guidance system was clear: it should

  • optimize the use of existing parking capacities,
  • relieve the city center of traffic and
  • and have a positive cost-benefit ratio.

At the same time, the system had to strike the balance between the past and the future, that is to protect its cultural heritage while meeting today's needs.

Instead of building more, the aim was to make better use of the available capacity.

Stefan Portmann, Head of the Department of Planning and Construction in Murten

SWARCO’s electronic  display boards at the town entrances and intersections show the currently available spaces and provide additional information in a free text field. The respective parking zones are color-coded to help with orientation

The requirements for the new traffic guidance system were clearly defined and could be optimally implemented with Parquery and SWARCO:

Economical: To cover the increasing demand for parking spaces in the city, the system should utilize existing capacities and at the same time meet the budgetary constraints.

Compliance with data privacy and protection: Prioritizing citizen privacy, the system must adhere to national and cantonal data protection regulations.

Versatile and scalable: to accommodate very different parking configurations and future expansions.

Practical to implement: no physical barriers, obstructions, or roadworks and an unobtrusive appearance to blend in with the historic surroundings.

[...] for cost reasons, the municipal council decided to install cameras with software to determine the occupancy of parking spaces every two minutes.
From the experience of other Swiss cantons and cities, the municipality of Murten concluded that the camera solution was practical to implement and secure, as no data is stored. 

Press Release Murten, 10th October 2023


Parquery’s accurate camera-based parking monitoring and the processing and guidance system management of SWARCO made a town-wide guidance system viable and economical, and the unbalanced parking use can effectively be addressed.

How it works

Quality of life and parking convenience in perfect balance: the city's effective parking guidance system increases safety and makes the city a more attractive place to work, shop and live. It not only provides convenience when looking for a parking space, but also helps to maintain the attractiveness and charm of the city.

The Impacts

Liveable city with an economical and effective parking guidance system (PLS)

  • Successful balancing the parking demand and better utilization of the designated areas
  • Efficient guidance for drivers; they find parking without assistance
  • Reduced search traffic, chaos and traffic jams in the center
  • Less illegal parking on side roads
  • Enhanced manual guidance by traffic wardens during peak events.
  • Improved safety and a more enjoyable town environment


The first event after installing the townwide guidance system was the lively Christmas Market in December 2023. To keep traffic flowing smoothly, the traffic department employees had access to the parking guidance system on their mobile phones. Positioned at key junctions, they directed drivers and ensured a hassle-free parking experience for happy visitors. 

The parking guidance system was extremely useful, always guiding drivers at the right moment to where there was sufficient free space.

Stefan Portmann, Head of the Department of Planning and Construction in Murten

Murten has become a model for other towns seeking to balance heritage preservation with modern needs and costs. 

The Christmas market and events in Murten are a complete success - also thanks to relaxed parking. Photo © Carm Jost, Lake Murten region


The crux: Data protection and privacy with camera-based solutions

During project implementation, Murten was confronted with the challenge of contradictory legislation. While a new mobility law makes a parking guidance system mandatory, previous regulations on video surveillance restricted the use of cameras to crime prevention. There was no provision for traffic monitoring by camera.

This left Murten in a dilemma, as the only economically and practically viable solution was Parquery’s camera solution. 

To resolve this challenge, Murten and Parquery proved that their system works with anonymous data only. It solely uses vehicle presence and does not allow the identification of people or license plates. High-mounted cameras, low image resolution, and privacy masks (blurring of parts of the image) prevent identifiable details from being recorded. Images are discarded immediately after processing. Only impersonal, anonymous numerical data on parking space occupancy is recorded and stored, and sent to SWARCO for processing and display.

After a live presentation of the software [...] the ÖDSMB [Cantonal Data Protection Officer] was convinced by the system.

Press Release Murten, 10th October 2023

They [the data protection officer] understood that you can't recognize the people in the pictures - you can't say it's Stefan or Fritz.

Stefan Portmann, Head of the Department of Planning and Construction in Murten

Murten initiated an update to conflicting legislation, paving the path for other towns to implement affordable and secure parking guidance.  

[...] ensure the future management of public parking with simple means [...] using (non-recording) cameras

Press Release Murten, 10th October 2023



Cameras in public spaces


need a legitimate reason - whether for parking, traffic monitoring or security - and strict privacy protection.

Parquery implements data and privacy protection through a combination of technical and organizational measures that ensure that no personal data is collected, stored, nor used. 

These measures include

  • Cameras mounted high up to prevent the identification of faces or license plates (bird’s-eye view).
  • Low resolution images to further reduce the chance for identifiable details.
  • Privacy masks to hide areas irrelevant to parking status.
  • Still snapshots every one or two minutes  instead of continuous video.
  • Deleting images immediately after processing. Only non-personal numerical data is stored, which only indicates whether or not a parking space is occupied and how long for. 

Parquery ensures privacy protection and compliance with European and national data protection and privacy laws.    Find out how

Get in touch

Would you like to use, resell our solution in your market or integrate it into your traffic or smart city platform? Call or email us and let's discuss the details. We work directly with end customers and via resellers.

Parquery is based in Zurich, Switzerland

Our main office is located in Geerenweg 2, CH-8048 Zurich, Switzerland

   parking [at]
   +41 44 501 39 19 (8:30am - 5:30pm CET)

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