Real estate is a valuable resource, especially in dense areas like cities and busy places like airports and shopping centers. Facility managers need oversight of their assets. They need to know how many people are using their real estate, especially when the manager is physically distant from the parking area (for example a shopping center chain facility manager). They want to know:
The average central business district of an American city includes an inventory of over 4,000 on- and off-street parking spaces. The target area for integration of vehicle detection sensors encompasses a downtown district of approximately 400 spaces in the region’s most active areas. Cities experience consistent growth on average, in turn generating a progressively higher number of parking spaces.
One of a city’s primary goals is to provide the infrastructure needed for continued growth and development. Parking is an essential component of a region’s successful development, providing the infrastructure necessary to accommodate visitors and residents patronizing local businesses. Parking is the first and last experience people have when visiting a destination and may impact the likelihood they return. Communities throughout the US have identified curb management strategies as essential to supporting the successful growth and operation of their communities, particularly when it comes to parking and transportation activities.
Some cities do not currently enforce parking time limits or charge for parking. Obtaining data through the integration of effective curb management strategies provides the information needed: to make necessary changes or updates to current parking enforcement practices; to continue to support community growth; and to effectively serve residents, visitors and local businesses.
Existing infrastructure determines the best approach to figuring out how many drivers use a given parking area:
If there is no infrastructure, the only way to measure drivers is to manually count the number of cars coming in every day. This can be done by hand on a simple notepad, by proxy (for example counting the number of parking tickets sold), or by tracking parking revenues (assuming there are no violations)… But no matter which approach you use, it will require human presence in the parking area.
If you have heavy hardware infrastructure installed, for example barriers, there are usually counters installed as well. Whenever a vehicle enters or exits the parking area, a counter increases (or decreases) your total visitor count. Unfortunately counters are known to make mistakes, especially over multiple days and extended time periods.
If you have lighter hardware infrastructure installed, facility managers usually rely on infrared or mechanical pressure counters. Unfortunately these ground-based systems average at least one mistake every 100 vehicles, and require at the very least a manual recount and reset at the end of each day.
For the past fifteen years most facility managers have relied on infrared curtains or magnetic ground sensors. Both are connected to a central software (IoT) and can display individual or aggregated parking occupancy data on a dashboard or on a map. This is a widespread technology, but one that has a number of drawbacks, including: initial price (CapEx); operational costs (ground-drilling to replace batteries at least once every five years on average); weak accuracy in adverse weather (snow, heavy rain, sandstorms, etc.).
Over the past five years new technologies have come to market that provide facility managers with reliable data. These include:
When people are interested in a robust solution that provides accurate, reliable results, camera-based solutions are simply the best option, letting parking facility managers know how many people are using their parking areas in real-time.
Some smart parking solution providers offer additional features. For example, facility managers can receive automatic alerts:
This information has multiple uses. For example: