The Mobility Revolution Won’t be Possible Without Accurate, Real-Time Data


The Mobility Revolution Won’t be Possible Without Accurate, Real-Time Data

From autonomous vehicles to ride sharing, mobility has drastically changed. However, the true mobility revolution – one that addresses issues of traffic congestion, safety and sustainability – won’t be possible without addressing parking limitations and problems. Smart parking is critical to help transform mobility in cities and campuses for the benefit of all. 


Smart parking solutions enable easier driving ecosystems, reduce traffic congestion, improve safety and support a city’s sustainability goals. Importantly, none of these improvements are possible without accurate data on parking resources.


Precise occupancy data enables better parking policies and improved mobility 

Parking resources can vary and include garages and surface lots as well as on-street stalls. Accurate parking occupancy data is critical for the development of an effective parking policy, and while there are many approaches to gathering occupancy data for garages, this is not the case for on-street stalls or surface lots. Sample field data, or “transactional” data, provides only a limited picture of how parking resources are being used, especially for on-street spaces, which results in underutilized spaces and inefficient operations. Smart parking technologies are a great resource in collecting relevant insights such as space use, parking availability, demand over time, duration and turnover. However, this data goldmine can only be helpful if it is reliable, detailed and accurate.

The most critical set of data is 24/7 stall level occupancy for accurate true occupancy data. Once you have this solid data set, it can be leveraged to identify long-term, trend-tracking profile sets including turnover, demand overtime, duration, peak use and pinch point indicators, all of which are critical insights for informed policy decision making.
Precise, accurate data takes the guesswork out of knowing how parking assets are being used and enables organizations to deliver better policy programs which improve mobility. Educated decisions about city planning and infrastructure ultimately enhance the driving experience for citizens/visitors and optimize the city’s operations.


How cities and institutions can leverage parking data to improve mobility

There are many critical ways parking managers can leverage data to optimize their parking systems, reduce congestion, and promote more sustainable mobility options.

Demand-based pricing and curbside management

With accurate data, cities and institutions can test out the potential outcomes of different pricing and curbside management ideas before implementing them publicly. These use cases can influence parking behavior,​​ helping achieve desired parking and stall availability targets which is critical for reducing traffic.

Based on the accurate occupancy data collected, cities can set parking prices based on the time of day, location, and demand to encourage more balanced use of parking spaces and discourage unnecessary driving or circling. The data can also be leveraged for dynamic curbside initiatives such as designating a space as short-term parking spot during part of the day or transitioning to a loading zone at another time.


Public communication and engagement

A key aspect of improved mobility is seeking input from and informing the public in order to influence their actions. Real-time parking occupancy data can be shared with the public via wayfinding apps/websites empowering drivers to make more informed decisions about their travel routes and parking options. Additionally, cities can leverage digital signage to guide drivers in busy areas. Sharing relevant parking insights with the public leads to a more collaborative effort in reducing congestion and improving mobility.


Efficient parking management and enforcement

Once cities and institutions have a better idea on how parking assets are being utilized, they can take measures to optimize the use of existing spaces. By analyzing data sets, they can identify underused parking areas and implement initiatives to steer drivers to these spots. Furthermore, they can allocate resources more efficiently and effectively to address issues such as payment compliance or traffic management during major events.


Supporting asset and infrastructure planning efforts

As cities grow and evolve, there is increased pressure on parking demands and needs. By understanding parking demand in different areas, cities can optimize land use, designate appropriate parking zones, and allocate space for alternative transportation modes like cycling lanes and pedestrian walkways. Historical parking data can guide the development of new parking facilities or the repurposing of existing ones. Furthermore, city planners can use parking data to inform urban design decisions.


Once cities and institutions
have a better idea on how parking assets are being utilized, they can take measures to optimize the
use of existing spaces. 


The Mobility Transformation in the Town of Oakville

The Town of Oakville is a suburb of the City of Toronto and one of the most densely populated areas of Canada with more than 225,000 residents. In addition to being Ontario’s largest town, it also draws an average influx of 1.4 million visitors annually. Residents and visitors consistently converge to experience its downtown entertainment district creating a mobility quagmire for everyone.

The city decided to collaborate with eleven-x to implement our eXactparksmart parking solution to gain a better understanding of actual parking utilization in the busy downtown core and decongest their busiest street, Lakeshore Road. We installed 1,200 wireless SPS-Xsensors in 32 lots and additional on-street spaces throughout the paid parking areas. Once enough data had been collected, the city was able to quantifiably determine which streets were busiest and which often had available parking. With these insights, we worked with the town to develop a parking guidance system that would drive congestion caused by drivers cruising for parking away from busy streets and toward streets with less congestion – and more available parking.

This system was enhanced by the installation of digital signs which clearly showed drivers where parking spaces could be found (on streets like Randall Street, Church Street, Lakeshore Road, Robinson Street, and Water Street) – and which areas to avoid. This information was also made available on the town’s website and payment app (which also used data from our solution to highlight EV and accessible parking spots) making it easy for drivers to plan their routes and parking destinations ahead of time.

With accurate data insights, the town was able to execute informed initiatives for more balanced parking usage, transforming mobility around the downtown corridor. The town successfully accomplished its goal of reducing traffic congestion from busy Lakeshore Road to adjacent parking lots and streets. Notable results include:

  1.  Increased occupancy rates in previously underutilized spaces from 15 percent to 65 percent – Peak occupancy on Randall Street increased by over 20 percent
  2. Dramatically reduced traffic on Lakeshore Road and more available parking spots in this area – Peak occupancy on Lakeshore Road decreased by more than 10 percent


Now there are an average of 11 more parking spots available on this street compared to before smart parking system was installed.


Ultimately, the data supplied by eXactpark will enable the Town of Oakville to take an informed approach on strategic planning, from implementing parking management policies like dynamic pricing to urban planning decisions such as curbside management and EV charging deployment, further enhancing mobility in the region.


Dan Mathers, President and CEO – eleven-x, can be reached at

Article contributed by:
Dan Mathers, eleven-x
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