Innovative Sensors Offer Consistent Data Collection
Even before COVID-19, there were key areas of focus for managing municipal parking assets: ensuring adequate future parking supply vs. projected demand, monitoring turnover and usage of on-street and surface lot parking assets, having access to parking stall occupancy data, and managing congestion in the downtown core are all key inputs to an effective parking management program.
Many cities that traditionally offered free parking programs are now moving to paid programs.
City parking organizations now find themselves re-grouping in an effort to move to their “new normal,” making stall occupancy data more important than ever. Many cities that traditionally offered free parking programs are now moving to paid programs to generate additional revenues in light of declining revenues. Some try to utilize payment data to estimate stall occupancy and availability, but as most are aware, payment data provides a rough estimate only, since many people prefer to take the risk that they will be ticketed rather than pay for parking.
Additionally, traffic and driver patterns have dramatically changed and parking organizations need answers to what their new normal is based on the impact of fewer people returning to offices, and dramatically decreased use of public transportation combined with an increase in individual drivers/cars.
As municipalities look to cost-effectively manage their on-street and surface lots by ensuring compliance to parking regulations, they need something better than the current approach of periodic parking studies and bylaw officers making the rounds to find those who are infringing in the sea of drivers who are compliant.
Innovative new sensor solutions enable real-time status, as well as the collection of stall usage data continuously, with minimal maintenance and in a cost-efficient manner. Utilizing new low-power technology such as LoRaWAN®, wireless sensors are now able to support up to 10 years of battery life (not two or three like previous devices) and offer enhanced reliability at a price point that cities of any size (from metropolitan cities like Los Angeles, to resort towns like Stratford, Canada) can take advantage of to maximize their parking assets and infrastructure.
Parking assets are a large and important component of a city’s budget and resource focus. New sensor-based technologies that enable accurate and long-lasting stall occupancy monitoring help cities to move forward in understanding their new normal. Having cost-effective access to accurate, consistent data via sensor-based stall occupancy monitoring ensures optimized parking asset usage and compliance, reduced traffic congestion (and air pollution), and maximized revenues, all while keeping budgets and operations manageable and improving public safety.
Mark Hall is with Eleven-x. He can be reached at Mark.firstname.lastname@example.org