Von Florian Hoenigschmid, azeti Networks AG
Densely populated places around the world experience the same problem: their local transport infrastructure cannot accommodate the growing number of motor vehicles on the road, which inevitably leads to gridlock. Therefore London, as the first major city, levied in 2003 a congestion charge in order to reduce those traffic jams while also helping to decrease CO2 emissions.
This city toll is only a reaction to the current situation, but it does not address the basic problems. Car owners have only incomplete information about the current amount of vehicles in a certain area and the corresponding number of available parking spaces. This will be followed by an insufficient coordination among them, which prolongs the period of searching for a free parking space and also increases fuel consumption as well as CO2 emissions. Both of these problems are avoidable by deploying the MyParkSpace solution from azeti Networks shown at the Vodafone booth at CeBIT and also at Vodafone Innovation Days in Düsseldorf. With the on-street installation of magnetic field sensors, azeti Networks is adding intelligence to the road. The sensors detect changes in the earths magnetic field indicating if a vehicle occupies the parking space. This will be verified by a second infrared measurement working as a failsafe. If, for instance, snow or other objects than cars are covering the sensors, they will not detect anything, since there is no change in the earths magnetic field. Furthermore, the sensors are flush-mounted on the road, ensuring that they remain at the place where they have been installed. For the rollout process, no special tools are needed. The mounting can be done by using the same equipment as the road maintenance depot requires.
Once on-street installation has been completed, the sensors start to communicate with the network and send information about the current status of the parking bay. In detail, data on occupancy, location and duration are provided. This will be forwarded to an application, which allows mobile users to check if a parking space is available nearby or even to determine the duration of parking their car and costs that will be charged. This solution will not only help to cut the time of finding a parking space, but will also help to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of every car owner. Additionally, people can decide upon the information provided, if they want to take their car or switch to public transportation. My Park Space can also facilitate the billing of the parking period by charging car owners only for the time that they used the parking space. Furthermore, information, such as special events, where those parking spaces are unavailable or the application of different fee models based on duration as well as time of day and day of week are possible. Besides looking for free parking bays, the time-consuming search for ticket-machines can be shortened. With the MyParkSpace solution, azeti Networks is paving the way for a smart parking guidance system in cities and contributes to the sustainable development of local transport infrastructure by improving the carbon footprint and by saving costs for car owners.