Traffic congestion is an increasing problem in both metropoles and smaller cities. Colombia, Brazil and a few European countries have some of the worst traffic congestion, given the growing number of citizens and cars. But this phenomenon is not only the cause of a supply and demand imbalance.
In most cases, congestion appears due to accidents, traffic overload, construction and the lack of parking lots. At the same time, pedestrians crossing the road illegally might contribute to accidents and, therefore, traffic issues. Finally, poor-quality streets and extreme weather conditions blend in, damaging vehicles and hindering driving.
There are numerous solutions to solve the problem of traffic congestion, but they would need to be adopted in accordance with the city’s lifestyles. For example, encouraging people to use alternative routes is a good idea. Still, not all towns provide infrastructure for citizens to use less crowded trails, travel by bike or public transport. At the same time, constructing more parks and routes would only lead to an increase in drivers.
Luckily, technology is here to help us, so here are some innovative devices and strategies to enhance parking and driving.
Understanding the need for technology in smart cities
Smart cities are based on multiple forms of technology, from IoT devices, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality. Collecting and analysing data from citizens and real-time infrastructure ensure a better approach and coverage of what can be improved in a city. At the same time, these technologies allow for simulations of different scenarios, helping build efficient roads, buildings and facilities that would not hinder traffic and pedestrian flow.
Therefore, countries must also prioritise parking and improve it through investing in digital infrastructure and ICT integration. Some digital solutions have already been implemented and leveraged impressive results.
AI-based parking robots
AI is a pretty controversial subject, but besides its media coverage, the solution can do so much for the modern world. For example, automated valet parking robots were created to take control of cars and park them more efficiently in regular parking lots. This system is already used in airport parking since 2018, and it was first encountered at the Lyon- Saint Exupéry Airport.
The process is quite simple. You book a parking space where you want your car, and then, upon arriving at the destination, you drop off your vehicle in a special cabin, from where the robot picks it up and efficiently parks it.
Parking can be stressful as you must ensure payment is done and you’re not leaving your car in the parking lot for too long. But with the pay-by-plate technology, your vehicle will be safely and legally parked. This technology is based on the idea that you introduce your licence plate number into the parking lot kiosk and then pay with credit or cash.
You can reserve the space for as much as you need to renew it through an app. At the same time, if you need to move to another place, the payment is still available when officials will only scan the plate. This strategy would help busy areas like Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. So, next time you want to book a Perth Airport Parking lot, paying by plate will make leaving your car in a safe space less stressful.
3D-based parking signalling
3D parking has been introduced in cars for a while, and it’s a lifesaver. Not only it gives drivers the perfect visual accessibility for parking, but it’s also got auditive sensors and options that can help anyone park. Bosch developed this solution, leveraging integrated sensors to signal course adjustments and obstacles.
This parking solution has either a 3D model of the vehicle’s environment that allows the driver to see around the car or makes a high-pitched sound that increases as the vehicle gets closer to an object. Both features are included in some cases, helping people make the perfect parking and avoiding hindering traffic or injuring pedestrians.
Car stacking systems
In a world where land is not enough anymore to withstand an increasing number of people, vertical solutions are the answer to traffic congestion. In some regions, such as West Hollywood, car parking lifts are used to stack up cars one over another to make the most out of the available space. This means more vehicles can occupy the same area, with two or even three cars on the stacking system.
This idea is perfect for both commercial and residential purposes, and it’s the ideal approach for areas with limited space and many cars. Depending on the model of this technology, the parking lifts can take up to 4,082 Kg, so even cars like light-duty trucks and SUVs can be sustained by this system.
Benefits of smart parking solutions
Smart parking enhances traffic flow in urban settings but has plenty of other advantages. For example, it improves management for special parking sports, such as emergency vehicles and parking spaces for people with disabilities. This decreases the traffic volume and the time spent looking for a parking lot.
One crucial factor of technology-based parking is revenue. By using devices and innovations that help people park better, pricing strategies become more dynamic, leading to a significant increase in parking revenues that will be used for further improvements.
Finally, better parking strategies and technologies will decrease gas emissions as you spend less time with the engine heating up, which eventually translates to less noise pollution, a severe problem in enormous cities. Vehicular noise pollution is dangerous for all citizens and has already reached considerable levels that contribute to headaches, dizziness and nausea, causing accidents.
Smart parking leverages technology and unique devices to help avoid accidents, decongest the city and increase efficiency. This strategy is necessary for cities to withstand the increasing number of cars, for which building more roads isn’t the solution anymore. But with parking sensors, 3D models and staking systems, vehicles will be parked better, and traffic jams will be less stressful for drivers.