Parking is a major cause of traffic congestion and urban air pollution. How can technology help?
It’s a problem that practically every city dweller is familiar with: reaching a destination, only to find there’s nowhere to park.
A recent research project compiled by University of California-Los Angeles professor Donald Shoup found that it can take the average driver up to 14 minutes to find a parking spot. As much as 74 percent of parking congestion in major urban centers results from drivers looking for parking.
Clearly, parking is a major contributor to urban traffic and pollution problems. In searching for solutions, individual drivers and municipalities, businesses, and universities can take advantage of new technological tools to make parking easier, faster and more efficient.
A Great Start – Smarter Parking
San Francisco – The SFPark system is one of the most successful examples of dynamic, technology-based solutions to parking challenges. Interfacing directly with the city’s parking infrastructure, SFPark tracks availability in real time, alerting users to parking garages that have the greatest number of available spaces. Drivers can head straight to where the parking is, rather than wasting time and fuel searching for a spot.
Boston – In Boston’s south end, similar technology is in use. A new app, called the Parker, displays parking availability information in real time, and also delivers turn-by-turn directions to drivers.
Minnesota – A recent collaboration between the University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies and MnDOT uses cameras to automatically detect parking available at truck stops. Real-time data is made available through the web, electronic road signs, and even in-cab messaging.
Sydney – The city of Sydney has developed its own unique take, designed for commuters who drive into the city for work. There, drivers can use an app developed by parking company Divvy to find vacant spaces available for rent in buildings. Commuters can save hundreds of dollars a month by renting a spot instead of paying for street parking, all while eliminating congestion.
Even Better – Reduce the Need
Making the most efficient use of available parking is an important step, but an even more effective route is reducing the need for parking by making it easier for people to carpool, bike, walk, or take public transit .
Transportation demand management software, like RideAmigos, can both integrate with parking infrastructure and help eliminate the need for parking altogether. Through powerful trip planning tools and highly customizable incentive programs, our platform helps users take advantage of the many available alternatives to driving.
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Photo Credit: Steve Morgan