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Xerox Merge system wins ITF innovation award

Xerox and Holland Container Innovations (HCI) are the joint winners of the 2014 Promising Innovation in Transport Award, presented by the International Transport Forum (ITF) at the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development); an intergovernmental organization for the transport sector with 54 member countries. HCI receives the award for its 4FOLD ISO-certified foldable container, which significantly reduces the economic and environmental cost of empty container shipment. Xerox receives the award for its Merge system, a city-wide sensor-based, smart parking system that reduces traffic and congestion through guided parking with demand-based pricing. The ITF jury awarded a Special Mention to Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) for its ‘MyTransport.SG’ initiative, offering a one-stop integrated transport companion for motorists, commuters, cyclists, citizens with special needs, students and tourists.

Xerox’s Merge is a smart parking system that was first deployed in downtown Los Angeles in June 2012. It uses the data from smart meters, off-street parking lots and over 6,000 on-street parking sensors to get a complete view of parking demand and behavior in a six square mile area. The system feeds the data in real-time to smartphone applications and a vehicle’s navigation system, in order to provide motorists with actual parking rates and guidance to available spaces. A pay-by-cell system allows drivers to pay for, and top up their parking meters using a cell phone or smart phone. Payments are automatically visible to enforcement officers. Smart pricing algorithms use the parking sensor data to refine parking rates based on demand: Blocks that are often full, see their rates increased; underused areas, see their rates decreased. Drivers thus have an incentive to use a different mode or park slightly further away. When rates are set appropriately, the need to circle around looking for parking is reduced; with less time lost, congestion reduced, safer driving and better access to shops.

The jury was impressed with the capabilities offered by the Xerox system, in particular with the implementation of dynamic pricing. It noted the possibility for this concept, “to evolve by providing additional information for users regarding alternate options for travel”, which would offer, “significant additional benefits for passenger mobility”. David Cummins, managing director of Xerox Parking and Justice Solutions division, commented, “The Merge Parking System is the first system to fully integrate and provide analytics on all aspects of metered and off-street programs. Winning this important award highlights how our innovation integrates hardware and software to provide revenue management, maintenance, enforcement, and occupancy detection by applying real-time data to solve parking issues. Merge and its algorithm-driven dynamic pricing model provide authorities with a flexible, policy-adaptive solution.”

May 20, 2014

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