Smart Parking completes smartphone-based 3,800-sensor system in New Zealand

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Following a successful trial in early 2015, Anglo-Australian company Smart Parking has now completed a major project in Wellington, New Zealand, making it the largest deployment of smart parking technology in the Asia-Pacific region.

Wellington’s CBD (Central Business District) is a popular tourist destination, which encompasses parliament buildings, sandy beaches and a working harbor. A fair, efficient parking management system is an essential component of making a visit to the capital enjoyable for visitors, fair to residents, and profitable to local businesses. Up until August 2016, drivers in the city had been paying for their parking sessions through nearby parking meters, returning to their car to display a ticket, and then ensuring they are back in time before the ticket runs out, a sometimes stressful and annoying task.

In the back office, Wellington City Council had been managing parking through traditional methods: officers would patrol time-restricted areas, identifying overstays with the dated chalking method and issuing infringement notices. Not only a time consuming and mundane task for parking enforcement officers, but also an inefficient one, as not all infringing vehicles could be identified.

Following last year’s successful trial, this August saw Wellington City Council go live with Smart Parking’s SmartPark solution, and PayMyPark parking payment app. The deployment includes a network of over 3,800 RFID-equipped SmartEye vehicle detection sensors, which register whether each parking bay is occupied or vacant. The information is fed instantaneously to the simple to use PayMyPark app, which provides drivers with real-time parking availability, guides them to free spaces, and allows them to pay for the parking session straight from their smartphone device and extend their time remotely. Data is then relayed live to SmartRep, Smart Parking’s powerful cloud-based software tool, which collates and analyses the data and allows the Council to understand how drivers use its parking spaces. This is a vital resource in planning further improvements to Wellington’s parking systems.

Once parked, drivers simply enter the bay number into the app and press ‘start’, then continue at their leisure. Upon return to the vehicle they then select the ‘stop’ function, only paying for the time they use. Smart Parking’s infrared sensors automatically detect when a car arrives and relays the information to PayMyPark alerting the application of the cars arrival and departure.

Drivers are also given the option to pay in advance. If they return before their parking session has expired they will receive a refund for the remaining minutes to their parking account. The app also generates alerts when time is running low, allowing the user to top up the parking session from anywhere. By providing real-time parking availability functionality, motorists now have a much better chance of finding an available and suitable parking space quickly and easily, reducing the amount of time spent idling or circling, increasing occupancy, and reducing vehicle emissions.

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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