New, real-time smart parking system for Ghent, Belgium

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The City of Ghent, Belgium, will implement a new dynamic traffic control system by mid-2022. The system will inform visitors in real time about the current parking situation, the occupancy rate of the various car parks, serious traffic disruptions and much more.

A consortium led by Jacops, a company specializing in the installation of intelligent traffic infrastructure, will be called upon to carry out the project. In addition to Jacops, the consortium consists of Be-Mobile, leader in smart traffic solutions, and Q-lite, a Belgian manufacturer of LED displays.

As part of the project, the City of Ghent will replace current digital information displays that show occupancy in parking garages. By the second half of 2022, new full-color LED displays will be installed at 50 locations, offering the ability to share additional traffic information, such as roadworks and events, or real-time travel times.

Digital signs will be installed just before the R4 (the Ring Road around Ghent) to guide visitors smoothly to the park-and-rides on the outskirts of the city. In addition to replacing the physical signs, the traffic control system consists of a completely new central management system that will communicate with the displays according to the current traffic situation.

Jacops uses Be-Mobile software for the new management system, which combines various traffic applications such as parking and traffic control. The City of Ghent can share its own city and mobility information, such as information about parking occupancy and public transport, as well as link information from third parties into the system.

The most relevant parking and traffic information is automatically distributed to the road user or other stakeholders via the digital LED screens from the Belgian manufacturer Q-lite. The info on the new displays will be available via open data so that parking apps and route planners can incorporate it within their platforms.

With this project, the City of Ghent is able to meet the current, but also the future needs in the field of traffic management and analysis. Visitors are guided via the new LED displays to the most appropriate parking based on current parking information and real-time travel times.

“With the traffic guidance system, we reduce search traffic and can indicate in advance which car parks are full,” says Filip Watteeuw, Alderman for Mobility at the City of Ghent. “This way people can decide more quickly to use park-and-rides and we limit unnecessary car traffic in the city.”

Travelers also receive information on parking occupancy, serious accidents, traffic jams and connections to public transport. In short, the City of Ghent ensures well-informed travelers and residents and can thus reduce unnecessary traffic in the city.

The total investment of this new traffic control system, including maintenance and all software developments, amounts to €2.7m.

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About Author

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs in charge of public agencies around the world as well as chairmen and CEOs of multinational transportation technology corporations. Tom's early career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).