Smart City

Smart City Sentinel

No Parking: How One Company Helps Cities with Automated Enforcement

By Special Guest
Shrey Fadia, Special Correspondent

Smart parking solutions are surfacing everywhere, from apps that help drivers find open parking spaces, to digital meters that accept credit cards and can send text alerts to those who park reminding them when their time may be up.

In India, as the population continues to rise, and more motorized vehicles are being used in urban areas, governments are leveraging new technologies to get out in front of an impending crisis – parking spot management and compliance to shape driver behaviors while also generating new revenues for community operations.

SenRa, one of the fastest growing LoRaWAN network and service providers in India, has a Proof of Concept underway which makes it possible to identify and penalize Illegal car parking, introduce variable pricing while also ensuring unhindered lanes for passage of emergency vehicles, and generally improving streets for all users.

India’s Illegal Parking Challenges
SenRa this week published an extensive white paper on their PoC (working alongside cities in India which have in place LoRaWAN networks provided by the company).

In the white paper, SenRa says, “Alongside a rapid growth in population, India is seeing a steady rise in income of an average middle-class household. This rapid growth, coupled with cultural shifts such as small nuclear families, dual income households etc. has led to a rapid increase in density of motor vehicles per household. This is putting an additional strain on the existing parking infrastructure of the already over-congested cities.”

As a natural alternative, most car owners, in the absence of parking spots, choose to park on temporary road side spots, the explanation continues. Often these parking spots are marked illegal by the city authorities.

SenRa estimates that on any working day, over 40% of the urban road area is taken up by parked cars.

“Several cities including Delhi, Chandigarh and Pune have taken steps towards framing a parking policy to reduce parking pressure and congestion on roads and public spaces,” Kush Mishra, CTO of SenRa says, but the efforts are not optimizing or balancing supply and demand.

Problems with conventional approaches include unsustainable pressure on the available land for a wasteful use, minimal pricing for street parking with no relationship to demand, illegal encroachment of public spaces and walkways, and restricted access for emergency service providers in congested areas, which of course can be life threatening.

“Even the planned smart parking management solutions have not been found to yield expected results due to choosing sub-optimal technologies,” said Kush Mishra, CTO of SenRa, and author of the white paper. “The parking sensors themselves are sometimes based on localized wireless area networks which suffer from low battery life and high maintenance costs. Instead of collecting and storing the occupancy and traffic data from these sensors and using them for advanced analytics, the data is merely displayed on an LED panel to determine vacant and occupied status. Features like parking reservation and route planning according to nearest available parking spots are not available in a centralized fashion.”

SenRa is testing a new smart parking solution leveraging smart IoT technologies to manage organized and unorganized car parking lots in an efficient manner.

The solution is based on in-ground LoRaWAN enabled magnetic parking sensors for monitoring on-street and off-street parking slots.

The parking sensors are used to detect the occupancy of the parking bay and communicate back the parking occupancy status to their analytics IoT platform.

India already has systems which leverage LED display units to communicate the occupancy status and other relevant information at the parking entry/exit gates as well as coordinating entry/exits using an arrangement of boom barriers, ticket dispensers and PoS machines to collect payments.  With this addition of real-time automated data processing solution, the information will be available remotely for analysis and monitoring.

Through their initial proof of concept, SenRa has enabled city authorities to realize new revenues.

“In addition,” Mishra said, “it has given a highly competent tool to the enforcement agencies that, if used properly, can completely curb the menace of illegal parking and reduce traffic congestion in future Smart Cities.”  

The entire white paper can be downloaded here.




Edited by Ken Briodagh


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