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Automation, Smart Technology and Parking

Is the United States Experiencing a Technological Regression When It Comes to Parking Solutions? We Are Afraid, Throughout the Years, the Facts Speak for Themselves
May 23, 2019

Automation, Smart Technology and Parking

Smart city talk is "in" and so is the discussion about smart infrastructure, better land use, city planning, and proper urban transportation and mobility. Central topics in this conversation are always the rise of new ways of transportation (such as ride sharing) and the increase of public and alternative transportation systems (such as bikes or buses). This is all good stuff, we agree, it all points in the right direction; however, there are a couple of sensitive points that are not nearly as discussed or as thoroughly considered: the vehicle and the parking facility.
The buzz about autonomous vehicles and ride sharing services changing the urban landscape is huge and loud, like they will almost make privately owned vehicles (and parking garages) disappear like a magic trick; but let’s look at this matter closely.
Bikes, ride-sharing vehicles, autonomous vehicles, public buses, etc. are still vehicles that need to be stored somewhere at some point. We recently read an article about the Netherlands, one of the dense centers most admired by urban and city planners because of their creative and advanced ways to approach current urban challenges like land use, city planning, technology, environment, alternate and efficient energy use and quality of life. However, according to the article, the Netherlands was facing serious problems with bikes overflowing and taking over the sidewalks, so pedestrians had a hard time navigating and enjoying the public space.
This proves that the appropriate storing of any type of vehicle is central to realistic, efficient, sustainable and functional urban practices; however, parking or vehicle storage solutions seem to be sideline topics that are not being given the thorough attention they require.
Technology and Automation

Automation is no longer strange or too Sci-Fi for people these days. Whether we realize it or not, most of our daily lives are touched by some level of automation, from sophisticated robots in assembly lines to “auto-fill” forms on our web browsers. Automation has a way to help us become more efficient and productive and in some cases even safer and smarter.

Technology has the ability to improve our lives in many aspects, including parking.

In the face of current and future urban development, transportation and mobility demands and in the face of Smart City initiatives and efforts, we cannot continue looking at parking or vehicle storage challenges in the traditional way. When everything else is changing and evolving, parking cannot be the exception.

Inefficient land use, traffic congestion, pollution, energy consumption and safety issues are among the most common concerns surrounding traditional parking practices. Great efforts are currently being conducted to semi-automate traditional ramp garages and surface lots in order to bring them to par with the times. And all those efforts are definitely steps in the right direction, however, most people in the United States is not aware that automated parking technology has taken over the parking industry for decades in other latitudes of the world.

Automated Parking Solutions or Systems (APS) have been implemented and utilized for over 30 years in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe and have become more the rule than the exception. The reasons are simple, APS may provide the same parking capacity rendered by a traditional concrete ramp garage in 50 to 70% less land, they are more energy efficient, reduce fuel consumption and pollution caused by vehicle emission by 80%, are 20 times less massive than their concrete counterparts (significantly reducing Heat Island Effect), are safer for people and property and greatly facilitate the parking process thus reducing stress and traffic congestion.

APS are already a network of sensors and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) making them IoT enabled and (smart) infrastructure-ready to engage with Smart City concepts where data collection, storage and sharing are key and central to maximize efficiencies, optimize the use and allocation of resources and to provide a better user experience and improve the quality of life for citizens.

Automated Parking Solutions or Systems (APS) have been implemented and utilized for over 30 years in Asia, the Middle East and Europe and have become more the rule than the exception.

Automation has entered the parking industry in more ways than just an app that let drivers know if and where there is an available parking spot. The talk is all about automating the vehicle and automating the way we find parking; how come we are not talking about automating the parking facility? Automated Parking Solutions or Systems adapt perfectly to the demands, needs, and requirements of the times, they require significantly less land and are more energy efficient, greener and safer than other traditional parking methods. They also provide solutions to bridge the gap between the car-centered society of today and the driverless city of the future and they can be used for any type of vehicle, including cars, bikes and even buses.

When it comes to Smart Cities, mobility, walkability and urban and city planning, Automated Parking is a solution worth pondering. Are we doing our homework?

The buzz about autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing services changing the urban landscape is huge and loud like they will almost make privately owned vehicles (and parking garages) disappear like a magic trick, but let’s look at this matter closely.

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