Thursday, May 14, 2020

Smart Parking Solutions: The Future of Parking Lots

The Internet of Things (IoT) is creeping into every facet of life. More things are connected to the internet today than ever before. IoT is the idea that everything should be or is connected to the internet in some fashion. Smart technology that connects home appliances to a central hub is a prime example of this. Things that one wouldn’t associate with “smart” technology are popping up all the time, including parking lots. Why would a parking lot need connectivity and what on earth are smart parking solutions? Smart parking lots are more prevalent than you know—learn more about them here.

What’s a Smart Parking Lot?

A parking lot is still a parking lot; it’s a place for you to leave your car when you go shopping or see a movie. Smart parking solutions are vehicle parking systems that help drivers find an empty spot. Each space in the lot is equipped with a sensor that tracks movement within the lot and reports back to an attendant or parking app. Using sensors in each parking space that detect the presence or absence of a vehicle, signs direct incoming drivers to available locations. Parking apps that help drivers find a vacant spot use this information as they drive and help ease the congestion on the streets. Smart counter systems keep track of cars coming and going through a lot and any specific area. A connected counting system can detect when a vehicle enters and leaves the parking facility. This way, IoT-based platforms can offer drivers a real-time counter of available spots. Facility managers can use counter systems to increase the parking facility’s efficiency, determine trends and patterns regarding customer flow, and predict future vehicle surges.

The Future of Parking Systems

In the past, when a lot was made, the only concern was how many parked cars could fit there. As time went on, new regulations and laws were passed that carved out space for disabled drivers and kept a minimum distance between vehicles. The Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for parking lots provided a certain number of handicapped spaces in lots. Now, with the IoT of parking lots, construction teams and design engineers have to consider where to place sensors in the pavement, how many to place, and their signal strength and functionality. Automated parking structures are coming into the fold now, too. They go up, rather than out. A driver pulls their car in and a series of elevators move it to an available spot and deliver it when the owner comes back. It’s like a building-sized car vending machine.