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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Smart Parking and GIS

I recently read an article on smart parking systems that are starting to be utilized at airport parking garages across the nation, including Jacksonville International. As the technology progresses, it should be interesting to see if the same technology becomes integrated with GIS for on-street parking spaces in all major cities.

If parking data was public information in the future, it could easily be relayed to vehicle navigation systems or even cell phones. Drivers in an overcrowded downtown area could view all available vacant parking spots on their dashboard.....saving stress levels for other endeavors. Parking meters could be tied into the smart parking system to save meter maids time and resources from driving around aimlessly to ticket vehicles. Meters could be reset once a vehicle leaves a parking space to avoid "double use" of time by another vehicle. Out of pocket change? The DOT could even get involved and allow parking fees to be billed to your SunPass rather than having separate parking cards for every major city in the state. If the parking meter only has one minute left on it, automatically have another twenty-five cents deducted from your transponder.

Per the article, the smart parking system as applied to garages allows them to be kept near 100% capacity versus 75% - 80% capacity without the system. Each parking space has a sensor installed which indicates to a central data management center whether or not the space is occupied or vacant. "As a passenger enters a garage, signs indicate the total number of parking spaces available and the number on each level. At the levels, there are additional signs that tell the passenger how many spaces are available per row. A light over each space indicates whether it is available: green for open, red for occupied."

Each city would have to do their own evaluation of current expenses and what brings in more overall funds, parking tickets or parking meters at full capacity. The future of parking technology looks brighter than an empty front row spot....... but of course everyone would know where that front row spot was if the technology was already here.