Smart Parking, the Key to Planning for Smart Cities?
February 19, 2016
Smart Parking - Smart Cities

Municipalities around the world are focusing on smart cities initiatives, and the numbers make clear why. In their October 2015 report “The Future of Smart Cities – Opportunities, Solutions and Players“, Strategy Analytics forecasted that urban IoT and information and communication revenues will reach $977 billion by 2022. According to a Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study, “Global Forecasts of Urban Expansion to 2030 and Direct Impacts on Biodiversity and Carbon Pools,”, by 2030, approximately 5 billion of the world’s 8 billion residents — more than 60 percent— will live in urbanized areas. As managing these cities becomes more challenging, the smart city technology will become essential.

In the recent ThingWorx webinar “Smart Parking, Smart Lighting, & A Platform For Smart Cities” Rik Goodwin, Chief Operating Officer at Fybr, and Scott McCarley, Senior Director of Solution Management at ThingWorx present a general way to approach smart city IoT planning, and then details a promising early implementation: smart parking.

Proving your case

“You need to quickly identify projects that are going to deliver significant value, and be able to serve as a proof point,” McCarley said. “Planners have to choose a project to begin with, and they want to choose one that has demonstrable value and ROI.”

Numerous solution providers have developed bike sharing, traffic safety, delivery fleet management, building energy management, smart metering, and water monitoring solutions using the ThingWorx IoT platform.

But a great first solution, one that is both highly salient to many city dwellers and can show a clear 12-18 month payback period is a favorite urban issue: parking.

Looking for a spot

According to Goodwin, 30 percent of traffic in a typical downtown area consists of cars seeking a place to park. The parking meter was invented in 1935 and has changed surprisingly little since then, but the demand for urban parking spots, and the resulting negative impact on both environment and local business of inefficient allocation of parking, means that this situation is changing rapidly.

Goodwin details the various steps in Fybr’s smart parking implementation, and shares specific statistics from an Easton, Pennsylvania pilot, with real-world numbers that both show the real value of smart parking, and the need for realistic expectations, not common enough in descriptions of IoT.

Evolution is inevitable

As McCarley said, firmly seconded by Goodwin: “Once you deploy a solution, you know it is going to rapidly evolve.”

No solution is static, unanticipated events are inevitable, and a system that does not take that fact into account will inevitably fail. Goodwin detailed the various factors that must be considered to plan out a robust smart cities implementation.

Want to learn how to get started with smart cities? View the recorded webinar.