22 August 2017
Salsa Digital

The smart parking system

Last week the City of Hobart signed a deal that will see 2,100 in-ground parking sensors fitted in the streets of Hobart. The contract was awarded to Smart ParkingExternal Link and the Australian Parking and Revenue ControlExternal Link (APARC). The system consists of colour screen parking meters, in-ground sensors, a smartphone parking app and credit card processing. The meters will also be the first in Australia to accept ApplePay (something that caught the eye of many of the tech magazines that reported on the contract!).

The good news and the bad news

The good news for visitors and residents of Hobart is that they’ll be able to find a park using an app that’s linked to the in-ground sensors. A trial of smart parking in San Francisco found people spent 43% less time looking for a parking space — so that’s a definite win for Hobart. People will also be able to pay using their credit card or ApplePay, and top up their meters from the app. In fact, an ABC articleExternal Link earlier this year quoted Alderman Thomas explaining that people can also claim back unused meter money in 15-minute increments.

The good news for the Council is that the system includes enforcement, so when someone has stayed longer than the allowed time or their meter has expired, parking officers are notified. While this is good news for the Council and will make more efficient use of parking officers’ time, it might be considered bad news by residents! However, in the ABC article Alderman Thomas also noted that the system is not a way to catch out those people who are a few minutes late getting back to their car.

Smart parking around Australia

Smart parking is being trialled or rolled out in other Aussie cities, too. The ACT is currently trialling smart parking in ManukaExternal Link , Adelaide is rolling out its smart parkingExternal Link , Mosman Council is also trialling smart parkingExternal Link , and many other cities are investigating the technology.

Smart parking and the IoT

Smart parking is an example of how the Internet of Things (IoT) can be used to create smart cities. The use of in-ground sensors that are linked to software is a good example of the interconnected nature of IoT. (Read our blogs on the IoT and smart cities for more information.)

Salsa Digital’s take

Smart parking delivers so many benefits to both citizens and Councils that it seems clear smart parking will be much more prominent in five to 10 years. In fact, while we had to hunt around for areas currently using smart parking, perhaps in 10 years’ time we’d have to search high and low to find city councils that hadn’t introduced smart parking. Like lots of tech things it’s hard to estimate take-up, but smart parking certainly seems set to roll out much more widely across Australia. We’ll be looking out for Hobart’s smart parking next time we visit.

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