How to improve the control and management of time-limited free parking in cities

Cities offer different types of parking spaces. The best known are probably the spaces where the user has to pay to park. On the other hand, car parks where parking is allowed free, but for a limited time, are also common in city centres and shopping areas. In these cases, it is necessary to consider what technologies and solutions there are to better control and manage free parking time in cities to avoid abuse and promote orderly mobility for all users.

One of the biggest problems in urban traffic circulation is the churning traffic that is caused by vehicles looking for a parking space, and free parking areas are an ideal and highly demanded place to park. Therefore, in cases where free parking spaces are limited by time, care must be taken to ensure that they are properly controlled and managed for the benefit of all drivers.

As at Urbiotica we are convinced that technology should be used to improve mobility and the people’s quality of life in all senses, we would like to explain the most recommendable technological solutions to control this type of free urban parking.

On other occasions, we have also discussed how to ensure compliance with on-street parking rules and other similar issues. Now, let us turn to the most effective way of enforcing the rules to prevent the inappropriate use of free time-limited parking spaces in cities.

ParkCtrl: a solution for THE EFFICIENT CONTROL of free parking in cities

Today we have various solutions that serve to improve free parking control and management in cities, all characterised by their reliability and a series of benefits that we will detail at the end of the article. In the case of ParkCtrl, it is a solution that guarantees the surveillance services that the established regulations are respected in regulated car parks.

Thus, when inappropriate use occurs and drivers leave their vehicles parked longer than allowed, alerts are sent to the wardens or police as required.

The specific operation of Urbiotica’s ParkCtrl solution and the technologies and devices it uses is explained below. We start with the fact that it allows the integration of third-party systems in the collection of information and to share all the data generated and stored in the Smart Parking platform.

Real-time detection of vehicles entering and leaving parking spaces

First we have the U-Spot sensors installed in parking spaces to detect vehicles entering and leaving them. These are self-contained flush-mounted sensors that are highly reliable and offer more than ten years of service life. They are perfectly calibrated and are able to discriminate electromagnetic interference or false starts. They are also flush and unaffected by weather conditions and the detection quality is not diminished by wind, snow, rain or dust in the air.

We will also mention the camera detection which, by means of the images processed and applying Artificial Intelligence and Deep learning, transmits the car park occupancy accurately and in real time. It works with market-standard cameras and can manage up to 50 spaces with a single camera.

ParkCTRL app to send alerts to wardens

Once the vehicle entry and exit is detected, ParkCTRL is a mobile app and web platform that sends alerts to warden services when drivers park their vehicles longer than allowed in these on-street parking spaces. The warnings come in real time in order to control all possible infringements in the shortest possible time.

The advantage of this solution is that it avoids having surveillance vehicles circulating to do this work, or inefficient surveillance routes. Thanks to the process digitalisation, surveillance is based on solving user indiscipline when it is detected by the alert generated by the system, making the service much more efficient and significantly minimising its costs.

Tiempo Limitado Gratuito

Limited-time free parking

Optimizes monitoring of limited-time free parking zones and respect for the rules. It alerts service managers or the local police when sessions exceed the maximum time allowed.
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This ParkCtrl solution is also useful for the drivers themselves because the Parktime guidance app shows drivers where free parking spaces are available at any given moment.  Users also declare the use of the parking space through this app, which informs them of the time for which they can park their vehicles and also notifies them in real time of the time remaining for the vehicle to be withdrawn.

As one of the objectives of these technologies is not only to control the correct use of the free time-limited parking spaces, but holistically to favour smart and orderly urban mobility, the solution directs drivers, thus reducing driving time and enabling a much more efficient control.

Benefits of good management of free parking in city centres

In this final part we will list the main benefits of good management of free parking in urban areas thanks to reliable technology-based control.

Increasing availability of parking spaces

Firstly, there is an increase in the availability of parking spaces due to the fact that there is alternation of vehicles parking. Without effective control, any driver could incorrectly occupy these spaces, but this solution favours the rotation of free parking spaces.

Improving urban mobility

Alternating or rotating parking improves urban mobility because drivers do not have to drive around the streets looking for a free parking space. On the contrary, occupying free parking spaces without exceeding the time limit makes mobility in cities orderly and respectful of all users, reducing traffic jams and congestion.

Stimulating local trade

The third benefit is economic and comes as a consequence of the first two: the stimulation of local trade because traffic circulation is ideal and gives easy access to the cities’ commercial areas where the free time-limited car parks are located.

Real-time viewing of car parks

The solution also allows real-time display of the status of car parks with time-limited free parking spaces, as well as the activity of the wardens. Work flows are therefore more efficient, from detecting vehicle entry and exit to detecting possible fraud, sending alerts and resolving violations.

Improvement of the costs of the surveillance service

The automation of the management of these car parks also reduces the costs of the surveillance and control, because the alerts are sent without the need for wardens to circulate in the different free urban parking areas. The organisation is centralised and intervention is only needed when an infringement or misuse occurs, but there is no need for surveillance routes as such.

In conclusion, digital solutions to improve the control and management of free parking time in cities provide an efficient and pedagogical process for citizens. So, with low costs and real-time communications and alerts, the managers of this service ensure efficient control to guarantee citizen and driver satisfaction, as well as smart and sustainable urban mobility.

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