Modern cities are struggling to cope with the increasing number of vehicles on city streets and a growing inadequacy of parking facilities/spaces. More often than not, drivers are spending exorbitant amounts of time just driving around looking for parking which means the amount of greenhouse gases being emitted for a trivial task like looking for parking is just staggering. To cope, some cities and towns are trying to encourage drivers to park in underutilised areas or better yet, leave the car at home and hop on to more affordable and convenient public transport. But in certain cities like London for example, lots of people still prefer to commute in their own cars.
To solve this seemingly never-ending problem, most cities are turning to smart parking solutions as a way to better manage the parking conundrum. Although many in the technology business will admit that this is one industry that has been historically overlooked by technological advances, the smart parking industry is on a rapid quest to evolve and adapt. Led by startups and driven by innovation, the industry is witnessing a technological golden age.
“If you look at the sheer number of cars that are out there on our roads today, the sheer unavailability of parking is just staggering,” says the CEO of a Smart Parking startup based in the UK. “Our goal is to better help drivers find parking and reduce the congestion on city streets, almost a third of which is directly attributable to people looking for parking.”
He went on to add, “while sensor tech continues to be at the foundation of our advancement, a whole host of other new technology is also coming online; each designed to make the overall system more agile. These advances include camera and imaging technology, wireless communication systems, IoT enabled devices, predictive data analytics and automatic car-park barrier systems.”
While the systems and solutions outlined above are capital intensive, car-park owners and operators can adapt in phases. The car park barrier systems, for example, can easily ensure the smooth running of the facility on a daily basis and require minimum supervision and management. Given their relative affordability when compared to the other solutions outlined, it’s safe to say that these systems should be the very first thing business owners adopt.
From a construction perspective, the barrier systems of today are very well built. Examples of systems like these are built with an Aluminium Arm with double bearings. They have rubber impact profiles with a mechanical lock and steel housing that has been anti-corrosion treated. They also come with a host of add-ons such as LED lights in the barrier arm, barrier arm folding functionality, automatic opening in the event of a power failure and so on.
The advantages of an automatic barrier system are plenty. However, the main ones that make them so attractive to car park operators and business owners are reduced operating costs, an increase in speed and efficiency resulting in higher customer satisfaction levels and an increase in customisability levels, depending on the requirement.
Looking at these three reasons in more detail, we can see that installing an automatic car park barrier system actually reduces the monthly operating expenses for the business owner since the automation makes hiring staff to do the same process redundant. Instead, a more qualified team can be in place purely for the management and optimisation of the process.
Another way that these barrier systems increase profitability is by vastly improving the traffic flow on both ends of the car park i.e. entry and exit points. Entry barriers need to be able to not only fit the width of the entry channel but also the height. In a multi-storey car park, for example, a lower roof could mean that the barrier is wide enough to accommodate the width, but might be too long to ascend fully vertically. In this case, a hinged or a folding arm will be especially useful.
Exit barriers, on the other hand, are almost identical to entry barriers but most often with payment integrations included. In certain countries, exit barriers are also reinforced to prevent customers from leaving without paying and are also supported by security cameras and other safety technology such as LED lighting to prevent any unwanted accidents due to poor visibility or driver distraction.
All in all, a faster entry reduces a build-up of traffic on the road leading to the car park and this, in turn, allows for more of the available spaces to be occupied faster. A faster exit ensures a consistent rotation of space usage which is key to revenue positive operations. Additional features that are available with the automatic car park barrier system only enhance its capabilities such as available space visibility, license plate recognition and advanced control logic.
Once these technologies have been put in place, car park owners have the opportunity to appeal to people who are already stretched for time. No one wants to wait in their car for long periods of time waiting for parking and nothing will deter people faster than long lines of cars waiting to get in and out of parking structures.
To summarise, investing in good car park tech like an automatic barrier system is a positive investment in the future. Not only is it good for the neighbourhood, but it also has definite positive effects on the overall business income and is environmentally conscious as well.