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Digitised Automated parking: The future of smart cities

An average Indian driver spends 20 minutes every day on average looking for a suitable parking spot. This is an alarming issue, especially in metro cities. How do we generate this kind of space? Especially when per capita open spaces in cities like Mumbai are at 1.28 sq meter as against the 9 sq meter recommended space by WHO.

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Imagine a day where you no longer have to spend time planning and going in circles finding a parking spot for your car, sounds like a farfetched reality. An average Indian driver spends 20 minutes every day on average to look for a suitable parking spot (as per a report by IBM), an incalculable loss to national productivity. Today, finding a parking spot is more tedious than driving a car around in the city. This is an alarming issue, especially in metro cities.

With daily new car registrations of approximately 800 cars in Mumbai and 1500 cars in New Delhi (NCR) the additional daily space required is equivalent of 4 and 7.5 football fields respectively. How do we generate this kind of space? Especially when per capita open spaces in cities like Mumbai are at 1.28 sq mtr as against the 9 sq mtr recommended space by WHO. Since there is no new space generation happening where are the cars being parked? Since a majority of buildings in the city areas are old, without any provision for parking, the already cramped roads are the natural place to park cars.

On an average 40% of the cars are being parked on the roads resulting in traffic congestion. As per a 2018 study by BCG it is estimated that we lose 1.47 lac crore rupees a year to congestion in the four metro cities alone. If we just double this figure to include the rest of the country and add fuel inflation, the estimated loss to traffic congestion would exceed the healthcare and education budget of India combined. Furthermore, the burden it puts on our town planners to constantly spend on flyovers, subways etc. is another challenge altogether. The pace of urbanization and motorization will lead to an explosion in parking demands.

The age old parking technique where a simple space-renting model that was managed and operated manually was followed by electronic services such as parking meters that partially automated the fee collection. These manual parking systems were developed years ago when the number of people were more than the number of cars on the street which is not the case anymore. Such parking structures occupy a larger land space and are undoubtedly inefficient in terms of function. What we need is a solution and we need it urgently.

Interestingly, now there are technological opportunities available to meet parking demands, ranging from conventional ramp type to fully automated type. Automated Multilevel Car Parking Systems (AMLCP) have existed in India over the last 20 years and globally for over 50 years. They’re mechanically operated machines that help park cars vertically. It can enable efficiencies like no other at a far lower cost compared to land and construction. The automated multilevel car parking systems are not only a sustainable option but also save a lot of land space. One can achieve between 2 to 20 times efficiencies i.e. one can park nearly 60 cars in the space of 3, thereby freeing up space exponentially. In an area where a conventional parking system can accommodate only 3 cars, an automated car parking system can create parking space for 50 cars in the same given area.

The new technology used in these systems will boost the effectiveness in the management of parking and will help avoid traffic jams and all the ill effects that come with it, such as; over saturated car parking’s, environmental degradation, pollution both noise and air, and finally time invested in searching for and retrieving your car from the parking site.

A digitally equipped parking system is the answer to all the challenges that people are currently facing in metro cities. The current system provides basic automation that allows users to independently navigate the complete parking process – from knowing the parking occupancy status to ticketing, parking, and fees. Smart cities can develop multiple automated car parking systems in the available space and through apps or technologically aided systems can book the parking slots. The digital parking system enables a user to get real time updates of an apt parking spot in the nearby area. Primarily it is aimed at automating the time a driver physically spends to find a parking spot. This results in more convenience to the user thus solving the parking woes and problem of traffic.

Leveraging advanced analytics, experience engineering, and newer business models, automated car parking systems are aimed to drastically increase the ease of vehicular parking systems with a mission to optimize space and mobility in all the cities of India and the world.

Author: Rajesh Kabra, Managing Director, RR Parkon

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not represent those of The Indian Express Group or its employees.

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