According to a recent article by USA Today, based on a parking study performed by INRIX, American drivers devote an average of 17 hours a year searching for available parking on streets, garages, or lots and spend more than $20bn a year in garage fees, parking tickets and wasted fuel searching for a spot.
This search for parking not only causes stress and frustration for drivers, but also creates a domino effect of congestion, increased air pollution, car accidents and wasted dollars. Typically, up to a third of all urban congestion is caused by motorists looking for somewhere to park and according to the parking study, drivers aren’t the only ones who suffer: "In all, 63% of the nearly 6,000 US drivers surveyed reported they avoided driving to shopping sites, airports, leisure or sports centres, and other destinations due to parking challenges."
With 42% missing an appointment and 34% skipping out on a trip because of parking issues, local shops and businesses miss out on possible revenue due to inadequate parking.
In response to this parking problem, Q-Free provides several parking solutions. Our parking guidance solution (PGS), a product of the worldwide development and deployment of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) in cities, reduces parking space search times by providing information on where space is available. Combining traffic monitoring, communication, processing and information dissemination technologies to give drivers dynamic, real-time information about parking availability within controlled areas, the PGS uses a combination of sensors in and around car parking facilities and information provision systems such as on-street and in-facility displays, the internet and smart device applications.
Managing every step of the installation and integration at the parking site, Q-Free is one of the world’s foremost suppliers of PGS. With more than 300 reference sites around the world such as cities, transportation organisations, hospitals, entertainment centres, shopping centres, casinos, major sports venues, colleges, and large employer parking lots, our proven economic, environmental and customer-friendly solution has saved drivers hours and reduced vehicle emissions caused by the endless search for parking availability.
Q-Free not only provides PGS software to reduce parking search time for drivers, but we also provide a parking management system, Q-Free ParQ, along with ALPR-based parking, to ensure optimal revenue collection for parking facilities while still maximising operational efficiency and customer convenience. Q-Free ParQ and ALPR based parking provides the advantage of barrierless and ticketless parking to improve traffic flow for customers, and allowing for no barrier maintenance, lowering costs for operators. License plate recognition software and the flexible payment solution eliminate the need for pay-and-display tickets, with online payment available for subscription and single parking. The photographic evidence of all vehicles entering and leaving parking facility reduces enforcement cost.
Q-Free is always looking to the future and working to provide innovative technology that will lead the way in the ITS industry and improve commuters’ quality of life. In January 2017, Q-Free launched a trial project for piloting a new smart parking sensor, in collaboration with one of the world’s largest mobile and communications providers, Telenor, and the Norwegian Public Roads Authority (NPRA). The pilot will test and utilise the new communications technology, narrow band internet of things (NB IoT), with its parking sensors. Using radar-based technology to sense with 99% accuracy, whether a vehicle is present in a parking space, the sensor transmits the information regarding parking space availability using NB IoT communications, which can be further sent to a variety of outputs, such as variable message signs located near the parking site, or straight to end-users through websites or mobile phone applications. NB IoT enables everyday objects that have internet connectivity to communicate their statuses and needs with end-users.
This project will enable cellular-based NB IoT communication using existing infrastructure which will be a large step in the right direction towards realising next-generation smarter city connectivity.