The search for parking spaces in cities or underground garages can be very stressful and time-consuming. To solve this problem, there are different methods and technologies in the growing sector, but each one uses the same term: parking guidance system (PGS). There are static and smart PGS.
The following tell you what you should look out for and what you should know about intelligent PGS:
1. Customers will be delighted
A smart parking guidance system offers important advantages for the drivers looking for a parking space. The dynamic display of the available parking spaces shows drivers a quicker way to a suitable parking possibility. The use of modern and green technologies always leaves a positive impression, as shorter driving times also reduce the environmental impact.
2. Not all PGS work in the same way
The display of free parking spaces of parking guidance systems can be based on two different methods: counting or single space detection.
Both variants have advantages and disadvantages. It is important, however, that you as a customer also know what you actually need or what you can expect. Counts require a considerably higher maintenance effort in order to achieve the same accuracies as in a single-space detection system. Since the errors in counts (for example, in the case of entries and exits) accumulate over time, a regular ‘reset’ is absolutely necessary. In the case of a single-space detection system, the error doesn’t increase over time, the accuracy is always consistent with the display.
3. Quality is our priority
For some customers, the only criterion for buying is the price. However, there are a few other factors on the subject of PGS, which you should also include into your consideration:
- Data transmission speed: the faster the sensor data arrive at the display, the more value the PGS has
- Service life: the higher the durability of the equipment, the better you can plan the operating costs of the next years
- Accuracy: if the values are not correct enough, even a cheap PGS will never pay off
- Reliability: a stable and reliable system should work perfectly around the clock
- Service: some systems require assistance with planning, installation, mounting, and operation. Please ensure that you incorporate the system and the optional services of the contractor and their experience into the evaluation
4. The indoor area has its own character
Indoor parking systems are well-known for the red / green lights on the ceiling, especially popular at airports, shopping malls or other underground garages with a high parking volume. These counting systems (usually as induction loops in the ground or ultrasonic sensors on the ceiling) are somewhat more inconspicuous in car parks. Consider the following environmental conditions in parking garages:
- Dirt: underground garages and parking garages become dirty in the course of time, the sensor system should therefore fulfil its purpose even in a dirty state
- Moisture: water can also become an issue in the interior, especially when condensation or high air humidity occurs. Ensure that the equipment is able to withstand these conditions
- Standalone: there are projects that do not require a master computer with comprehensive software. Standalone systems are available and work without PC or software
5. Outdoor areas have its peculiarities
Municipal parking guidance systems have been around for many years. The car park data are gathered in most cases and then sent via GPRS to the individual displays in the city. Meanwhile, the above-described single space detection has also moved from indoor to outdoor applications, so you can now also individually detect urban parking areas in the latter. When using sensors, however, you should always observe the following environmental conditions:
- Day and night: sunlight and complete darkness are a major risk factor in terms of accuracy and reliability. Outdoor sensors should therefore have no limitations, especially in the case of these influences, and largely dispense with optical sensors
- Snow and frost: deep temperatures, snow and snowploughs with a hard edge affect projects. Ground-based sensors should therefore be installed flush with the roadway
- Foliage and dirt: these can also affect the measuring result, if the sensor system relies on optical technology
- Trees: the sensor system for the parking space detection must therefore work independently of this influencing variable
6. Always check exactly which services are included in the PGS
Some seemingly inexpensive technologies prove to be particularly costly in the installation afterwards, if, for example, large-scale cutting or milling work in the asphalt is necessary for outdoor counting systems, or expensive cables have to be used between the sensors in indoor systems. Therefore, be aware of the total cost of the systems when comparing them.
7. Operators obtain a great-added value
If each customer is shown where one of the last hidden parking spaces is located, the probability of actually using all the parking spaces increases. This means that the utilization rate or number of visitors increases, and in the case of managed parking areas, increases the revenue from parking tickets.
When using a master computer with innovative software, you can visualize parking areas and collect meaningful statistics on parking data and parking habits. The software also provides the option of finding permanent parkers or automatically controlling devices via a scheduler. The client or operator can extract useful data from the system and create added value.
8. Interfaces improve the total system
There are systems that cannot be linked to others and, in part, this is explicitly desired (such as standalone systems without a PC). However, there are also systems with existing interfaces (ModBus); here you can easily integrate other systems into the PGS, or vice versa. High-quality parking guidance systems also offer the possibility to connect to higher-level systems. The more you can present and operate on a platform, the less time you spend on instructing your employees and updating software.