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Evolution of Parking Management Technologies

The only constant is change. 

This statement extends its meaning to all aspects of life and even to various types of businesses. Whether it is becoming humans from homo sapiens after hundreds of years of evolution or accepting technology as a significant part of our daily lives, change has always been a constant and will continue to be. 

Without a doubt, technology is the future of any business. Especially given urbanization, technological advances are the only way to keep up with the ever-changing challenges and demands of customers. If we take digital technology into consideration, then, along with our everyday tasks, it has also significantly affected our parking systems. 

With a rising number of vehicles each day, finding a parking spot is no less than a challenge. Whether in commercial malls or residential buildings, issues related to parking are not uncommon. 

Moreover, with new modes of transportation like scooters, ride-sharing and fleet vehicles, cities constantly battle to manage curb space. These changes call for changes in traditional parking operations as well. We need smart parking management software that proves to be helpful in fulfilling not just short-term but long-term goals too. 

While evolution is the way to move ahead for any industry, let us go back and see how parking management was handled years ago. In this article, we will go through parking management strategies used in the early years and see how technology has helped us have smarter management systems in place today. So, without further ado, let’s jump right into it.

Evolution of parking management technology from the 1900s to today 

One of the most prominent reasons for smart parking systems today is the increase in the number and size of vehicles. Earlier, with fewer modes of transportation and fewer number vehicles, finding a parking space was not much of an issue. Well, let us see when and how was parking managed back in the day. 

Parking management in the 1900s 

Well, today we have parking management systems to help you find a spot and even make automated payments. However, back in the 1900s, a car’s tires were marked with chalk so that the duration of the car park could be determined. This practice was then replaced with parking meters after the world’s first parking meter was used in Oklahoma City in 1935. 

Even before the 1900s, during the 1850s, mankind was introduced to parking when they had to tie their horses to their poles. 

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While parking meters partly made an attempt to modernize the system, both approaches are limiting today. Chalking has already become a matter of hearing in court as few judges ruled it a violation of the fourth amendment. 

If we take parking meters into consideration, they also have the following set of limitations:

  • Maintenance and installation costs are high since an individual meter is required for each parking spot 
  • Cases of vandalism and fraud by people collecting the coins have also caused challenges for operators 

So, the parking management systems invented back then have their own limitations.

A newer system was then invented called pay-and-display wherein drivers would purchase a ticket at the kiosk. The purchased ticketed would be displayed on teh dashboard on the vehicle and the patrolling officers checked the validity of every car’s ticket via inspection. 

Well, after the pay-and-display system, the tickeltess parking and automated systems followed. 

Ticketless parking and automated systems

Pay-by-space parking 

Tickeltess parking systems have now taken off. Pay-by-space parking is an amazing way to save time in paying for your parking spot. You simply need to enter your plate and space number in an application or kiosk. This is now an electronic record which is manually matched by the officers. They use handheld devices to map each plat against the electronic record. 

Pay-by-plate parking 

However, there came an even better alternative–pay-by-plate. In this system, the drivers pay at a kiosk or an application and park anywhere within a zone. The main reason why this system is better than pay-by-space parking is that there is no risk of users being issued a ticket for accidentally entering the wrong parking space number. 

IoT-based parking management systems

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How many times have you witnessed a long queue for finding parking space outside a mall or a corporate building? Getting stuck in the vehicle due to long queues can be a lot stressful especially if you are already running late for a meeting or an event. Plus, if it is a manually handled car parking lot, then it gets stressful for the parking owner as well. 

Fortunately, the manual vehicle parking system is now being replaced with a smart parking system. Smart parking systems is a highly efficient way to manage parking space and it benefits both, parking owners and drivers. Thanks to the IoT (Internet of things). It is a network of vehicles, home appliances, physical devices, and other items connected with electronic devices and sensors which allows them to exchange data with each other and communicate. 

While sensor technology is the foundation of an efficient parking system, there are constant innovations to enable more efficient systems. For example, data analytics, wireless communication, advanced algorithms and induction loops are in progress to make parking management even easier. 

However, these hi-fi systems can only be used in huge cities with more population because if the system uses data analysis, there should be ample data to analyse. So, if you are a small business looking for a parking management system, going with IoT might not be the wisest choice for you. 

Wrapping up the Evolution of parking management technologies 

As we have already established at the beginning of the article, technology will continue to bring changes. However, it gets really challenging when people expect the cities to keep up with their ever-changing demand for parking spaces. Paying for parking becomes a matter of convenience and choice for people and while cities strive to provide this, they still need to efficiently manage the parking sessions. 

Hopefully the article helped you understand the evolution of parking management technologies better and how smart parking managements are the need of the hour. 

Author Bio: 

Parita Pandya is an Engineer turned Writer. She usually finds herself writing for businesses.  When she is not writing, she is either strumming her guitar or penning her thoughts down on paritapandya.com.

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