Tag Archives: smart city

December 15 Webinar: Getting Smart: Strategies to Get Started Creating Smart Communities. Presented by Thomas Szubka, CAPP, Walker Consultants


View webinar description, learning objectives, and speaker details, and register for free today. 

We have launched your new IPMI member portal.  Click here to login, reset your password, and register for these free trainings. If you have questions, or need assistance, please contact us here.

  • Member Rate: $35 per webinar, or $379 for the entire annual series.
  • Non-member rate: $85 per webinar.  Click the register link above to attend as a non-member.
  • Join today and find out more about member benefits here.
  • Offers one CAPP Credit towards application or certifications.  Learn more about CAPP today. 

October 20, 2021 IPMI Webinar: How U.S. Cities Can Learn from Smart City Innovations in Europe. Presented by David Parker, Cleverciti.


View webinar description, learning objectives, and speaker details, and register for free today. 

We have launched your new IPMI member portal.  Click here to login, reset your password, and register for these free trainings. If you have questions, or need assistance, please contact us here.

  • Member Rate: $35 per webinar, or $379 for the entire annual series.
  • Non-member rate: $85 per webinar.  Click the register link above to attend as a non-member.
  • Join today and find out more about member benefits here.
  • Offers one CAPP Credit towards application or certifications.  Learn more about CAPP today. 

Discovering the Future of Mobility–in a Video Game?

By Matt Davis

Parking does not have a lot of crossover with pop culture, so imagine my surprise to discover an innovative vision of the future of parking and mobility in an unlikely place: a video game.

If you’re familiar with the video game industry or have a kid who’s a regular adventurer in the virtual realm, you may be aware of the Fallout franchise by game developer Bethesda. This post-apocalyptic role-playing game imagines a society where the transistor was never invented and nuclear fission drives innovation, mixing 1950s-style nostalgia with a warped sense of humor.

What does this have to do with parking? An upcoming location in Fallout 76 invites players to explore Watoga, a “city of the future” built atop a massive automated parking garage. According to the game’s website:

Watoga, The City of the Future, envisions a bustling, walkable metropolis where the streets are clear of illegally parked automobiles, traffic, and hit-and-run accidents. The city is built on top of a massive series of automated parking garage systems, which allow citizens to drop off their cars and store them until they’re needed again. The dozens of silos can store cars safe and secure, out of sight and out of mind!

You may have seen the garage entrances scattered throughout Watoga. It’s a simple process to pick up or drop off your car–just enter your personal ID at one of the many conveniently located terminals and the system will do the rest. You can also order up maintenance or detailing, and even buy a new car without ever talking to a salesman! Of course, these services are no longer available to the citizens of post-apocalyptic Appalachia, but it’s nice to imagine how things used to be.

As we explore the potential of smart, connected cities and look to the future of mobility, the city of Watoga sounds like a dream come true: a safe, walkable environment designed around the user experience, supported by well-integrated parking that goes above and beyond expectations by providing convenient amenities.

Watoga may be fictional but its holistic approach to parking doesn’t have to be. By shifting our mindset away from thinking about parking for a single site and instead considering it in context with the surrounding community, we can find ways for multiple user groups to share parking and meet demand without overbuilding. Likewise, while the size and scope of Watoga’s automated parking facilities may pose a challenge in the real world, many cities are discovering that mechanical and automated parking solutions provide a great deal of value when conditions are right.

Apocalypse aside, Watoga indeed sounds like the kind of city we should aspire to create. What do you think of Fallout’s “City of the Future?”

Matt Davis is associate principal with Watry Design, Inc.

Are You Available?

By Robert Ferrin

No, we aren’t talking about a dating pickup line. In Columbus, Ohio–America’s Smart City–our team is piloting multiple parking availability technologies to improve the customer experience and reduce congestion.

In our dynamic Short North Arts District, the city selected three vendors to test sensing technology during a three-month period this fall and winter. During the pilot, city staff will evaluate each vendor on a number of key factors, including accuracy, ease of installation, integration capabilities with our mobile pay vendor, and data management system ease of use, among other data points. This  pilot is a great way for the city to test new technology in an effort to be innovative and responsive to our customers.

If successful, the city may choose one or more vendors to deploy additional sensors in high-demand parking areas and provide our customers with real-time parking availability information to positively influence their trip planning processes. We are encouraged by our leadership in Columbus to test and innovate and we encourage others to do so as well. Pilot projects such as this can only help raise awareness for our profession and move the industry forward.

Robert Ferrin is assistant director for parking services with the City of Columbus, Ohio.

Mobility Services and Technology

How curb management is part of the smart city and mobility road map.

By Teresa Trussell, CAPP

AS A PARKING INDUSTRY VETERAN, I have been reading this magazine for approximately 1719-09 Mobility services years, and I must say I have never seen more excitement than at this moment over a single topic: curb management. As I read each article, I find myself thinking about the concept of the smart city and smart mobility and how these services relate to technology.

I cannot help but picture curb management as a waypoint on the road map, rather than the destination itself. Curbs did not suddenly just appear—we’ve all been backing into them for years while trying to par­allel park and hoping no one noticed—so why is it just now an issue? The answer is quite simple and takes us all back to our economics 101 class: supply and de­mand. A recent shift to urban and alternative transpor­tation methods as well as the proliferation of smart­phones as a connected resource have resulted in com­peting needs for the curb areas, which can no longer be considered as only parking (or no parking) zones, loading and unloading areas, and utility ­agency-use regions. This shift has pushed cities and parking oper­ations into rethinking their transportation and parking models with a desire to create a dynamic downtown region that’s built around the smart city and smart mo­bility road map.

Defining the Terms

Before we dive into the smart city and mobility road map, it is important to define what smart city and smart mobility means. The first time I read this phrase I thought to myself, “What, were we a dumb city be­fore?” My answer was yes—in a sense!
Smart City

Data has provided cities and operators with the neces­sary information to make informed decisions that would have previously been made on assumptions or manual counts. Having access to this data in real time provides identifiable patterns that allow decision-makers to con­tinually adjust their transportation and parking process­es. This data is a result of technology implementations on both the transportation and parking home fronts.
The International Data Corporation defines a smart city as development based on smart initiatives combined to leverage technology investments across an entire city with common platforms increasing efficiency, data being shared across systems, and IT investments tied to smart missions. A common goal shared from city to city is to improve the lives of its cit­izens and visitors. By combining this common goal and the concept of data, the smart city uses technology to connect various components across the city to derive data and improve the lives of its citizens and visitors.

Smart Mobility

This concept is a new way (or perhaps a return to a former way) of thinking about how we get from point A to point B with an emphasis on moving people rath­er than cars, zero emissions, and a cleaner, safer, and more efficient urban district. These modes of trans­portation include scooters, bicycles, buses, light rail trains, subways, streetcars, taxis, autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles, walking, pedicabs, and ride-share vehicles. Smart mobility is often designed around five key principles:

  • Safety: Reduction of injuries and fatalities and an urban environment that is safely walkable.
  • Clean Technology: Transportation modes focused on zero-emissions.
  • Integration: Connecting the dots of transportation modes from door-to-door with route planning using technology as well as connections with city resources outside of parking and transportation needs.
  • Efficiency: Moving people to their destinations with minimal disruption.
  • Flexibility: Consumers have options regarding modes of transportation that suit their individual needs and preferences.

The link between smart cities and smart mobility is the direct connection between data gleaned from technology in support of the smart mobility concept and ultimately increasing usage of alternative trans­portation options and connect the dots for consumers. Through data usage, apps can allow consumers to plan routes that avoid traffic congestion, locate parking while avoiding congested parking areas, and use various modes of alternative transportation for the first and last miles. Likewise, operators can use this same data to improve safety within the city by identifying an issue be­fore it is problematic—such as changing traffic patterns.

Combined, we have a definition of a smart city using the smart mobility concept as a city that uses technology to connect various components across the city to derive data and improve the lives of its citizens and visitors by offering various forms of transpor­tation options focused on a cleaner, safer, and more efficient environment.

Creating the Smart City and Mobility Road Map
Our world is becoming more urbanized than ever before. By 2050, more than 60 percent of the world’s population is expected to live in cities, and public and private companies, as well as federal, state, and city governments, are getting involved to make the connec­tion between people and the city itself. This includes rethinking the former downtown model. Studies say parkers account for 30 percent of circling traffic. Park­ing apps are addressing this by directing people to avail­able areas. As the focus on smart mobility increases, a shift in the parking model must also occur. Limited land access requires parking outside city regions with a dependency on the first and last mile revolving around smart mobility—or mobility-as-a-service (MaaS).

The objective of MaaS is to provide an alternative to private vehicle use while reducing traffic congestion in a way that is convenient, sustainable, and a cheaper option to traditional transport. When considering the way in which this transforms the downtown districts, a direct competition is created between the increasing city population and the alternative transportation modes, which creates a safety concern in which pedes­trians, bicyclists, autonomous vehicles, and ride-share vehicles compete with the single-occupancy vehicle. The resulting model is to focus the urban area around the smart mobility concept.

Many operations are creating a set of guiding prin­ciples for emerging mobility services and technologies to provide a consistent policy framework of evaluating new mobility services to ensure they align with current city goals as well as assist in shaping future areas of studies, policies, and programs, creating a smart city and smart mobility road map. This is redefining the way our cities will be developed in the future

Components of the Map
The smart city and smart mobility road map are made up of:

  • Mobile Apps: Provide immediate access to data and communication channels, allowing people to effi­ciently conduct business with less interruptions. For example, locate a parking spot while avoiding traffic jams; identify the nearest bus stop, bicycle, or scooter rental; or catch a streetcar while reducing circling traffic patterns.
  • Data and Technology: Using mobile applications and technology advancements, parking operations suddenly have access to large amounts of data that were previously unavailable. This data provides in­sight regarding high-congestion areas and the ability to create a pricing model designed to encourage tran­sit use through proper space utilization, as well as cre­ate a basis for the smart city and mobility platform.
  • Transportation Alternatives (First and Last Mile): Decrease traffic congestion within urban ar­eas with a transportation focus. Mobile apps provide consumers with the ability to park farther away from their intended destination followed by alternative transportation option assessments via their smart­phones. This is an invaluable solution to the issue of limited land access and perceptions of parking shortages.
  • Right-sized Parking: Parking operations are con­sistently challenged while balancing the parking supply and demand equation. Parking planning must meet the goals of the city or operation to include events, but planning for busy times often leaves an excess of parking during standard periods. To right-size parking, data is essential. This is a re­sult of transportation and mobile applications and space-counting technology. Traffic and pedestrian patterns are the key to understanding where parking is needed, how it can be relocated, and where trans­portation modes can be implemented.
  • Land Use and Infrastructure: Through data analysis, efficient land use is identified, promoting a positive financial impact on the city or opera­tion’s infrastructure investment planning as future technologies are considered. Autonomous vehicles, ­electric-vehicle charging stations, and shared-­mobility services are changing the way we think about city parking garage use. Most of these items are currently managed along curbs or ad-hoc areas with personal vehicles occupying large structures in convenient areas. With the model shift, most person­al vehicles will be expected to park in exterior areas while people use smart mobility options to reach the urban area. Garages will consist of items previously managed along curbs, creating smart mobility hubs.
  • Curb Management: As we move shared mobility services away from our curbs, we open the curb areas for a new use that is centered around the smart mo­bility concept while creating a safe environment for transit and pedestrians and freeing space for busi­ness deliveries. While new parking structures can be built, curb availability is limited. Limits on how the curb is used must be addressed as we restructure the transportation and parking environments.
  • Bicycle and Scooter Valet Services: As we ask consumers to consider alternative transportation methods, the use of bicycles and scooters has in­creased dramatically. This has also resulted in large quantities of bicycles and scooters being left haphaz­ardly on sidewalks and in messy clusters. Operators, faced with the need for a quick, easy, and convenient return of these shared items, created the concept of a bicycle and scooter valet service, ideally housed in the mobility hubs mentioned above. Consumers simply drop the bicycle or scooter off to the attendant who takes care of putting it away while the consumer continues about his business. Additionally, a bike service area is available for riders who need to repair a tire or service their bike.
  • Electric and Autonomous Vehicles: With a focus on zero emissions, smart cities will undoubtedly use shared, electric, autonomous vehicles to transport people from one point to another. Consumers will simply call for a ride using their phones, much as we do when using services such as Lyft and Uber. Ad­ditionally, with the anticipated increase in electric vehicle use, charging stations will be provided in the mobility hubs where single occupancy, gas-powered vehicles parked.

The road map will consistently change as technol­ogy advancements occur and as human beings alter their behavior and environmental considerations. However, a foundation for the smart city and mobility road map is certainly identifiable, and the development of mobile applications and smartphone/smartwatch services geared toward the transportation and parking industry is a driving factor that has propelled this new vision. The concept of curb management is only a por­tion of the smart city and smart mobility road map—a part that is dependent on other portions for success in the present as well as in the future.

TERESA TRUSSELL, CAPP, is Midwest sales director of PayByPhone. She can be reached at ttrussell@paybyphone.com.