A recent blog article at Metro Magazine called “Transit Dispatches” (click here) covered a very interesting topic — the difficulty of parking in urban environments.
From their article:
Smart parking is rapidly emerging as a popular term for applying new technology to an old problem: the urban parking crunch. Virtually all city drivers have suffered through the truly miserable experience of circling downtown blocks over and over in search of an open spot.
The necessary evil of “cruising” for parking comes with unnecessarily high costs, as experts such as UCLA Professor Donald Shoup have pointed out. After completing a one-year study in Los Angeles, Shoup found that “the search for curb parking in this 15-block district created about 950,000 excess vehicle miles of travel — equivalent to 38 trips around the earth or four trips to the moon.” This translates to 47,000 gallons of wasted gasoline, a pricey sum these days, and 73 tons of excess carbon dioxide.
Yet there is reason for hope. The Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) industry has been developing smart parking systems that can alleviate many of these costs by providing drivers, businesses, and metropolitan authorities the information they need to reduce wasted time, energy and money.
The article continues by describing smart phone apps, integrated solutions being considered by car manufacturers and more. It even goes as far as to offer pointers to city planners on how to price parking during peak times when parking spaces are in high demand.
If you have a fleet that is frustrated by the hunt for urban parking, I highly recommend reading the entire article by Scott F. Belcher.