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A Smart Parking System makes use of sensors or other technologies to determine the availability of parking lots in cities. This information can be shared with drivers, reducing the time spent on looking for a parking lot, and thus traffic congestion. Additionally, municipalities can get precise and updated information about the traffic situation, allowing them to align parking tariffs with transportation goals. The system can also let the customer pay and reserve a parking lot, guiding them to free spots, and even park the customer's car. .


The main goal of the Smart Parking System is to help people find a free parking lot without driving around the city searching. Thereby, it decreases the traffic and simultaneously the congestion within the city. Besides that, the solution achieves the benefits listed below. Whereas some benefits are likely to be fulfiled with a basic implementation of the solution, the fulfilment of the potential benefits depends on the functions implemented in a specific project.

Main Benefits
  • Reducing GHG emissions

  • Reducing local air pollution

  • Improving traffic management

  • Improving parking

  • Enhanced data collection


Functions help you to understand what the products can do for you and which ones will help you achieve your goals.
Each solution has at least one mandatory function, which is needed to achieve the basic purpose of the solution, and several additional functions, which are features that can be added to provide additional benefits.

Mandatory Functions
    monitoring parking lots

    products that control occupancy and length of stay in the parking lots

    informing driver about parking possibilities

    Products that inform the customer about free parking lots

Potential Functions
    paying for parking lot

    products that enable to pay for the service

    resereving parking lot

    Products that enable booking a parking lot

    guiding driver to free parking lot

    Products that show the way to free parking lots

    parking customers' car

    Products that park the customer’s car automatically

Business Model

Implementation Facts

Implementation costs: 250,000 - 500,000 € for two parking garages and five open parking lots


Market Overview

The average city driver spends 6 to 14 minutes looking for a parking place, and in large cities, the time is 18 to 20 minutes. It is estimated that this time spent searching for a parking lot represents 30% of congestion on city streets. Parking fees are already part of the cities’ revenues. Implementing a Smart Parking System enables cities to control the traffic better, to apply differed tariffs according to different areas and hours, and to use per minute rates - instead of flat rates - thanks to new billing models.

 (Shoup, 2007; Shoup, 2008; IBM, 2011)


Marketable Outcomes

Smart Parking offers various benefits for citizens as well as for the operator and the municipality. Depending on the details of the solution implemented, the main benefits can vary. The following graphic shows the operation of a Smart Parking System including the matching benefits the solution offers.

  • Decreased Congestion: As free parking spots can be found easily, the need to drive around in a city to find a parking lot is obviated and the traffic congestions decrease
  • Time-savings and less stress: Citizens can save time as they are guided to a free parking spot straight, that also reduces the level of stress when driving in cities
  • Flexible pricing models: Due to exact monitoring of occupancy of parking spots, prices can be adapted easily. Current implementations show that on average that leads to decreased prices and increased utilization of paid parking spots. Overall that leads to an increased revenue for the operator. 
  • Increased personal efficiency: As all parking spots are monitored in a Smart Parking System there is less need for patrols and the capture-rate still increases

(Shoup, 2007; Shoup, 2008; IBM, 2011)

Driving Factors

Supporting Infrastructure

No big infrastructural development is required, as sensors and cameras can be installed in current city infrastructure. 

A stable internet connection is required for sending and receiving information.

Government Initiatives

A few years ago, cities like Barcelona, Birmingham, Braunschweig, and Manchester have started to implement pilot projects for smart parking.

(Pichardo, n/d)

Legal Requirements


There is no European regulation regarding smart parking, as it is usually the city's responsibility to regulate parking. For example, some cities like Zurich and Hamburg, have limited the number of parking spaces in the city centre. Therefore, if a new parking place is built off-street, an on-street place should be eliminated. Cities have also regulations regarding the parking time, tariffs, parking zones, and users’ restrictions (Residents, disabled, etc.).

(ITDP, 2011)


Use Cases

Parking Management System

With the vision of transforming the parking policy from normative numbers, a more demand driven optimum solution was developed using ICT technologies to improve the user experience. The system is aimed at increasing the occupancy of parking lots.

Smart taxi stand system in Barcelona

The Smart Taxi Pilot in the city of Barcelona makes it possilbe to provide taxi drivers and taxi clients with real time information about taxi availability at each taxi stand through a mobile app.

Digital Parking Management: ParkingSpotter

MHP is testing its self-developed ParkingSpotter as part of the Living LaB innovation network in Ludwigsburg. The aim of the pilot project is to reduce the amount of traffic in the cul-de-sac, thus reducing the risk of pedestrians, reducing exhaust fumes, saving time for those looking for a parking

Green parking index in combination with car sharing pool with EV

The Green parking index in Stockholm is designed to encourage alternative forms of transport, thus reducing the demand for the private parking places which must be provided when building new and renovating old housing in Stockholm.

Mobility Station in Mülheim

The Mobility stations in Mülheim provide commuters and residents of the busy district with a location, where they can easily find various alternative transport options. The aim is to encourage behavioral change from using cars towards more active modes of transport like walking and cycling. 

Adaptive parking management based on energy efficiency and occupancy

The Municipality of Madrid designed a smart parking management scheme, including giving priority to HOVs and clean vehicles, and specific parking regulations to encourage good and sustainable urban delivery operations.

Smart and flexible parking using new technology

The city of Stockholm is piloting two semi-automatic systems for on-street parking surveillance.

Shared e-mobility system in Milan

Milan’s shared e-mobility system includes: e-cars, e-bikes, e-logistics vehicles, smart parking, e-vehicle charging, and condominium e-car sharing.

City of Tequila gears up for a smart future

Culture, heritage, and a unique national drink. The Mexican town of Tequila has already captured the world’s attention. But now it’s about to become famous for a completely different reason: the town is going digital. By 2040, it doesn’t just want to be a smart town, it wants to be a Smart City.

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