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Smart Parking unlocks unexpected benefits for the community

AI-enabled sensors empower a parking solution that can boost revenues while providing a host of other benefits

Parking lot

Parking is a familiar headache. Like death and taxes, parking frustrations can feel inevitable, but the problems go well beyond our personal annoyance. Although it varies, around 30% of unnecessary traffic is attributed to drivers hunting for parking spots. In just three countries – the US, the UK and Germany – this is estimated to have wasted up to 6.8 billion hours and caused up to 28 billion metric tonnes of CO2 emissions. Worse still, the inefficient use of parking resources costs money directly, with approximately $149 billion a year in lost revenue from inefficient use of parking assets.1 

“The easiest way to think about it is that the parking has been largely the same for 100 years,” says David Parker, COO of Cleverciti. “There's a space in front of a business on a street, and you go and find it on your own and the city or owner of that real estate has no idea if anyone’s there, they don't know when they came or when they left. They don't even know if they paid unless they send someone to go check.

“The easiest way to think about it is that the parking has been largely the same for 100 years.”

- David Parker, COO, Cleverciti

“We use the analogy of a hotel. Imagine you want to check in, and first the front desk agent has to go knock on every door to see which room is available. And the manager has no way to know which room has or has not paid, unless they, too, go check every room. That hotel would never survive.”

The good news is that technology has enabled a revolution in parking systems, and Rogers has teamed up with Cleverciti to bring it to Canadians.

A single solution to improve convenience, safety, sustainability – and revenues

“Cleverciti solves parking search by understanding accurately the real time occupancy status of every parking space and then by guiding drivers to those spaces,” says Parker. Guidance can be provided by a phone app or by digital signs that guide drivers turn by turn to a free space. “This ensures that 100% of drivers can take advantage of the actual parking occupancy data, and have the maximum impact on traffic congestion, on emissions and on parking revenues for the city.”

This is the beauty of the Cleverciti solution – in taking the frustration out of parking, it also helps reduce traffic and vehicle emissions, while at the same time helping the city maximize income from parking.

This is made possible by the high-tech overhead sensors at the heart of the Cleverciti solution. The sensors combine edge-computing Artificial Intelligence (AI) with the knowledge of millions of vectors defining occupied and empty parking spaces. Additional machine learning continuously improves the accuracy of the network of sensors as they learn from each other. “The sensors constantly analyze the many properties of each parking space,” says Parker, “Taking into consideration, for instance, different ground properties and conditions, and identifying the size and shape of any car occupying the space.  The many additional special cases that may occur, from a truck driving by to a pile of leaves to a stroller being pushed through a parking space, can be differentiated through the ongoing addition of knowledge vectors to Cleverciti’s unique AI parking library.”

Cleverciti employs something called a federated or neural network deep learning model. “We have sensors distributed all over the world monitoring a wide variety of parking spaces. Each sensor has additional insights on its unique conditions, which are later shared with the whole network,” explains Parker. “This results in unmatched reliability and precision of the parking data. The confidence of the drivers in the data they receive is of course essential for the success of a smart parking system.”

“The confidence of the drivers in the data they receive is of course essential for the success of a smart parking system.”

Any solution that involves sensors in a public place has to deal with privacy concerns. To ensure privacy is maintained, Cleverciti designed their system so that all of the processing happens at the edge. “The AI does all the analysis directly in the sensor,” says Parker, “And then simply sends the GPS coordinates of the four corners of each parking space and the current status of that space to the cloud.”

Benefits that go far beyond the car

It is no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic hurt municipal parking revenues, with far fewer people using city parking resources. The question now is how to get those revenues back. Smart parking, designed to help increase parking revenues even before the pandemic, can have a much bigger impact now.

“Smart parking, designed to help increase parking revenues even before the pandemic, can have a much bigger impact now.”

But the benefits go well beyond revenues, and even beyond parking. Making it easier to park on city streets can help local businesses by encouraging people to go back to shopping locally. Parker points out that municipal governments are trying to “create the most dynamic, vital city that they can, and one of the ways to encourage that is through things like reducing traffic congestion, noise and air pollution, making the streets more peaceful.”

This has an obvious positive impact on activities like outdoor dining, but it turns out that minimizing parking search also makes the streets safer. “Parking can actually be one of the most dangerous activities,” says Parker, “Since drivers are distracted while looking for a space.”

Less search means less traffic, which means lower emissions. Less time spent looking for parking also gives people time back to do more productive things. In Parker’s words, there are a huge number of things that “before entering the parking industry, I never realized could be improved by solving parking search.”

Rogers and Cleverciti are excited to bring these benefits to communities across Canada.

Next steps

To learn how smart parking technology can make your community safer and more sustainable while helping boost revenues at the same time, contact a Rogers for Business representative.

This post is part of a series on transforming cities with smart technology. Check out the related posts here.



Stats are combined from US, UK & Germany; sources: Inrix Parking Pain Study ( & Donald Shoup, The High Cost of Free Parking (