Last December, the city began embedding wireless sensors in parking spaces that transmit data through the city's Wi-Fi network to determine when a vehicle is occupying the space and when it is vacant. Drivers can use the information gathered from the sensors to find available parking using a smartphone app called Parker. The idea is that if drivers spend less time looking for a parking space, overall traffic congestion in the city can be reduced, said
Since beginning the project,
"We're pretty intrigued in general of marrying wireless technologies and sensors in general because we think that in the future there will be more applications than just smart parking," Moura said. "We think, for example, there are opportunities to put sensors on things like water systems, sewer systems, pumps, other infrastructure-related facilities that could give us real-time information on if there's a leak or a break or something, so that you don't have to have maintenance people monitoring these things in person."
Moura said smaller-scale expansion plans for smart parking could hypothetically result in combining the sensor technology with more traditional means of directing drivers to parking spaces, like wayfinding signs.
"Maybe what we need to do after the pilot and thinking about what comes next is perhaps creating some marriage of the technology and the traditional signage," Moura said.
The parking app was launched in partnership with Streetline, and
John Baekelmans, senior director and CTO of
"It also helps to establish this ubiquitous network for other parties to come in and play," Baekelmans said.
(c)2013 Government Technology
Visit Government Technology at www.govtech.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services