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There’s a huge buzz at the moment about smart cities—cities that use the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and big data to revolutionize urban life and deliver on a promise of efficiency and convenience. And at the very heart of it all is a fundamental rethinking of the way cities handle parking; a smart city without smart parking would be missing a key ingredient in transportation management. For hotel managers, this trend in rethinking urban design offers a chance at additional revenue streams by integrating your available parking areas with the smart city plan for smart parking.

Street congestion is one of the top problems that smart cities seek to solve, and smart parking is one of the best ways to solve it. Think of how much city traffic comes from people slowly circling blocks looking for parking, or from someone double parking while they run in somewhere, or from someone learning to parallel park in real time while a line of traffic forms behind them. When you start to remove these scenarios from the streets, city traffic starts to look different.

Smart parking approaches come in a couple of different flavors. Some use new technology to reinvent the standard parking garage from the ground up, maximizing the number of vehicles that can fit into the minimum amount of square footage. Others simply apply new technology to standard parking lots to maximize their value. It’s this latter group that will likely provide the most value to hotel managers, as they allow you to rent out unused parking spaces in your hotel’s existing garage and generate revenue from an otherwise empty space.

Think of it this way: One end of an application tracks how many available spaces are in your parking garage at any given time. On the other end, a car commuter opens up the app when they’re looking for a place to park. If they use one of your available spaces, you get paid. You can even add a dynamic pricing mechanism to adjust price based on demand. Simple, right? But that’s exactly the sort of tech-driven simplicity that powers so much of the smart city experience.

It all adds up to be pretty meaningful as well. Drivers can feel better about where they left their car, knowing that it’s in a safe place, and that they’re not misinterpreting the city’s arcane parking signage and risking a pricey parking ticket. Having more spaces available can also help stimulate the neighborhood economy, as people are more likely to visit without the deterrent of difficult parking. And cutting down on congestion and traffic cuts down on fuel usage, meaning smart parking is smart for the environment.

Then there are all the network effects gained as AI starts churning through the data gathered from smart parking initiatives. This includes much more accurate traffic information (fed both by smart parking sensors and info from smart traffic lights) which can help city planners have a better picture of how traffic patterns change throughout different times of day and year. This in turn helps produce future solutions for improving traffic flows in and around the city. Space optimization is another offshoot of this; square footage is at a premium in urban environments, which is why builders often work upwards instead of outwards. Parking garages take up a lot of space but when hotels and apartment buildings are able to use their private lots for public smart parking it reduces the number of parking garages needed in an area. This efficiency lets city planners find smarter uses for the space.

There’s no doubt that smart cities are going to introduce some pretty exciting lifestyle changes over the next few years. But it all starts with reinventing parking, clearing out traffic congestion and providing a simple quality of life enhancement for urbanites and commuters alike.


Autor(en)/Author(s): Jeremy Zucker

Quelle/Source: Hotel Management, 04.11.2021

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