Parking search causes up to 30 percent of inner-city traffic. To find a free parking lot, motorists travel up to five kilometers and take up to twenty minutes.

Challenge: Less traffic due to targeted parking search

According to a traffic analysis by Inrix Research, motorists spend an average of 41 hours a year searching for parking spaces. According to a Prognos study, this summed up nationwide to 560 million hours and represents a gigantic waste of time and a considerable burden on inner-city traffic.

The problem is that searching for a parking space is a rather random process and finding a space at the roadside is pure luck. Parking garage operators offer smartphone apps that provide information about the current occupancy, but these are isolated applications that are only used to a limited extent.

What is missing is a uniform system that already tells the driver on the way to the city where the best chances are to find a parking space.

Solution: Digital infrastructure for better parking space utilization

In 2021, Hamburg hosts the international congress Intelligent Transport Systems 2021 (ITS) where the city will present solutions for the urban mobility and logistics of tomorrow. Included are intelligent solutions for an effective parking space management to curb the annoyance associated with parking search traffic.

Responsible institution for this project is the State Transport Authority (LBV), which already in 2016 took the first step towards solving the problem. In the future, state-of-the-art mobile technology will be used to make the parking situation transparent and minimize parking lot search traffic.

The project is titled “Digital Parking”. Hamburg has concluded a cooperation agreement with T-Systems. The focus is on the smartphone app “Park and Joy” from T-Systems, which is being used in Hamburg since October 2017 . The aim of the project is to equip several thousand parking spaces in the public area with sensors by 2021. Private parking spaces and parking garages will also be integrated into the app. As a result, the driver will not only find a free parking space in less time, but also be able to also pay for it via the app.

T-Systems uses a variety of different traffic data to increase the transparency of the current parking situation. At the moment this mainly includes data on the utilization of public parking spaces. In the future, information about parking garages will be added. A task that was tackled by the LBV in 2017 and will be rapidly expanded by the time of the ITS.

The technology is based on robust sensors that are embedded directly in the road. They use a combination of magnetic field and radar detection to detect the presence of a vehicle. By the end of 2019, at least 100 such sensors will be installed in Hamburg’s Old Town, Neustadt, Wandsbek and St. Georg. Until the ITS, it should be several thousand in the entire city.

Potential: One app for easy parking in the city

In addition to the parking sensors in the street, numerous parking machines will also be utilized to provide data for accurate parking space forecasts. But there are still some technical hurdles to overcome.

The payment of public parking by smartphone is possible since 2017. Gradually all parking garages and private parking spaces in the city will be integrated into the system so that only one app is required to display the current parking situation.

In the final stage, it should even be possible not only to reserve a parking space in the parking garage while approaching the city, but also to organize the onward journey with the public transport system via the app. That would be an important prerequisite for the integrated interaction of all modes of transport: The driver parks outside the congested inner city and jumps directly into the train that brings him to his destination.

The T-Systems “Park and Joy” app is an important step towards the digital city and Hamburg is the pioneer nationwide. In the future, motorists will only have to enter their destination on the way to the city and will then be guided to their destination in a time-saving and fastest way.

Digital Parking
in Numbers

11,000
public parking lots with parking ticket machines in Hamburg
20
Minutes of time to find a parking space
3
Districts in the test phase
1
Smartphone App for Park & Ride

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