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Back to basics

Smart parking, isn’t it just a case of botoxing the status quo?

Smart parking is often regarded as a poster solution towards efficient, smart city living
Smart parking is often regarded as a poster solution towards efficient, smart city living

Getting to the bottom of things is never an easy task. I’m experiencing it on the physical plane at present, as I am currently halfway through the dismal task of stripping layers of wallpaper from the walls in my hallway. It’s a slow, tedious job (sigh, sigh) even with an electric steamer.


It gets you thinking.


One of our highlighted news stories about traffic intelligence has got me pondering about smart solutions to traffic. Smart parking in particular, because along with connected lighting, it’s often regarded as a poster solution in the drive towards efficient, smart city living.


According to Research and Markets’ Smart Parking in Western Europe 2016-2020 report (, the smart parking market in Western Europe is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13.7 per cent during the period 2016-2020, fuelled principally by increased adoption of smart parking sensors. Sensors strategically placed in parking places track the availability of parking spaces and transmit the information along with price details directly to drivers on their smartphones.

Smart parking, too, is credited with reducing traffic congestion, carbon emissions, and other pollutants.


But the question that I’m asking: is smart parking smart at all? OK, it makes our lives more efficient so we can drive straight to a parking spot rather than driving around for hours looking for one. It provides data which can, for example, let planners know if they really need to provide additional car parking spaces in a city by measuring the optimisation of an existing space, but really, isn’t it just a case of botoxing the status quo? Smart parking doesn’t get to the heart of the matter, which is there are just too many vehicles on the roads.


Isn’t it about looking beyond car dependency and starting to create a culture where mobility means advanced, connected, personalised public transport, shared ownership, cycling and walking? Like the issue of waste, it’s not about producing more recycling facilities to cope with a growing problem; it’s about ensuring there’s less to start with.


Melony Rocque

Executive editor


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