Universities face a number of challenges in today’s climate, rising drop-out rates, reductions in funding, the never-ending quest for a car parking space. Whether you arrive at 8am, 9:30 or 11, you can predict there’ll be a long line of cars waiting to catch a lucky spot before someone else.
Not only that, universities face under-utilisation, lack of data on usage for transport planning and new service design, unwanted vehicles posing security threats at night, visitors not knowing where to park on open days, the list goes on. All this while finding the balance between highly utilised parking and sustainability initiatives.
So when the odds suggest that you’re more likely to win the lottery than find a space for your car, how can today’s universities read between the lines to find a solution to a problem that affects staff, students and visitors every day?
Smart Parking systems work by obtaining information about available parking spaces in a particular geographic area and processing real-time data to direct vehicles to available spaces. It involves using IoT sensors, real-time data collection, and mobile-phone-enabled automated payment systems that allow people to reserve parking in advance or very accurately predict where they are likely find a spot.
Let’s take a look at how a smart parking system could benefit staff, students and visitors in different situations…
Alice, Economics Student
Final year student Alice has an exam in the morning and the last thing she wants is to be worrying about wasting time looking for a parking space. She uses the smart parking app to find the car park with the shortest walking distance to the exam hall. Not only that, in the morning when she opens the app, she can find the exact space that is available, stress free.
Alice comes out of her exam to a notification on her smartphone reminding her where her car is parked. More time to prepare for the next one.
Sarah, Professor of Linguistics
Sarah has been using the smart parking app for a while and it now knows which is her preferred car park when she delivers a class at 9am in the Humanities building on Wednesdays. But today, the car park is unusually busy, the smart parking app suggests using an alternative car park that is just an extra 2 minutes’ walk than her usual one.
The app tells Sarah she might want to take an umbrella as it looks like it might rain.
Mohammed is visiting an open day at the university with his daughter who is applying for a place here. He is disabled and needs special access from a car park that is only a few minutes from the open day reception. All disabled parking spaces are logged in the smart parking system meaning the app can direct Mohammed to a specific parking space.
He also uses the app to find a lunch spot so he and his daughter an explore the local area.
Karl, Security Officer
The system uses automatic number plate recognition technology which logs cars coming in and out of the car parks. If a vehicle has repeatedly entered a car park at night, this will automatically send an alert to Karl who can investigate further, rather than relying on scheduled security checks. This proactive approach to security keeps unwanted visitors at bay while saving time and money for the security team.
Previously, universities looking to address parking challenges with emerging technologies had to develop custom applications. Today, there are a number of ready-made options that they can adopt, including our own ANS smart parking app. Built using Microsoft Cloud technology, it gives organisations the ability to analyse data in real time from a number of data sources to optimize their approach to parking.
The insights gained from the advanced reporting capabilities enable universities to identify inefficiencies, so that they can reduce operating costs, streamline processes and make more informed decisions on where to direct their parking strategy.
By deploying our app, you can refine operations to gain an understanding of the bottlenecks and challenges your staff and students face like never before.
Take a look at our smart parking blueprint to discover how you can streamline day-to-day car park logistics with a hands-off, hassle-free solution that not only delivers on expectations but exceeds them.