Taking Smart Cities to a New Level

Three Major Benefits of Automated Parking.

By Ian Todd

We live in an increasingly connected world. Our daily lives are surrounded by voice-enabled thermostats to stay comfortable at home, smart-sensor watches to monitor our health and self-driving vehicles to transport us safely.

Today’s cities are no different. A core technology infrastructure is forming what many are calling “Smart Cities.” These smart cities utilize an interconnected framework of data, technology and communication networks to improve the overall quality of life for residents and visitors alike. For example, the city of Copenhagen “connects parking systems, traffic lights, buildings, smart metering and charging systems for electric vehicles to direct traffic in real time, and optimize energy use [based on] fuel prices, traffic movement and weather,” according to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

In New York City, a pilot program is collecting data to manage trash pickup. ASME reported the city’s waste containers were “fitted with sensors to monitor when the cans are full and relay that information to disposal crews.”

Overall, smart cities are making great strides in improving the economic prosperity, environmental health and safety and convenience of those who live and work there. And a key part of this is parking.

Parking plays an integral role in the future of our cities, especially in apartment buildings, multi-family housing and other real estate developments. Availability of parking can be the deciding factor for residents when signing a lease on an apartment or for property developers looking to build or retrofit a space.

It’s time we find a better way to park. Here’s why.

Benefits of Automated Parking
Automated parking systems, designed by companies like Westfalia Technologies, are taking smart city living to the next level. These systems use advanced robotic technology to park and retrieve cars inside a secure storage area. Simply put, automated parking makes urban life more convenient, safe, and sustainable, and provides greater flexibility for real estate developers.

Maximize Space & ROI: One of the most valuable assets for urban living today is land. It’s hard to come by. Automated parking is designed to create elegant solutions to these urban planning issues by eliminating the space needed for ramps, walkways, and elevators. Automated parking systems provide 60% more parking capacity using less land. The benefits? More aesthetically pleasing design options coupled with maximum storage capacity—freeing up space for additional residential or commercial real estate.

Safety & Convenience: The secure vehicle storage area enables a safe, easy-to-use parking experience that alleviates the driver’s need to spend time walking and maneuvering through dark parking garages. Using an app or automated identification system to access the outer doors, the driver simply enters the garage transfer area and exits the vehicle so the automated system can safely transfer the vehicle to a secure parking space. When the driver is ready to retrieve the vehicle, the automated system delivers it to the user. Now, drivers can even use parking apps to track and retrieve their vehicle, eliminating waiting time within the facility.

Sustainability: In a traditional parking facility, drivers spend valuable time circling the garage to find a space to park. This contributes to added idling time and excess emissions. With automated parking, vehicles are parked with engines off, reducing emissions by up to 80%. As more cities aim for net-zero emissions, automated parking is a critical piece to reaching these sustainability goals. Coupled with the need for less building space, automated parking increases the opportunity for green space, a huge attraction for residents and visitors in crowded cities.

Additionally, automated parking systems provide the necessary infrastructure for electric vehicle charging. Today’s automated parking facilities can automatically charge vehicles as they are stored. As more EVs hit the road and sustainability goals expand, our cities will need smart technology to keep up.

The Future is Now
We’re already seeing the benefits of smarter, more connected cities. Automated parking is the perfect opportunity for builders and city planners to lead their communities to a more efficient, safer, and greener future. Let’s get started.

Ian Todd serves as the Director of Automated Parking, Westfalia Technologies, Inc. (westfaliaparking.com).