Overcoming urban pitfalls

Overcoming urban pitfalls

This month saw Smart Parking feature in the July issue of Siemens customer magazine 'Visions'. For those of you who do not speak Czech we have translated the full article into English below.


Click on image to read the full article (available in Czech only).


Most drivers do not enjoy driving around the city, heavily contributing the problem is the stress of finding available parking. In many major cities there are less parking spaces than vehicles on the streets looking for a space. A driver looking to park must travel an average of 4.5km before it finds an available space. If we convert these kilometers in to CO² it is at least 630g. Such vehicles in the city every day is already quite significant.

Car moves on average

Every citizen of the Czech Republic drives on average 6500km per year with a daily average movement of 18km. From this distance, about a quarter falls in the search for a suitable parking place. Drivers must deal with on a daily basis not only complicated traffic situations in the overcrowded urban centers, but where to quickly and safely park their car. And among us are those who because of their motion handicap need to find a parking space absolutely as close to their destination.

Siemens in cooperation with their trading partners and within their own development base are constantly looking for new technological tools to make parking in cities easier. Smart Parking offers navigation for available parking spaces using sensors placed in the roadway. Through the use of a cell phone application, the network of sensors not only informs drivers, in real-time, of available spaces but also navigates them to a free parking space or even a nearby hospital/petrol station/etc. The new guidance system also reduces driver concerns about unpaid parking by allowing them to pay for parking or extend the parking time remotely.

As added value the clever system also provides parking operators with a back office monitoring and reporting tool as well as an early warning for unpaid parking allowing the operator to achieve greater enforcement efficiency and greater use of parking spaces.

Resistant against adverse effects

Each parking sensor continues to work effortlessly regardless of weather condition. It works on the principle of infrared radiation, wherein in the event the infrared signal is blocked in the winter season, for example, under snow, detection takes place through electromagnetic induction. Resistance to temperature fluctuations moves from -10 ° C to +55 ° C.

Wireless transmission of information to/from the sensor ensures internal antenna equipment life is relatively long and the battery can keep the sensor in operation for 5-7 years (depending on usage) then it is of course possible to replace it.

The sensor can resist well to negative mechanical effects. Its domed part positively tested for loads of up to 10,000kg. In addition, the implementation of the entire device eliminates the risk of physical damage during the winter months and maintenance.

Other significant features of this the system includes, for example, the integrated RFID chip, through which you can ensure special parking permits for the disabled or residents. Also important is the flexibility and the dynamics of parking charges that the sensory network offers. Parking times and fees can be continuously edited, depending on the current traffic situation in the city.

Parking under the radar supervision

However, the development continues, Siemens have developed the "smart parking" project, to which bears the name of Advanced Parking Management. Already three years on with its team and intensive works of Marcus Zwick from Siemens Mobility division.

In real terms, this state of the art parking system began testing last summer in Berlin. Yet, while it covers just one Street, the goal is, of course, that driver would be able to obtain via a mobile device information and timing on current the State of the parking areas in City streets.

Monitoring Parking

How will this new parking system work in city street traffic?

On street lighting or building façade mounted radar sensors will be placed to track parking areas day and night and report the information about their availability. City administration offices will collate this information and transmit it to providers of software applications, which is reconstructed to what perhaps as a form so that the driver can easily evaluate and identify parking availability.

Radar sensors of this system have a lower resolution when compared to regular monitoring cameras, however, it is in this case the advantage, because you can get only the schematic view, so it does not affect the right to protection of personal data. These sensors are also not influenced by the weather and their operation is more reliable than in ground sensors.

Simple principle

The principle on which the device works is simple. The sensor is about the size of an adult’s fist and emits microwaves to a predetermined space. If the waves encounters an obstacle, it is reflected back to the sensor, through a special algorithm it then calculates whether the object detected on the site is parking and if so, how big and what is the position.

An important distinguishing feature of this system is its ability for self-improvement. Advanced Parking Management is registered, whether parking spaces are occupied in regular cycles - for example, daily during certain hours, or only some days. Marcus Zwick’s team assumes that this information can be used in the future to optimize placement of parking areas in the city and also flexible parking charges reflecting occupancy of car parks at a specific time of day or day of the week. Upon evaluation of the data, City leaders can evaluate the parking spread between different parts of the city, which should contribute substantially to the traffic flow.

City ​​lights

In large cities, however, traffic continues unchanged even at night. Everything is still moving with plenty of lights from sunset until sunrise.

Lighting systems have long an integral part of the urban infrastructure, ensure traffic safety adding luster sights, which the city wants to brag about. Increasing energy prices, however, are at the forefront and cities ask how do they reduce financial demands of public lighting, but in such a way as not to the expense of quality and safety?

It is certainly more than a mere compensation from conventional lamps to a modern LED source. Intelligent lighting systems should be able to control the lighting according to current transportation needs. Take into account the aging lighting infrastructure, its operation becomes more expensive – and energy consumption increases as does maintenance and replacement costs.


Of course, new lighting fixtures can bring significant financial savings - up to 70%. Contribute to it, for example, lamp Siteco SL10 by Siemens, with LED lamps. The return on such investments yet it is remarkably short.

The energy savings are substantial. Another bad habit is that many cities still regulate the intensity of street lighting by night hours, not according to the current traffic density. It often happens that streets at certain times are completely empty and the maximum intensity and range of illumination is therefore unnecessary. In such situations you can use sufficiently sophisticated monitoring system to prevent over illumination.

In connection with traffic monitoring center SITRAFFIC concert and lighting management via Lumen is possible to adapt illuminance to current traffic operation. If the measuring station only detects a small number of vehicles, lighting is proportionally reduced. In a pilot project, which takes place in Düsseldorf, we have managed to reduce electricity energy consumption by 30%. This solution even intrigued the experts so much that in 2012 it won the German Telematics Award.

Outside of Düsseldorf we have already carried out similar modernization, for example, in the Sliven, Bulgaria (consumption electrical energy decreased by 68%), Trencin (achieved savings of 35%), Poprad (Achieved savings of 48%), Bratislava (Modernized 30,000 lamps, other 12,000 displaced, saving 50%) or in the Moravian Třebové (upgrade 618 lamps).