design thinking

Master of Design Student's Journal

Cursing around searching for a parking spot wasted gas, increase pollution, and frustrates driver short on time? Using wireless sensor network to accurately determine parking vacancies enables cities to decrease congestion and manage their resource more efficiently. 

This interesting article I found, had encouraged me to come up with my design brief. The article says about how circling for parking spot would affect the urban in term of environmental problem, social and economic.

As the world quality of life is depreciated by atmospheric pollution and congested streets, which result in lost time for car users and wasted gas.The European Commission estimate that economic losses due to traffic delays total €150 billion per year in Europe. Moreover, in 2000, the Texas Transportation Institute monitored that the 75 largest metropolitan areas in the United States suffered 3.6 billion hours of vehicle delay cruising the loss of  21.6 billion litres of gas and $67.5 billion in productivity.

The need to search for available parking spaces, especially takes a lengthy periods of cruising around, is a significant contributor to widespread congestion and a major cause of stress for the users. Based on calculations by UCLA professor of urban planning Donald Shoup noted that the cars searching for parking in a small business district in Los Angeles drive an estimated 950,000 miles a year, wasting about 95,000 hours (11 years) of drivers’ time and 47,000 gallons of gasoline which producing 730 tons of CO2 emissions. And in Barcelona, Spain, a million drivers spend an adverage of 20 minutes  everyday looking for a parking spot, producing 2,4000 tons of Carbon Dioxide.

To reduce traffic congestion produced by driver who looking for available parking spots, cities are turning to technologies that can provide accurate information on where to find available parking spaces, thereby minimising delays, helping traffic flow more smoothly, and even enabling drivers to book parking spaces using app on their smartphone or via in-vehicle infotainment systems.

This type pf solution works like an indoor parking structure system, which uses ultrasonic sensors, GPS receiver, and cellular network to find empty parking spaces and then relays this information to driver using internet maps, navigation system, and display installed in the garage. These systems are requiring sensor installation on top of the vehicles, and must be positioned in rages of the data receivers. But when moving to a city scenario, this approach is not possible. Wiring the parking lots in a city incurs significant by other vehicles or objects near the lot under control. In addition, parking sensor must be robust enough to be buries under parking spaces and handle wide fluctuations in environmental conditions.

As an alternative to conventional wired systems used in indoor parking structures, Libelium developed smart parking sensor technology. The concept calls for deployment of a wireless sensor network with sensor placed inside the concrete floor, one per parking spot. These battery-powered sensor detect the arrival and departure of vehicles within the parking lot and transmit the information wirelessly to different panels displaying the number of places available. 


Alicia, A, 2011, ‘Wireless Sensors  Platform Eases Quest For Parking, Industrial Embedded System  articles/wireless-platform-eases-quest-parking/