Parking guidance systems are designed to facilitate the vehicles circulation within controlled parking areas, by presenting drivers with dynamic information about the occupancy of parking spaces: a car counting system. It is a very useful tool for drivers because they can easily get information about the amount and location of available parking spots within the venue, avoid driving in circles and quickly find a vacant space.
Parking Guidance Systems (PGS) combine traffic monitoring, onsite communication, processing and variable message sign (VMS) technologies to provide a comprehensive service.
The most common solutions allow drivers to find unoccupied parking spaces and to locate their car when returning to the vehicle. To do so, parking guidance systems usually employ adaptive lighting sensors, parking space indicators, and indoor positioning systems as well as “Find Your Car” function at the pay station.
Parking Guidance Systems improve drivers’ parking experience, guiding them in finding a vacant spot, and often in locating their car when coming back. VMS signs facilitate timely information updates and reduce the need for costly and more labor-intensive fixed message signs.
Parking Guidance systems can be used not only within a single parking facility, but also on a certain area with parking access control, in order to direct drivers to car parks where occupancy levels are low. The goal is to reduce search time, which in turn decreases traffic congestion, with related benefits to air pollution.
Parking Guidance systems are also powerful tools for parking operators. Through yield management and dynamic pricing they can adjust the parking tariffs based on supply and demand, or other business criteria, such as “premium parker” programs and loyalty initiatives.
Typically, dynamic pricing is based on the parking occupancy: it is enabled by PGS and software, taking into account real-time changes in demand and supply of parking spaces. However, it can also be activated by different factors based on the business requirements, enacted by the operator. For example, when the car park is empty, the lowest hourly rate is charged (preferably). As the car park begins to fill up, the hourly rate will increase.
Dynamic pricing in parking is believed to be one of the cornerstones of smart parking, as it offers a very actionable, technology-enabled way to measure demand and adjust prices accordingly.