Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions
Case Study

Efficient parking space management in the smart city

Better parking thanks to parking space sensors

What if...

  • ...you could shift up to 30 percent of downtown traffic (those looking for a parking) over to local public transit?
  • ...you could make the use of traffic monitoring more efficient?
  • ...you could set dynamic pricing for parking lots?
  • ...you could control the use of parking infrastructure in your city in real time?
  • ...you could derive precise data from the actual usage of the traffic infrastructure for city planning purposes?
crowded street parking in an urban city

Cars looking for parking and their associated emissions, parking violators, unevenly utilized parking lots and exceeded parking limits – stationary traffic presents countless challenges for cities. The new Bosch parking spot sensor makes it possible for cities to efficiently manage parking spaces. The use of parking sensors lowers costs, increases fee revenue and lays the foundation for innovative services for the public and the economy.

Parking Sensor Concept – Free or Taken?

Parking sensor solutions are based on a concept that is as simple as it is ingenious: each individual parking space is equipped with a sensor that checks whether a space is free or taken – almost in real time. This information is transmitted electronically to a central platform that evaluates the data and then initiates further steps. The newly developed parking sensor from Bosch bundles all of the necessary functions into a compact housing – cars can even drive over it. The manufacturer has demonstrated an accuracy of more than 95% in numerous field tests with over 50 vehicle types and thousands of parking maneuvers. In about 25 European cities, pilot projects and rolled-out series installations are confirming the performance ability of the sensors in real-world operation.

cars driving in the smart city of Singapore

Smart parking applications

Parking sensors are used in countless application scenarios. Intelligent parking guidance systems are able to significantly reduce the traffic looking for parking. At peak times, up to a third of traffic is looking for a parking space. As a result, even systems just applied at downtown hotspots are able to significantly relieve the traffic situation. With the help of parking sensors, personnel can be employed in a more targeted way to manage people parking in blocked spaces, such as fire access lanes, or the exceeding of parking limits: a map shows all parking violators in real time. This also allows compliance with the respective regulations for loading zones and short-term parking spaces to be efficiently monitored.

Charging stations are a central and in-demand component of e-mobility. Parking sensors can support these in two different ways. For one, they determine available charging stations that can be displayed in an app, for example. Secondly, they uncover improper use, such as if the charging station is used for parking or the permitted utilization time is exceeded. In addition, parking sensors also support city development. Statistical data about the actual utilization of parking spaces through the entire city allows for reliable planning. This data is expensive to collect and can only be generated in random-sample form using common methods, but it is produced automatically as a free by-product in a system operated with parking spot sensors. Other data, such as the current ground temperature for supporting real-time winter service planning, is another valuable side effect of parking space management that includes parking spot sensors.

Integrated communication

Many cities have or are planning smart city infrastructure with a comprehensive wireless network. The Bosch parking sensor can use this for wireless communication between the parking sensor and central platform. This uses the popular, manufacturer-independent LoRaWAN protocol. While other providers rely in part on closed systems, Bosch follows an open approach. This allows cities to integrate parking sensors as additional component in their smart city projects. Since communities can decide on access to all the data themselves without a contractual obligation, smart city products and apps that network multiple data sources with each other are also possible.

Installation in two minutes

parking lot sensor being installed on the ground

The Bosch parking space sensor can be installed quickly and easily. Unlike other sensors available on the market, time-consuming and thus costly work is unnecessary, since the sensor is only glued in place. And the sensor can be removed without leaving residue – which is not only important for rented spaces. A long battery life of up to 5 years enables maintenance-free operation. The design, which is as compact as it is stable, also contributes to this. Regular cleaning of the sensors, which would be personnel-intensive, is not necessary. Another advantage is that the algorithm, which learns based on the respective application, eliminates the need for an initial calibration of the sensor, as well as any other need for adjustment and maintenance over the entire life cycle of the sensor in the field.

Getting started is simple

Getting started with parking sensor projects does not have to be complicated. Together with Internet of Things (IoT) specialist Zenner GmbH, Bosch has put together a demo kit that contains all the required hardware and software components. Ten parking sensors and a gateway allow prototypes to be quickly set up directly on site. Using the online platform login that is also included, the sensors can be managed and illustrated conveniently. This makes it possible for smart city managers and traffic engineers to play through different usage scenarios without much effort, and to demonstrate the function of the parking sensor solutions to municipal decision makers in an impressive way.

"We were looking for a parking sensor that works reliably, is maintenance-free, offers a high detection rate and can be put into operation quickly. The Bosch sensor meets these expectations. With Bosch, a global company is behind the parking sensor, and we expect maximum future-proofness and protection for our investment from them."

Daniel Rusch, Innovation Management Project Engineer, Stromnetz Hamburg

One sensor, many possibilities

multiple parking lot sensors in use

Modern parking sensor solutions open up huge potential for improving the quality of life in cities. As a basis for parking management systems, they reduce the traffic that is looking for parking and, as a result, also the noise and exhaust emissions. Public parking space can also be used and administered more efficiently. On the one hand, this is thanks to optimal utilization, which eliminates the need to build new parking lots; and on the other, thanks to a targeted approach against parking violators. But it is not only direct control of parking traffic that is now possible. Information about how many vehicles have just arrived at a park-and-ride lot, for example, also allows for dynamic control of local public transit. As a result, using both statistical evaluations and real-time data, unused potential can be identified and utilized in the urban ecosystem. For urban development, the acquired data also forms a reliable basis for planning that is oriented toward actual need. This is not least because the digitalization of cities offers many opportunities for innovative service programs – such as through mobile apps or concepts like temporary renting of private car spaces. Parking sensors are no longer a dream of the future – Bosch has proved this in the successful pilot projects it has carried out with European cities. There, the Bosch parking sensor has reliably demonstrated its performance ability and scalability in everyday operation.

Start managing your city's parking usage more efficiently!

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