Here’s how intelligent parking systems are solving Warsaw’s traffic problems

The sensors at work. Image: Zarząd Dróg Miejskich.

Municipal governments are increasingly seeking better security, improved air quality and reduced pollution by looking into “smart city” solutions. Intelligent parking systems are an innovation that offers benefits in all three of these areas.

Warsaw has recently begun to test a parking information system designed by global IT business solutions provider Comarch. Here, the firm tells us how it works.

The project, commissioned by Zarząd Dróg Miejskich (the municipal road authority), is designed to monitor the number of parking spaces in two unassisted car parks in the capital, at Plac Konstytucji and in front of the Central Railway Station, by ul. Emili Plater. The system offered by Comarch is currently in its testing phase, which will continue to the end of the year.

The menu of Comarch's smart parking app.

In fact, two intelligent parking system technologies are being tested as part of the project. The first, installed at Plac Konstytucji car park, uses wireless sensors fitted directly to the parking spaces. Availability of spaces at the car park by the Central Railway Station, meanwhile, will be monitored by video cameras.

The Comarch Smart Parking app is currently available on Android. Drivers are directly informed about free parking spaces through their smartphone, or via a web page with an interactive map.

Available spaces.

In many cities, “looking for parking spaces is very time-consuming, especially in the city centre and business districts,” says Wiktor Woźniak, consulting director of Comarch Smart City. “The Parking Information System developed by Comarch is set to solve the problem.

“The comfort of being able to find a parking space faster is important to all drivers,” Woźniak adds, “but it also matters to residents. The shorter the time taken to find a parking space, the lower the emission of fumes. The traffic flow is also better, as the risk of congestion and collisions is lowered.”

A car park in close up.

The system will also  collect data, which will be used in reports on the use of parking spaces, according to such categories as average parking time or the scale of car rotation. By the end of the year, when the testing phase is finished, Zarząd Dróg Miejskich will know which car park monitoring system works best for a modern city.

This post was sponsored by Comarch, a firm which has more than 20 years of experience in helping global companies to achieve higher profitability, and understands the importance of changes taking place in contemporary cities. Its state-of-the art technologies, geolocation with micro-navigation, multi-channel access to the Internet and the growing needs of users, have made it both possible and necessary for the firm to design a comprehensive solution that combines an individual approach to clients, strategic planning and advanced analytical capabilities.

You can find out more here.


 

 
 
 
 

Never mind Brexit: TfL just released new tube map showing an interchange at Camden Town!!!

Mmmmm tube-y goodness. Image: TfL.

Crossrail has just been given a £1bn bail out. This, according to the Financial TImes’s Jim Pickard, is on top of the £600m bailout in July and £300m loan in October.

That, even with the pound crashing as it is right now, is quite a lot of money. It’s bad, especially at a time when there is still seemingly not a penny available to make sure trains can actually run in the north.

But the world is quite depressing enough today, so let’s focus on something happier. On Saturday night – obviously peak time for cartographic news – Transport for London emailed me to let me know it would be updating the tube map, to show more street-level interchanges:

Connections between several pairs of stations that are near to each other, but have traditionally not been shown as interchanges, now appear on the map for the first time. These include:

  • Camden Road and Camden Town
  • Euston and Euston Square
  • Finchley Road and Finchley Road & Frognal
  • Kenton and Northwick Park
  • New Cross and New Cross Gate
  • Seven Sisters and South Tottenham
  • Swiss Cottage and South Hampstead

The stations shown meet a set of criteria that has been used to help determine which should be included. This criteria includes stations less than a 700m or a 10 minute walk apart, where there is an easy, well-lit, signposted walking route and where making the change opens up additional travel options.

The results are, well, this:

In addition, interchanges between stations have traditionally appeared on the Tube map as two solid lines, irrespective of whether they are internal or external (which means customers need to leave the station and then re-enter for the station or stop they need). This approach has now been updated and shows a clear distinction between the two types, with external interchanges now being depicted by a dashed line, linking the two stations or stops.

And lo, it came to pass:

I have slightly mixed feelings about this, in all honesty. On the positive side: I think generally showing useful street-level interchanges as A Good Thing. I’ve thought for years that Camden Road/Camden Town in particular was one worth highlighting, as it opens up a huge number of north-east travel options (Finchley to Hackney, say), and apps like CityMapper tell you to use it already.


And yet, now they’ve actually done it, I’m suddenly not sure. That interchange is pretty useful if you’re an able bodied person who doesn’t mind navigating crowds or crossing roads – but the map gives you no indication that it’s a harder interchange than, say, Wanstead Park to Forest Gate.

The new map also doesn’t tell you how far you’re going to be walking at street level. I can see the argument that a 400m walk shouldn’t disqualify something as an interchange – you can end up walking that far inside certain stations (Green Park, Bank/Monument), and the map shows them as interchanges. But the new version makes no effort to distinguish between 100m walks (West Hampstead) and 700m ones (Northwick Park-Kenton), which it probably should.

I’m also slightly baffled by some of the specific choices. Is Finchley Road-Finchley Road & Frognal really a useful interchange, when there’s an easier and more direct version, one stop up the line? No hang on West Hampstead isn’t on the Metropolitan line isn’t it? So that’s what it’s about.

Okay, a better one: if you’re switching from District to Central lines in the City, you’re generally better off alighting at Cannon Street, rather than Monument, for Bank – honestly, it’s a 90 second walk to the new entrance on Walbrook. Yet that one isn’t there. What gives?

The complete new tube map. The full version is on TfL’s website, here.

On balance, showing more possible interchanges on the map is a positive change. But it doesn’t negate the need for a fundamental rethink of how the tube map looks and what it is for. And it’s not, I fear, enough to distract from the Crossrail problem.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and on Facebook as JonnElledgeWrites.