DCA Cities COO Greg Tsigounis weighs in on why parking sensors are not all made equal

Creating liveable, sustainable cities is a major challenge for many municipalities. Finite parking spaces necessitates the need to more accurately account for and manage parking in an accessible and equitable manner. Cities are adopting holistic strategies, investing in technology and partnering with private enterprise to deliver digital platforms that change human behaviour.

With all the technology available and an ever growing list of players in the market, how do you choose the right solution? We sat down with Greg Tsigounis to discuss parking sensors and get his thoughts on the advancements in parking sensor technology and what municipalities should be looking for.

Name: Greg Tsigounis

Role: Chief Operating Officer, DCA Cities

Q: What is the first step in choosing the right parking sensor technology?

A : It is pertinent when deciding to adopt smart parking sensors that you first define your objectives; are you looking for wayfinding to reduce congestion; are you looking to increase parking equity? Do you need to enforce off the technology, to increase revenue? or is it the complete package you’re after?

Q: How has parking technology evolved?

A: Like other smart city technology there has been continued technological evolution of parking sensor technology. In Australia there have been several new entrants to the market in the past five years, many of which have a guidance or wayfinding focus.

That said fifteen years in the industry has taught me that the lack of guidance information is only one reason for inefficient parking behaviour. Parking enforcement has a big role to play, but in order to enforce the sensors must be fit for purpose.

Q: What is the single most important factor when choosing to enforce from parking technology?

A: Trust, community trust. It all boils down to the accuracy of the sensor. When it comes to issuing infringements to the community, close enough is simply not good enough.

We recently defended a case for Moreland City Council whereby a community member challenged an infringement. We gather sensor health diagnostics data for every infringement issued, so we were able to demonstrate that the sensor was operating correctly, together with a clear arrival and departure time that resulted in a distinct change in the level of the magnetic field. The matter was awarded to Council, in fact it is the eleventh consecutive time we’ve successfully supported a client in court.

Q: Is there anything else we should consider when evaluating parking sensor technology?

A: The availability of data.

These days successful parking management requires a data-driven approach. Real-time occupancy data is not only used for community way-finding, the analysis of parking data can assist in predicting near-future parking occupancy, assist in adjusting tariffs and parking zones and generally create a more efficient parking operation.

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