Siemens and Streetline team up for smart parking

Siemens is joining forces with Streetline to help reduce the longstanding frustration of drivers seeking parking spots in congested areas. Streetline, a 7-year-old company based in Foster City, Calif., connects sensor-enabled parking meters with smartphone apps to provide cities and drivers with parking options in select urban environments.

Aside from helping alleviate parking rage, maximizing parking spaces helps reduce congestion, lower emissions and improve public safety. Siemens and Streetline claim that further efficiencies -- and indeed increased city revenue -- can be achieved via a central management system in monitoring and analyzing parking patterns to implement demand-based pricing.

"Cities are facing the challenge of aging infrastructure, a growing population and limited financial resources," Terry Heath, president of Siemens Infrastructure & Cities' mobility and logistics division, said in a statement. "We can work with cities to implement a seamless parking solution that requires little to no upfront investment and will not only pay for itself over time through operating efficiencies, but also could help fund future infrastructure upgrades."

By placing sensors in the pavement to detect when spaces are available, Streetline's smartphone app "Parker" provides the location and general availability of spaces. In addition, the application shows how much time is left on the meter and enables consumers to pay for parking using cash or credit cards at the meter.

The partnership includes the integration of Siemens parking meters with Streetline sensors and apps. Real-time information is transferred between the systems to help ensure accuracy in space occupancy, pricing and meter displays.

Streetline, which previously announced a partnership with IBM and raised $15 million from Fontinalis Partners last summer, has deployments in cities across California, Indianapolis, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington D.C.

San Francisco launched a similar program, SF Park, to use new technologies and policies to improve parking. Mainly funded by the federal government and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the citywide program gives residents information based on sensors installed on tens of thousands of parking spaces in garages and on streets.

The need for these smart parking projects keeps growing. Last fall, an IBM survey found that more than 30 percent of a city’s traffic is caused by drivers searching for a parking spot, with 29 percent of drivers spending an average of 20 minutes looking for a parking spot and 10 percent spending more than 40 minutes.

Parking area photo via Shutterstock.com