Parking Management and the Internet of Things

Trying to find parking in a city crowded with cars can be a nightmare of driving in circles. In some city districts, as much as 30% of traffic consists of drivers who are looking for a parking space. That extra traffic adds up annually to thousands of gallons of spent gas and hundreds of tons of harmful CO2 emissions in individual neighborhoods alone—a huge amount of waste if you multiply that by the number of neighborhoods in a city and the number of cities in the world. In this week’s episode of DeconstructingIoT, we’ve tackled the parking management problem by designing a connected hardware application that tracks parking space occupancy.

We hooked an ultrasonic rangefinder up to a TI MSP430 LaunchPad with a CC3100 WiFi BoosterPack, and put it next to a parking space so that it can sense whether the space is occupied. Our Parse Choreos are then used to store the occupancy information and make it accessible to drivers through an iOS app. We also used our PagerDuty Choreos to set up an alert system that lets traffic agents know when a car has been in the same space for too long. It’s a simple app, but it illustrates how the Internet of Things can help cities solve problems like congestion and pollution (and hopefully save their citizens a few headaches as well).