There are many technologies emerging to facilitate a vision of tomorrow’s ‘smart cities’. From innovative approaches to public transport to adaptable traffic lights and open data portals, technologies are emerging every day to make cities more efficient and improve the experience of living in them. One such technology is a new approach to the way drivers pay to park in car parks run by local authorities and private operators, and it’s gaining momentum in cities all over the globe.

Bringing existing technologies together

This new approach to paying for parking represents minimal maintenance and risk for operators and supreme convenience for drivers. It combines the existing technologies of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, cloud computing and online payments into one tidy solution. Essentially, it works like this:

  • Before entering a car park that uses this system, the driver creates an account with the system provider. The account registers their vehicle’s number plate and their preferred online payment method
  • When they drive into the car park, the ANPR camera reads their licence plate and logs the time of entry
  • When they drive out again, another ANPR camera logs the time that they leave
  • The driver is automatically billed for the duration of their stay

Refined for convenience

This elegant solution is sure to be a major feature of the smart cities of tomorrow and is being pioneered by London-based start-up Hozah. It is a simple but highly effective solution that is being well-received by operators and drivers alike.

The main benefits for operators are that they no longer have to rely on vulnerable payment machines, which require security and maintenance around the clock. It also helps promote trust among customers who are no longer at risk of incurring a PCN. It can even enable the implementation of emissions-based parking charges, thanks to being able to identify vehicles and charge them based on central records of their emissions.

Rethinking cities, the smart way

Drivers enjoy the benefits of never receiving a PCN for being slightly late returning to their vehicle, and of never having to manually pay for parking again. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, and it’s far more efficient than any previous payment method. This is the driving principle of smart city technology, and smart parking is yet another component of the holistic approach to rethinking the infrastructure that is required to achieve truly smart cities.

Image by Tama66 via Pixabay