Vehicular population is growing at 10 per cent compounded rate every year, but the supply side of roads is limited. Traffic congestion is big deterrent to productivity and proper management of parking can help ease that effectively. With the government's Smart City urban renewal and retrofitting programme also kicking in, parking is also a viable revenue generating business model for local municipal bodies.
For instance: The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has drafted a smart parking policy that makes a case for limited parking, with parking space reflecting the capacity of the road and not the demand. Meanwhile, the factors on which Pune's proposed parking policy is based could show the way for Delhi too, considering the national capital region registers three times the vehicle load that the western Indian city registers daily (450-500 vehicles).
Drafted in association with the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), the policy classifies roads, parking areas and even the parking rates. That means, parking fees are synchronised with parking demand. Here, PMC has applied the law of supply and demand, wherein, the fees increase in co-relation to the demand. Revenue generated from this is then used to build complete streets, with better walking and cycling infrastructure, as well as to expand public transport.
Under the proposed policy, PMC will divide the city into multiple parking districts, with planned vehicle-free zones, particularly on busy shopping centres. Also, parking rates will reflect rentals in the area, the size of the vehicle and the levels of congestion in the area. The policy also suggests possibility of introducing congestion tax, which has been similarly applied in cities like London, Stockholm and Singapore, to name a few, for vehicles traversing through commercial areas during peak hours.
Some of the suggestions in the parking policy are quite interesting. For instance, the draft policy states that a road hierarchy will be defined according to the Indian Road Congress' parameters. Here, the carrying capacity of the road shall be taken into consideration while allotting on street parking spaces and only those roads having minimum number of lanes available for uninterrupted traffic flow on each side of the road and IRC 103 compliant footpaths shall be considered for planning on street parking spaces. While doing so, priority shall be given to the movement of pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.
Apart from Pune, a concept by the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) is attracting attention. The JDA’s under-development mobile application will inform citizens about available parking spaces. In this scalable, Internet of Things (IoT) project, JDA is equipping parking spaces with sensors that can detect when a car is parked and taken out of a parking space. In fact, JDA is applying a higher level of integration to a crowded tourist place.
Nagpur too is all set to develop a ‘smart street’ to tackle the parking menace. This envisaged route will become a role model with plans to replicate the model across the entire city under the aegis of the Smart City project. Scope of the project includes installation of 3,000 CCTVs at 700 locations, Wi-Fi service at all major locations, payment gateway kiosks at 136 locations, 500 km optical fibre cables, etc. These works have been conceptualised under different heads like City Network Backbone, City Wi-Fi, City Kiosk, City Surveillance and Smart Strip.
Meanwhile, the latest addition in India’s Smart City plan—Lucknow—is set to launch integrated 'Smart Card' for all modes of transport, parking etc. Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) has collaborated with Datamatics Global Services Ltd (DGSL) and Mikroelektronika, to install the automated fare collection system in metro premise to issue 50,000 'Smart Cards' for Lucknow residents in the first phase.
In the south, Chennai Municipal Corporation has been assisted by a Delhi-based startup to solve city’s parking issues. Here, Agile Parking Solutions has created cloud-based mobile parking technology, which makes real time parking information accessible for both, the supply and demand side. It’s mobile app empowers self-driving users to search, book and navigate to parking. What’s more, it saves user time, fuel and energy and reduces urban traffic congestion and consequent pollution by up to 30 per cent.