Parking management system
Parking management system
Globalization of the world’s industrial economies greatly enhances the value information to the ﬁrm and offers new opportunities to businesses. Today,information systems provide the communication and analytic power that ﬁrms need for conducting trade and managing businesses on a global scale.
According to Kenneth and Jane (1998) , new kinds of knowledge and information-intense organizations have emerged that are devoted entirely to the production,processing,and distribution of information. In knowledge-and information-based economy,information technology and systems take on great importance. Knowledge-based products and services of great economic value such as credit cards,overnight package delivery,worldwide package delivery and worldwide reservation systems are based on new information technologies. Information technology constitutes more than 70 percent of the invested capital in service industries such as ﬁnance,insurance,and real estate.
Across all industries,information and the technology that delivers it have become critical and strategic assets for the business ﬁrms and their managers. Information systems are needed to optimize the ﬂow of information and knowledge within the organization and to help management maximize
the ﬁrm’s knowledge resources.Because the productivity of employees will depend on the quality of the systems serving them,management decisions about information technology are critically important to the prosperity and survival of a ﬁrm.
Public utilities need a parking infrastructure that can function efﬁciently and be integrated with the other urban city utilities. Economic development sees parking as a tool to support current economic activity and as incentive to attract new businesses. Safety and security departments see parking and its prerequisite enforcement as, just that, a requirement, albeit it is a low priority requirement that can divert that department from its higher priority function.
Many parking facilities in Uganda are not effectively managed,take an example of the parking at Mulago Hospital were parking spaces are sufﬁcient to cater for the motorists that visit the hospital at a given time,but because of haphazard method of parking adopted by motorists that park according to convenience rather than utilizing bays systematically. This has caused jams at busy spots of the hospital leaving other parking spaces free.This calls for a Parking Management System that can be used assign bays to the motorists in a systematic and consistent manner so as to avoid trafﬁc jams at busy spots.
The inability of motorists to identify parking bays at a speciﬁc facility in the shortest time possible would, signiﬁcantly, contribute to fatigue in operating the vehicle. Moreover, some motorists that fail to ﬁnd parking space tend to park vehicles illegally on shoulders or pavements which would likely result in unsafe conditions to highway trafﬁc, such as:
• Limiting the ability of parked vehicles to accelerate safely into trafﬁc steam.
• Conﬂicts between exiting and parked vehicles.
• Restriction of sign distance.
• Obstacles in clear recovery zone for errant vehicles.
According to Trombly, (2003) , there is an existing phenomenon that truck drivers tend to use speciﬁc truck stops or rest areas along a speciﬁc route. It was found in Maryland that some drivers would give up seeking parking availability further and park on ramps and shoulders even when there are parking spaces available nearby . Thus,sometimes full occupancy exists at some locations, while parking spaces at other locations may not be fully utilized due to the unawareness of parking availabilities.
Information technologies have been introduced into vehicles parking management system for decades. Providing real-time or near real-time parking guidance information to drivers is one important aspect and has emerged for more than twenty years. The general concept of this kind of system consists of mainly these components. Firstly, parking management centers collect parking arrival data by using sensors or detectors.
Secondly, parking data collected is processed into parking availability information, and thirdly, this information is disseminated via all kinds of information media, such as radio, message signs, telephone and so on. Under the guidance of this information, drivers are supposed to reduce on-road searching time for parking spaces, which can consequently release the trafﬁc congestion during peak hours. Nowadays, parking information and guidance systems have been put into practice in tens of cities or airports in Europe, America, and Japan. However, very limited practice on parking information systems speciﬁcally for trucks on interstate highways have been put so far. In some states in US, advisory parking information 3
has been provided to truck drivers on signs along interstate highways, but currently there are few systematic descriptions on the implementation of this system. Garden City is one of the biggest shopping malls in Kampala City,located along Yusuf Lule Road. It has become a popular shopping anchor in Uganda with numerous number of shops dealing in a variety of goods. These range from home-use products to recreation facilities available at the mall.
The Shopping complex was designed in such a way that it can accommodate parking for the clientele’s motor-vehicles.There are two levels of parking. Level I parking is on ﬂoor one of the shopping mall with a capacity of 110 motor vehicles whereas Level II parking is at the basement stretching to the
complex’s yard has a capacity 240 motor-vehicles. The parking bays are clearly marked and can accommodate up to 350 motor-vehicles on a busy working day.
The entire complex is secured with a wall fence and access to the shopping mall is through one entrance for motor-vehicles coming in and at the same time acts as an exit for motorists that are leaving the premises. At the moment,no charges are levied to the motorists that occupy the parking zones,this was identiﬁed by the writer as good source of revenue for the owners of the shopping mall by charging a fee for all the motorists that utilize the parking bays.
The kinds of systems built today are very important for the overall performance of the organization,especially in today’s highly globalized economy.Information systems are driving both daily operations and organizational strategy. Powerful computers,software,and networks have helped organizations become more ﬂexible,eliminate layers of management,separate work from location,and restructure work ﬂows,giving new powers both to line workers and management. The Internet and other networks have redeﬁned organization boundaries,opening new opportunities for electronic markets and electronic commerce. To maximize the advantages of information technology,there is a much greater need to plan for the overall information architecture of the organization.
1.2 Statement of the problem
There is no systematic method for the allocation of parking bays and management lacks coordinated and centralized information for the effective management and control of the parking facility.
The goal of this research is to develop a Parking Management System for Garden City Complex which will manage the parking facility more efﬁciently.The management system will involve the development and application of a variety of advanced technology and automated control strategies to achieve signiﬁcant parking improvements resulting in maximum utilization of the available parking areas.
The speciﬁc objectives include:
1. Optimizing use of limited parking spaces to ensure that the motorists are assigned bays in the shortest time possible.
2. Revenue generation and accountability, management will be in position to determine revenue realized from motorists utilizing the parking bays by querying the system. 3. Customer satisfaction: Motorists will be alloted parking bays systematically by the parking management system, this will ease on the congestion brought about by motorists scrambling for speciﬁc parking bays for convenience.
The project will realize its achievements based on the parking management of garden city complex. The scope of this study is a short term project level,therefore it weights towards getting a system fully implemented.
Findings of the study will be useful in the efﬁcient utilization of limited available Parking space supply at Garden City Complex and other institutions within the city . The ﬁndings will also help Kampala City Council (KCC)in formulating policies with regard to parking control and management for shopping malls,for example making it obligatory for all those intending to put up structures in the city to make provisions for parking in the basements. This proposal suggests a parking information system that will serve the customer and the management of parking at the Shopping mall. Parking services will enable the customer to locate available parking,get directions,and make payment.
2 LITERATURE REVIEW
An extensive review of the literature related to parking systems was conducted by the researcher. The review seeks to survey available parking management systems and to understand their potential. The types of technologies included in th review are Parking Guidance Information (PGI), transit based information,smart payment systems, and e-parking. This section documents the major ﬁnding of the literature review.
2.1 The need for a Parking Management System
According to Caroline,Rodier and Amanda (2004),Early examples of smart parking management were Parking Guidance Information (PGI) systems that attempt to minimize parking search trafﬁc in large parking facilities and central cities by dynamically monitoring available parking,and directing motorists with Changeable Message Signs (CMS).
The ﬁrst Parking Guidance Information (PGI) systems were installed in Achen,Germany,in the early 1970s. It is now estimated that more than 100 parking guidance information systems have been installed in cities throughout the world with the greatest concentration in Europe and Japan. In the United States,city center Parking Guidance Information (PGI) systems exist in St. Paul,Minnesota,and Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania. Large airport parking garage PGI systems have been installed in: Baltimore,Maryland; Houston,Texas; Orlando,Florida; and Minneapolis/St. Paul,Minnesota.
Empirical and simulation studies of selected systems indicate that awareness and understanding of PGI signs can be relatively high,but in order to be effective,messages must display accurate information that meets travelers needs . Interestingly,visitors are more likely than resident commuters to use city center Parking Guidance Information (PGI) systems. Parking Guidance Information (PGI) systems were found to reduce parking facility queue lengths; however,system-wide reductions in travel time and vehicle travel,and economic beneﬁts may be relatively small.
Uganda as a developing country has not yet embraced such systems in its capital’s Central Business District (CBD),however the need for such systems is increasingly becoming inevitable because the demand for parking bays has tremendously shot up surpassing the supply especially at busy shopping malls. The only way the limited parking bays can be put to effective use is by employing a parking management system.
According to Chopper (2005) ,Parking in the San Diego Gaslamp Quarter is a very stressful activity for visitors. Visitors must circulate through the Gaslamp Quarter searching for parking on the street curb,in ﬂat lots and parking structures. The circulating trafﬁc is a signiﬁcant nuisance to foot trafﬁc,contributes air and noise pollution and adds to already congested trafﬁc ﬂow. Fundamentally,studies have shown that there is a sufﬁcient number of parking spaces,but the drivers spend a considerable amount of time searching for an empty spot. Existing parking control is serving the enforcement function,but provides little service to the customer.
According to Axhausen and Polak (1995),Building upon the objectives of Parking Guidance Information (PGI) systems,transit-based smart parking systems seek to increase transit use and revenues,reduce vehicle travel,lower fuel use,and reduce air pollution. These systems provide motorists with information via Changeable Message Signs (CMS) about spaces in park and ride lots,transit schedules and downstream trafﬁc conditions.
The literature suggests that parking shortages at suburban rail stations may signiﬁcantly constrain transit ridership,thus more effective use of station parking may increase transit use and revenues . In addition, motorists may respond to pre-trip and en-route information on parking availability at transit stations by increasing their use of transit . Finally,regular commuters are more responsive to information about parking in conjunction with transit than more basic Parking Guidance Information (PGI) systems,because this information may be essential to catching a train during peak hours . Transit-based systems are concentrated in Europe and Japan however,at least two have been initiated in the United States in conjunction with Chicagos Metra System and San Joses Valley Transit Authority.
Trafﬁc congestion is a problem that appears to be increasing in a worldwide context. In recent years considerable effort has been paid to the investigation of methods to reduce such congestion and the accidents and hazards that are usually associated with it. Collectively these efforts come under the aegis of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).
A critical part of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) are the Advanced Traveler Information Systems (ATIS). Essentially these consist of in-vehicle information and guidance systems which help the driver to select routes which will reduce congestion,to ﬁnd parking in areas where it is sparse,and to facilitate rescheduling of activities when congestion makes this a feasible alternative. It is argued that such assistive information will beneﬁt individual drivers in terms of helping to achieve their scheduled behaviors and activities as well as beneﬁting the system by improving trafﬁc ﬂow.
Axhausen (1994)  carried out three waves of surveys (one before wave and two after waves) to compare the reduction in parking search time after implementation of the parking information system in Frankfurt am Main,Germany. A non-linear model was developed to relate the parking 10
search time to the estimated occupancy of off-street parking facilities before and after installation of parking guidance and information system.
Smart parking systems can also take advantage of innovative technologies to improve the ease and convenience of paying for parking. Smart cards can minimize transaction time by allowing a user to simply wave their card in front of a reader,and contact less cards with wireless communication capabilities can further reduce delays. Mobile communication devices can also be used in smart payment transactions. Smart parking payment systems are now being developed and implemented worldwide by cell phone developers,credit card companies,and other technology and service providers. Smart payment systems were found to reduce operation,maintenance and enforcement costs as well as improve collection rates . When transit agencies attempt to induce drivers off of highways to take transit into a city center,time saving.
Hester(2002)  designed two experiments in a visualized driving simulator to test alternative models of drivers parking decision with the parking availability and guidance information displayed on Variable Message Signs (VMS). In Experiment 1,three different versions of the expected utility theory were tested. In these three hypotheses,one might assume that drivers attempt to:-
• minimize the expected travel time,
• minimize the walking distance,and
• minimize the time spent on waiting for a lot for a parking space or, • equivalently,maximize the parking availability.
The results in Experiment 1 showed that participants responses were more often consistent with
the decision to minimize the expected travel time than they were either with the decision to minimize the walking distance or to maximize the parking availability. However,a further study in Experiment 2 suggested that the strategies that most test drivers used is a lexicographic decision strategy,in which drivers decided to park in a lot if the number of open spaces was greater than or equal to some criteria number. Such a strategy is more simple cognitively than the previous one,and thereby greatly reduces the cognitive load on the drivers.
Asakura (1994)  developed a computer simulation model to evaluate the effects of parking information. The simulation model consists of three sub-models: a demand model based on multinomial logic model,a performance model to describe the car parking status,and an information service model. The messages shown on signs in the simulation were in three types of legends: waiting time,FULL/SPACES,and number of vacancies.
Simulation results were for different scenarios with regard to different ratios of system users among all drivers and different congestion levels. It was found that the average waiting time decreases with the increasing proportion of informed drivers, especially when the proportion changes from 0 to 10 percent. The FULL/SPACES type is the most effective in reducing average waiting time at higher congestion levels; the waiting time information is the most effective at low congestion level,and the number of vacancies information is the least one in both cases.
Polak (1995) stresses that in recent years,however,there has been an increasing effort to focus on the driver as a recipient of advanced traveler information by developing a series of simulators,which allow manipulation of environments and observation of different driver behaviors . The use of such simulators is most helpful when attempting to decide the likelihood that drivers will accept information dispensed through their in vehicle guidance system. The development 12
of driver simulators and the consequent modeling of driver behavior has been an attempt to enrich the potential of Advanced Traveler Information System
(ATIS) methodology. Of signiﬁcant importance,however,is the increased acknowledgment that these simulations work best if the environment is designed to have as many important real-world features as possible (e.g.,trafﬁc lanes instead of undifferentiated network arcs; signalized or otherwise controlled intersections instead of unconstrained nodes in a graph theoretic representation of a system; indicators of trafﬁc speed and driving headway; etc.).
According to Havinoviski,(2000) In Chicago,real-time parking management systems for parkingand-ride facilities along transit corridors were proposed . The systems will display or broadcast overall and speciﬁc parking lot information,next train arrival information,expressway or tollway incident and travel time information. Infrared detection,inductive loop detection,video image processing were considered the most practical techniques for measurement of parking availability. Four technologies,namely Internet,telephone,Variable message signs,highway advisory radio,were considered for information dissemination.
Allen (1993)  studied the impacts of a parking guidance and information system on drivers behaviors at a disaggregated level in Kingston-up-Thames,London,United Kingdom. An attitude questionnaire and a Stated Preference (SP) experiment were employed in the study. The results of the attitude questionnaire showed a low level of system usage. 4 percent of all respondents were totally unaware of the system; 47 percent were aware of,but had never used it; 49 percent had used the system. In the Stated Preference experiment,parking price,walking time,and content of Variable Message Signs (VMS) were included. As the results suggested,the occupancy information of parking lots shown on Variable Message Signs (VMS) has a signiﬁcant effect on car-park choice 13
probability. When contents of Variable Message Signs (VMS) change from SPACE to FULL,a dramatic instantaneous impact on driver behavior resulted.
Polak (1990)  summarized the basic technologies of Parking Guidance and Information (PGI) systems in the European and Japanese cities and the approaches adopted to system design and operation before 1990s. In reviewing the effectiveness of these systems,it was noted that Variable Message Signs (VMS) was a relatively mature technology for PGI systems,and two main technologies: rotating prisms and ﬁber-optics were of proven reliability Basically,all those studies were based on the naive comparisons of before-and-after car parks usage patterns,arrival proﬁles at the facilities,and trafﬁc volumes,where before-and-after drivers surveys were mostly conducted. Those studies showed that parking guidance systems could have an impact on trafﬁc and parking patterns by redistributing parking demand between car parks,and by alleviating queues at the most popular car parks. Little evidence showed that those systems had given rise to any substantial changes in trafﬁc volumes,arrival patterns and congestion.
Edwards and Kelcey,(1997)  assert that,Variable Message Signs (VMS) and static signs were used in the operation to present parking availability information to drivers in the urban area. Loop detectors were used as the counting equipment at off-street parking facilities. Controller interface units then automatically calculates the number of available spaces in real time using pulse from the detectors each time a vehicle arrived or left the parking facility. The data were transmitted to central computers via dedicated phone line and T1 line,and were processed by parking management software. The central computers then sent the parking information to Variable message signs via Radio Frequency (RF) cellular communications.
An Advanced Parking Information (API) system was designed and put into test operations in Saint Paul,Minnesota in late 1995 and early 1996 (Edwards and Kelcey Inc.,1997; HNTB,(1997). Variable Message Signs (VMS) and static signs were used in the operation to present parking availability information to drivers in the urban area. Loop detectors were used as the counting equipment at off-street parking facilities. Controller interface units then automatically calculates the number of available spaces in real time using pulse from the detectors each time a vehicle arrived or left the parking facility. The data were transmitted to central computers via dedicated phone line and T1 line,and were processed by parking management software. The central computers then sent the parking information to Variable message signs via radio frequency (RF) cellular communications.
According to Road Bureau Ministry of Land,(2002) ,parking guidance systems already had been implemented in 40 cities by the year of 1995in Japan (Toyama,1995). Most of them were based on Variable Message Signs (VMS) and static signs for display parking information at that time. The effects of these systems include: leveled utilization factor,less parking search time,and reduced on-road parking and smoother trafﬁc. In recent years,new technologies were introduced to parking systems. Since 1999,Internet web sites have been served for providing parking information in many Japanese cities. Other services such as cellular phone,Community Antenna Television (CATV),information service terminals at airports and bus terminals have also been included as parts of parking guidance systems in Japan to make more efﬁcient use of parking facilities and making parking facilities more convenient.
Burdette (1999; 2001)  investigated advanced parking information systems at airports. In the research,a variety of Intelligent Traveler Systems (ITS) technologies applicable to Advanced Parking Information (API) at airports were investigated. A nine-step guideline was developed for imple
menting an advanced parking information system at airports. According to a small sample survey conducted in the study,Variable Message Signs (VMS),static signs,radio,in-vehicle navigation system,and Internet are the most users preferred Intelligence Traveler Systems (ITS) technologies for this system.
Parking information systems have been in practice for nearly 30 years,mainly serving for urban off-street,airport,and transit/bus parking facilities. In this information age,a number of new technologies are used in this kind of system. Variable Message Signs (VMS),static signs, Internet web site,telephone,and Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) are the most commonly used and acceptable technologies for disseminating parking information. The most commonly used data collection technologies include: loop detector,infrared detector, radar or sonic detector,video image processing,and so on.
2.2 Chapter Summary
In an increasingly digital and wireless age,parking managers can take advantage of available technology to reduce operation,maintenance,and enforcement costs as well as to improve ease and convenience for motorists. Smart parking can make efﬁcient use of existing parking spaces and to make reserving and paying for parking,fast, convenient,and reliable.
3.1 Data Collection
This chapter presents the data collection methods that were used by the researcher in exercising the study,tools that were used in the analysis and design of the system and also the tools used to develop and implement the system.The various data or requirements gathering techniques that were used included the following:
1. Interviews: An interview is a conversation in which the researcher tries to get information from the interviewer. The method assumes that the respondents to be interviewed have the information required; they can understand questions,which are put to them and will be willing to give answers while they are face-to-face. The researcher was able to interview some of the Garden City complex staff members and parking users who were utilizing the parking facility at that particular time and this helped the researcher to get ﬁrst-hand information on the operations of the parking facility. .
2. Questionnaires: Questionnaires were used by the researcher to gather facts
about the parking behaviour of motorists and payment methods,questionnaires were aimed at getting information about the time spent in parking , and the mode of payment motorists would prefer for the utilization of parking bays.(Questionnaires appear in the appendix part of this report. It was established from the questionnaires and interviews conducted that some motorists
prefered to pay in advance for use the parking facility for a given period to on-spot payment. The argument raised was that they at times run out of cash after shopping. On the other hand, it was also established that other motorists do rarely visit the shopping mall and as such they were willing to pay on spot for use of the parking facility. From the two arguments raised,it was concluded that the system to be built would accommodate both parties by making provisions for advance payments and on-spot payments. 3. Observation: The purpose of observation was to determine the measurements, types, numbers,objectives and so on. The process of observation is not conﬁned to seeing only. We can observe by hearing,smelling,teaching,and tasting. The method was mainly used in viewing the set up of available parking bays,viewing for example the security cards given to the entrance as evidence that they are utilizing parking bays.
It was observed that each saloon car is slated to occupy one parking bay at a given time. This method was also used to get information about the structure of the organization and any relevant background information about the organization that proved relevant to the study. I went further to look through some of transactions and this later helped in determining the data stored per entity involved in the designed system.