Smart Parking for Smart Cities

Dr Jega Balakrishnan

Traffic congestion caused by vehicle is an alarming problem at a global scale and it has been growing exponentially. Car parking problem is a major contributor and has been, still a major problem with increasing number of vehicles and confined parking spaces in urban cities. Congestion and parking are interrelated since looking for a parking space (called “cruising”) creates additional delays and impairs local circulation. In central areas of large cities cruising may account for 30% of the local circulation as drivers can spend up to 30 minutes on average looking for a parking spot.

Smart city concept is a new approach to redesigning cities and conceiving solutions to recent urban challenges such as traffic congestion, rapid expansion of urban population, increased energy consumption, increased greenhouse gas emission and rising citizens’ expectations. Smart city aims to solve these challenges based upon foundations of good urban planning, economic competitiveness and sustainable practices that use emerging information and communication technologies.

To address the traffic congestion through a smart city approach, eSMART 21 has developed an innovative sensor-based smart parking mobile application. The smart parking application is known as MetroPark which aims to provide citizens with real-time information about available parking spaces in an area. Citizens would be able to pay for their parking through the mobile application without having to feed the traditional parking meters. Prior to time expiry, reminder notifications are sent through the application to enable citizens to purchase additional time for their parking remotely. MetroPark solution would also provide service providers with greater visibility into city’s parking analytics such as parking usage, vacancy, overstay and revenue.

There is considerable evidence to demonstrate that sensor-based application increases parking space turnover and improves retail activity for local business.

For example, a recent SFPark in-ground sensor-based trial conducted in San Francisco revealed that through its technology, the amount of time that pilot areas were too full to find parking spaces deceased by 16% while 51% increment noticed in non-pilot areas. In other words, drivers were able to find vacant parking spaces quickly in sensor-enabled parking areas2.

This improvement reduces vehicle circulation looking for car parks and develops vehicle turnover especially in a busy area like San Francisco. Moreover, reduction in vehicle circulation also reduces carbon emission.

First of its kind MetroPark smart parking application has been specifically designed to increase parking turnover through providing accurate and real-time information based on the sensors to the end users, compliance officers and the service provider. Huge ongoing cost saving is expected through our technology.


Dr Jega Balakrishnan is the CEO of eSMART 21 – an innovative parking technology solution provider. Dr Balakrishnan has been engaged in the parking industry since 2009. In 2013, Jega has been recognised as a finalist in the Science Excellence Awards, South Australia for developing the state-of-art officer-less SMART ePark technology and for his R&D activities at the University of Adelaide. The SMART ePark technology is designed to improve vehicle turnover, improve operational efficiency, increase parking revenue and improve car parks security without relying on compliance officers. Jega is also currently leading the Australia’s first Smart and Connected ‘Cisco Lighthouse City’ smart parking mobile payment application project with the Adelaide City Council.

Contact details:
Dr Jega Balakrishnan
Director and CEO – eSMART 21 Pty Ltd
T: +61 8 8313 0517
M: +61 425 933 338
E: [email protected]


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