Virtual PGS

A Dynamic Parking Guidance System for Europe Concept from Setrix AG

Present Situation
A Parking Guidance System (PGS) uses information displays to inform motorists about parking space availability. PGS’s can be static or dynamic. A dynamic PGS has the advantage of also displaying the number of parking spaces currently available in the various parking lots, so that motorists can decide well in advance which parking garage or parking lot to head for.
As a dynamic PGS requires a higher capital investment, their cost benefit is often called into question. However a dynamic PGS, by providing valuable information about vacant parking spaces, will also reduce parking search traffic and therefore contribute to environmental protection.
The following are some arguments both for and against a dynamic PGS:

No useful information for local motorists: Local motorists already know their way around and will drive to a familiar parking garage without paying attention to information displays or checking on parking space availability. When parking garages are full, local motorists will be aware of alternative parking lots and will head for them.
City visitors rely on past experience: Motorists who visit the city center infrequently will head for familiar parking garages. The parking information displayed is irrelevant for them as long as their regular parking garage has vacant parking spaces. The dynamic display is only useful if their regular parking garage is full and they do not know of alternative parking lots.
Strangers to the city only use the information when parking is critical:
Strangers will not use the information displays until the parking situation becomes critical.
Operators of parking lots often only see a limited benefit: As operators are often charged a flat rate for the operating cost of parking guidance systems they consider them to be of limited benefit, especially when there are often enough parking spaces available.
Summary of Contra arguments:
Why should a city invest in a dynamic PGS when the information is only relevant for motorists on a few days a year and for a small minority of motorists, especially when the capital investment is €0.5 – 1.5 million? In addition, there is the supplementary operating cost of the dynamic displays, which has to be paid annually.

No more problems with parking spaces in the city center: One political benefit lies in being able to scientifically prove to citizens that parking space problems do actually exist. However, this aspect will be already well known to motorists.
Parking spaces available for customers of local retailers: This is an important benefit, because parking space availability is a crucial economic factor for retailers. More and more shopping center operators prefer inner city locations.
Avoidance of parking search traffic: Advance information for motorists helps to avoid unnecessary vehicle traffic in the inner city. Advance information is especially important during peak periods and special events.
Avoidance of unnecessary toxic vehicle emissions: Motorists searching for parking space can decide well in advance to head for a Park+Ride facility on the city perimeter and then travel to the city center by public transportation. In future, these arguments will gain in importance as population densities in cities rise and stricter environmental regulations are introduced.
This is why dynamic parking guidance systems are becoming more important for all cities in Europe.

New Innovative Dynamic Parking Guidance System
(Virtual Parking Guidance System)
There is a basic problem with a conventional PGS: The motorist receives the information about parking space availability too late, when they have already decided to drive to the inner city or to a specific parking garage. Information provided in advance during their journey will help to effectively redirect the flow of traffic.
The widespread erection of dynamic display signs can mean a large investment. A plethora of traffic signs and information panels hinder rather than help motorists. That is where the concept of the new virtual parking guidance system comes in. This solution focuses on the cost-effective introduction of parking guidance systems for municipalities and private operators (trade fairs, airports, hotels, companies, sports arenas).

Read more: Concept paper