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In Europe, road transportation produces about 20% of the total CO2 emissions, out of which 40% is generated by urban mobility. It is estimated that vehicles cruising for free parking spaces cause 30% of the daily traffic congestion in an urban downtown area.
In this article the authors show, through a simulation and an assessment model, how ITS may impact on urban parking management considering both people and freight transportation, and quantified the economic and social benefits which can be obtained. Although some benefits have been already examined by previous authors (e.g., in terms of reduction of time spent in searching a free parking spot), there is still a general lack of quantitative models able to assess the impacts of ITS technologies for urban parking. In this regard, one distinctive contribution of this article is that it combines people and freight transportation modes in a single model. First, the authors developed a model in order to simulate the urban parking system before and after the adoption of the Smart Parking solution.
The output of the simulation model consists in the percentage reduction of the time spent by drivers of cars and vans in searching a free parking spot. Then, this percentage has been used to assess the economic and social benefits of a Smart Parking application in the City of Milan (Italy), in which the “pay and display” parking spots are provided with sensors able to communicate if the space is free or not. The analysis considers two perspectives: on the one hand the parking operator company, which can increase its revenue due to the reduction of people that do not pay for parking. On the other hand, the city-users (i.e., citizens, tourists, off-site students, etc.,) who can reduce the time spent for searching a free parking spot, thus reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
The studied technologies help the parking operator company in improving the total revenue of around 9 million euros per year. If considering the required costs to implement the Smart Parking solution, the Discounted Payback Period for the parking operator is lower than 2 years.
The results obtained showed that these technologies would help each driver to save an average of 77.2 hours every year, 86.5 euros in fuel costs, and the entire city of Milan could reduce CO2 emissions by 44,470 tons per year (out of a total of 4,144,000 tons annually produced by road traffic in the area of Milan).