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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Solving Barcelona’s parking problems

José López Vicario and Antoni Morell led a research team from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona’s School of Engineering in developing a novel parking system. They call the system XALOC (Xarxes de sensors per a la gestió d'Aparcaments públics i LOCalització).

The system involves a couple of components. First, each parking space is equipped with a sensor on the ground. This sensor detects whether or not the space is occupied, and sends that information to a central station via the internet. The central station then transmits that information both to indication panels in the street and to navigation transponders carried in participant’s vehicles. Thus, drivers can proceed directly to empty parking spaces rather than spending time driving around looking for places to park.

The system uses a new position and location technology with greater precision than standard GPS systems. The developers hope this new system will greatly improve traffic management and circulation. I certainly hope it will come to my area. I was impressed when the new parking structure at my local mall started indicating how many spots were available on each floor, but this is even better.