Unlocking the power of data

Aalborg is now providing real-time information on the availability of parking space to minimise the negative impact of cars circulating the city centre in search of a parking space.

Cars circulating in search for available parking space generate unnecessary traffic, have an adverse impact on the attractiveness of the urban surroundings and the environment. This can be limited by making sure that drivers have real-time information on available parking spots.  The information is restricted to the nearest parking lots to avoid unnecessary traffic crossing the city centre, where most pedestrians are. Cruising around in search for a parking spot is further discouraged when drivers are aware that the parking guidance system includes all parking lots, including privately owned ones. Following this strategy, the City of Aalborg has divided the city into a number of information zones, and implemented a new parking guidance system including all major public or privately owned parking facilities. The parking guidance system relies on new software and servers, as well as 67 new variable message signs in 38 different locations. The system provides information on 15 car parking facilities. In the city's previous parking guidance system, Aalborg had developed a function to display the number of available parking spots on the traffic information site Trafikken.dk/Nordjylland. This information was also accessible via mobile phones through a text message service. At present, it is regarded as best practice in the field of intelligent telematics systems - as set out in US President Obama's new Digital Government strategy - that public authorities should not develop presentations of data for the end user themselves. Instead, they should make the data publicly available and leave the presentation to private companies that are aware of users' needs. This could speed up the implementation process to bring data to users through apps, the internet, or where there is deemed to be a need. The City of Aalborg separated the core of the parking guidance system from the presentation on the Internet and set up an open web service between the two. The web service makes all static and dynamic data on the parking situation that is collected for the parking guidance system available for everyone's free disposal. Regardless of whether private companies will take up the presentation of data or not, Aalborg modernised the internet platform and mobile phones to make it compatible with the new web service



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