Parking Guidance System (Palma)
Via a partnership between the City of Palma, the public parking company (SMAP) and seven private operators, a dynamic parking guidance system was established for underground car parks in the City of Palma. The system provides real-time information on parking availability and facilitates more efficient use of parking places, which results in a congestion reduction due to less time needed by car drivers to search for a parking spot.
Implementing sustainable mobility
Palma is the capital city of Mallorca Island, with four hundred thousand inhabitants. In addition, Mallorca receives around nine and a half million visitors per year approximately, concentrated mainly in the summer season. This massive influx of visitors stays mainly in other parts of the island, but nonetheless many travel by car to the capital city, drawn by the many attractions of Palma’s city centre, its old town and especially its gothic Cathedral. This causes particular problems on cloudier summer days when tourists come to Palma instead of going to the beach. On such days there is enormous congestion on the access routes to major car parks, especially the car park right next to the Cathedral.
The main objectives of this measure were to:
- Reduce congestion and unnecessary car traffic of tourists and other visitors of the city centre (15% reduction in parking search time at peak times)
- Increase the number of Park & Ride users
- Provide parking guidance with 18 dynamic panels with real-time information on occupancy of public and private parking garages in the city of Palma
- Provide parking information including P&R sites also on the internet, as well as on handheld devices (iPhone, Android) and in-car GPS devices
- Increase overall occupancy rate of all private and public parking and Park & Ride sites
- Increase the shopkeepers’ satisfaction with the parking situation of about 10%
- Promote cycling and walking among the users of the underground parking garages and PT-use among the Park & Ride users
Both SMAP and the City Council’s Mobility Department understood that a mobility project like this could not ignore the other public car parks in Palma that are managed by private operators: it had to be a whole city project. Therefore, all the private operators were invited to participate. Three private operators declined the invitation as their operating concessions were close to their end date. However, seven private operators with seven car parks and a total of 2.964 parking spaces took up this opportunity to have a dynamic guidance system for their car parks. They saw that having a clear presence on the roads of Palma and in the same way as SMAP would give them a competitive advantage that made the co-financing worthwhile. In addition, the private operators took on only a limited amount of risk because the technology development and the installation of the panels were managed by the City and by a public company. For SMAP and for the City Council, the reward was that they delivered a dynamic guidance system covering the vast majority of public off-street parking spaces in the city.
Planning & preparation
During the preparation phase the following tasks were executed:
- Study on congestion near car parks, occupation rates of all car parks (public and private), routing of parking traffic and location of the information panels.
- Design of the information system and its integration into the Palma integrated sustainable mobility application
- Meetings with operators of private car parks to develop a joint concept and to establish the exchange of data
- Meetings with shopkeepers to explain the concept and design of walking routes from the different car parks towards the main attractions in the city centre.
- Decision on the locations and publication of the tender to procure dynamic information panels.
Implementation & demonstration
The new information system guides more cars to garages apart from the more popular ones in the city. The new system provides real-time information on smart phones and other mobile devices. Because of the free public Wi-Fi in hotels and in public space within the city, visitors are able to make use of the information more readily. The system has three real-time communication channels:
- Dynamic information panels placed along the guided parking route
- Smart-phone application integrated in the mobility platform
- Webpage integrated into Palma’s mobility website
The city has been aiming to closely involve shopkeepers and private operators of car parks in the CIVITAS area. The measure promotes inter-modality among the users of the car parks by providing information about available public transport, walking routes and public bikes. Real-time parking information is integrated in an online mobility platform that provides information on all sustainable transport modes.
The implementation phase included the following tasks:
- Creation of a new Park&Ride option in cooperation with the urban bus operator: after rerouting of the circular bus line 2, the peri-central parking of Sa Riera now provides a P&R option for trips towards the city centre.
- A newly adopted pricing strategy by the SMAP with lower prices for the less centrally located car parks.From the second half of 2015:
- Installation of a system including 18 information panels and online information
- Testing phase to make sure the information from different sources is well integrated into the system and correctly displayed on the panels
- Public launch and demonstration phase (data monitoring and campaigns described below)
- After a series of meetings an agreement was signed leading to an expansion of the initial project from 6 panels to one with 18 dynamic panels and 44 complementary static signs guiding drivers to some 14 car parks with a total of 5.402 parking places
- A standard system of data transmission was defined and private car parks were included in the App Mobipalma.
- In the signed agreement it was established that the approximate cost of the project was 410.822,77 € (taxes included). The public company SMAP covered 47,4% of this, and the private operators the rest.18 information panels in operation
- Real-time information collected and distributed to info panels and mobile devices
- Information shown are real time received in Mobipalma APP since July.
- Launch of information campaign
- In spring 2016 bike parking was offered in municipal parkings with the aim of promoting inter-modality. A communication campaign followed the initiative. .
- At least 2 stakeholder meetings with shopkeepers about parking and walking routes to the city center has taken place
- In July 2016 a tourist target campaign was launched to promote Park&Ride The campaign consisted on 5 language informative leaflets where intermodality was explained to reach the centre
- More meetings are planned this autumn with shoppers and neighbors associations to inform and explain how the system works
- This Autumn a campaign about the guided parking system will be launched
Expected outcomes in the short- to medium-term:
- Reduced congestion at Parc de la Mar parking garaje
- Thanks to the system it already has been found that there is a significant reduction of cars driving to Parc de la Mar and other parkings have improved their occupancy
- 15% reduction in time to locate a parking space during peak times
- 10% increase in shopkeepers’ satisfaction with the parking situation during the course of the project
- Increased occupancy rates of P&R site
- Increased use of public bicycles offered at central car parks
Expected outcomes in the mid- to long-term:
- Increase in the number of people who use public transport (including public bikes) to reach their final destination