Norwalk’s Smart City Vision

Norwalk, located in the Gold Coast region of Connecticut, has a population of 88,438 residents. The city manages parking through a parking authority that is structured as an enterprise fund, self-sufficient, operating with no taxpayer money, all through revenues collected through parking fees, leases and other parking authority related fees.

Challenges

One of Norwalk’s primary challenges was moving from a manual parking system to an automated and integrated intelligent system that would benefit both the city and its citizens.

Additionally, the authority’s chief goal was to continually nurture community development through parking. “It is not only about parking but about the entire community and how parking plays a role in the larger picture including transportation, mobility, livability, economic development and how its citizens, visitors, and the business community move around throughout the city,” says Kathryn Hebert, Executive Director Norwalk Parking Authority. Looking at parking is just one part of a holistic view that involves collaboration within the community while providing convenience when moving from place to place in the city.

“It is not only about parking but about the entire community and how parking plays a role in the larger picture including transportation, mobility, livability, economic development and how its citizens, visitors, and the business community move around throughout the city.”

 

Change

Collaboration and a Strong Vision

gtechna has been Norwalk’s partner of choice for their front-end eticket enforcement solution since 2010. Norwalk naturally turned to gtechna again when it was time to upgrade their solution.

Norwalk was ready to move towards a more integrated real-time solution. gtechna was able to integrate components of pay by space and pay by plate with software intelligence that could address system latency, communication issues, as well as a software algorithm designed to reduce human and machine errors all in real-time.

The Parking Authority has a total of 614 metered and non-metered spaces managed by a combination of pay-by-plate and digital meters. In addition, its off-street properties total 3 garages, one parking deck and 6 open lots with 3,576 spaces. Off-street meters enforcing pay-by-plate were provided through Cale Systems. On-street meters enforcing pay-by-space were provided through ParkMobile, and Duncan Solutions handles citations processing and collections.
Norwalk not only used gtechna’s front-end enforcement but also put in place an operated permit program and vehicle LPR, hosted by gtechna’s cloud services. gtechna provided an integrated enforcement solution allowing Norwalk to improve compliance and enforcement in turn providing a better experience for the community.

Mobility and Options for the Customer

Norwalk has provided several options for both on-street and off-street parking services. Residents can go online or use an app to check parking availability and probability at a number of off-street locations. Parkers can also access and pay for virtual permits online, pay for short-term parking at smart kiosks or pay doing a combination of pay by phone and kiosk where citizens can then conveniently top off a parking session via mobile app. In addition to these types of payment options, there are digital meter options allowing payment by credit card. All pay-by-plate options are then managed and enforced by XXXX.

Norwalk
Norwalk, the Sound of Connecticut

Conclusion: The Internet of Things with Parking Management

A smart city isn’t only about technology, it is also about the results of what that technology can provide. In the context of enforcement, technology provides a centralized system from which all data related to parking management can be accessed. Pay by Plate uses the IoT so that payment systems and enforcement systems, cameras and mobile devices, and pay stations talk to one another in real-time to provide fast error free services to citizens. The IoT allows the pay-by-plate solution to automate the bulk of the enforcement process reducing the possibility for human error while providing more payment options to citizens highlighting key goals in the concept of a smart city: convenience and efficiency.

Pay-by-plate helps achieve these goals by using a single data point, the plate number, across the entire city’s parking infrastructure from parking garages to on-street parking. Officers scan or type in a license plate number which can then be cross-checked in real-time via the cloud to determine whether or not the individual has a permit or has paid by phone or at a smart pay station.

“The pay-by-plate parking system has increased compliance 110%, drastically reduced errors and ticket appeals all while delighting residents and customers with a customer-oriented convenient parking experience,” said Kathryn Hebert, Executive Director, Norwalk Parking Authority.And as parking infrastructure grows, that infrastructure can be integrated and added on to, securing a promising future for Norwalk’s smart city initiatives.

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“The pay-by-plate parking system has increased compliance 110%, drastically reduced errors and ticket appeals all while delighting residents and customers with a customer-oriented convenient parking experience.”

 

Looking to the Future

Norwalk is an example of the Smart Cities trend that many cities looking for progressive parking solutions are going toward. Norwalk is looking both at parking now and in the future, and how to create convenient options for citizens. The city wants to be less reliant on equipment and move towards mobility and apps delivering real-time data while investing in up-to-date equipment connected to the Internet of Things. Looking to the future the Norwalk Parking Authority is engaging in a citywide parking capacity and strategic plan, collaborating with 2 other major citywide studies: the Plan for Conservation and Development and the Redevelopment Downtown District updates. All three studies provide citywide communication and input through a digital platform called Norwalk Tomorrow (http://tomorrow.norwalkct.org/). Managing several technologies and data will be incorporated into a business intelligence dashboard in 2018.

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