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A Solution for Parking Demand Issues in Tourist Locations: Public-Facing Curb Viewer

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A Solution for Parking Demand Issues in Tourist Locations: Public-Facing Curb Viewer

Imagine yourself driving to a beautiful tourist location. A charming village on the mountains or a little town by the beach. Once you get there, you park your car and begin to enjoy the day.

Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? But this is not the reality. You have driven for hours only to end up in a traffic jam looking for parking. After many circles around the block, straining your eyes to read the parking signs, you find a spot. Now you have to search for the payment machine. After paying, you can finally begin your visit. However, you are tired and frustrated because all the good spots by the beach are gone! If only you had access to information about where and when to park, and not to mention real-time occupancy…

Sounds like a dream – but it’s not. CurbIQ has developed a public-facing curbside visualization tool to help you plan ahead and find parking faster during peak-demand season!

Public Facing Curb Viewer: CurbIQ for Everyone

CurbIQ’s Public-Facing Curb Viewer (PFCV) is a simplified version of Curb Viewer designed for the general public. It is a map-based tool accessible at no cost to users through a variety of web browsers, on any mobile, tablet, or desktop. PFCV simplifies the curbside restrictions and user interface for a more seamless user experience.

With PFCV, the public can access all information regarding parking and mobility options around a city or destination: from metered on-street spaces to off-street parking lots, and from pick-up and drop-off zones to e-scooters and bikeshare stations. PFCV provides information about parking tariffs and payment options, as well as links for the user to complete parking payment or booking operations. By retrieving data from existing sensors and parking-payment APIs, PFCV can display real-time curb space occupancy to help users choose the most convenient location. This also helps with wayfinding and minimizes the amount of time spent cruising the streets for parking.

The dynamic nature of PFCV lets users visualize how curbside restrictions change throughout the day, allowing them to plan their trips according to the existing curbside options during their time of interest. Furthermore, regulation changes made by cities to accommodate for seasonal parking demand or for events will automatically be reflected in PFCV, so users can have access to the most up-to-date curbside supply information.

Simplifying the Curb with User Types

No stopping here, no standing there, curb cuts, crosswalks, electric vehicle charging stations, accessible parking spots, bus loading zones, taxicab stands… the list is endless. Visualizing all curbside regulations in a city at the same time is confusing and overwhelming. That is why CurbIQ created “user types”: a feature that displays the PFCV map from the perspective of different curb space users.

For example, imagine you are visiting a city and want to find a place to park your car. There may be transit zones, or curbs designated for passenger pick-up and drop-off in your general area of interest, but to you these are simply places where you are not allowed to park. By selecting the “Personal Vehicle Parking” user type, CurbIQ will classify all regulations from the perspective of someone whose only interest is to park in a particular space. If you happen to be a commercial delivery driver, the map will be simplified in a way that only portrays where vehicles are permitted to load and unload. This reduces the level of detail on the map and only shows the information relevant to specific users.

The ability for users to select this feature helps reduce the complexity of the curb space and customizes the experience depending on the user’s needs.

Use Case: Harrison Hot Springs

parking lot by the mountains

In 2021, IBI Group led a parking study for Harrison Hot Springs, a small lake village in British Columbia known for its natural hot spring pools. Located in a valley two hours away from Vancouver, the town has minimal transit connection, causing visitors to mainly travel by car. Like many tourist towns, Harrison Hot Springs faces high levels of parking congestion during peak times of the year, and it lacks the spatial resources needed to satisfy this seasonal demand. Additionally, the increase in private developments has significantly reduced the municipal parking supply. This has resulted in tourist traffic spilling into residential areas of the town, leading to unhappy residents and frustrated tourists.

To solve this complex problem in a way that satisfies both parties, IBI came up with a series of recommended strategies, including integrating public parking into new developments, restricting to one-side parking along streets with no sidewalks, and expanding transit and active transportation networks.

In addition to the physical re-organization of parking supply, IBI recommended having a digitized curbside and parking map that could be easily accessed by the public. As a proof of concept, CurbIQ helped the IBI team collect curbside data and generate a public-facing solution for internal purposes, as shown below:

The Solution for Tourist Locations

In contrast to the typical tourist map, CurbIQ’s PFCV solution would provide an interactive view of all parking options, which dynamically changes based on the seasonal parking needs. For instance, during the summer months, when tourism is at its peak, the town’s seasonal parking supply strategy could be reflected on CurbIQ. Visitors and neighbours could visualize new temporary parking locations, any restrictions that are applied to residential areas, and real-time parking space occupancy for those towns that have sensor infrastructure installed. Having access to a centralized and up-to-date source of curbside and mobility information would help drivers reduce time spent searching for parking, eliminate visitor traffic in residential locations, and create a more pleasant tourism experience overall!

Combining a public-facing curbside visualization tool with industry best practices in parking optimization provides a seasonal solution to many tourist locations. Let us know if you are interested in implementing a similar solution. We would love to help you with it.

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Gonzalo Martínez Santos

Gonzalo is a fourth-year Engineering Science student at the University of Toronto. He is passionate about cities, mobility, and urbanism. His experience with data processing and GIS visualization allows him to contribute to the development of IBI Group's curbside management application, CurbIQ.