The project established a “Smart City Lab” with the objective to improve traffic flow using the [ui!] UrbanPulse open data platform. There are two major drivers for this project:
- Bad Hersfeld is a city in the centre of Germany with around 30,000 citizens that is known for its festivals, particularly the annual Bad Hersfelder Festspiele.
- Due to its location the City is a preferred hub for major logistic firms. There are several major truck and car routes crossing the city putting 30,000 cars and trucks on roads in the city perimeter per day. All of Germany can be served within a 4 hour period from this location. While these companies create jobs, the associated traffic causes major issues around noise and pollution.
The city has a total of 5,000 parking spaces. On average, drivers spend 10 minutes per parking space looking for a free slot whilst covering a distance of 5 kilometres per search. Each parking space averages 2.5 searches per day. This equates to 56,000 kilometres or 1.4 times around the world per day to find a parking space. The situation becomes particularly challenging in the centre of the city where there are 250 parking spaces that attract 10 searches per day which increases on two days of the week when a farmers’ market is held.
The problems for city associated with the traffic flow and parking situation include:
- Searching or parking in the main city centre causes unnecessary emissions
- No or unreliable data from previous in-ground sensors
- Driver frustration
- Fear that local retailers in the city centre will lose clients to shopping malls, if efficient parking guidance is not available
- Local residents very annoyed by noise and pollution levels
- EU Government regulations requiring reduction of CO2 emissions
The city wanted to utilise smart city technology to improve traffic management and traffic flow management by providing parking information to citizens, tourists and logistics companies prior to entering the city.
[ui!] worked with the city to establish and trial a “Smart City Lab” with the goal of improving traffic management and traffic flow management, using the [ui!] UrbanPulse Management Platform. The project included:
- Overhead sensor system monitoring all spaces to detect if a space is free or occupied. This data was sent to the UrbanPulse and combined with traffic information to send to traffic guidance LED signs at the entrance of parking areas and all in-bound streets and main streets entering the city
- The availability of real-time data provides drivers with immediate wayfinding to free spaces to free spaces in all garages and on-street parking
- Expansion of sensor system to park & ride locations
- The city supported the development of a noise app, allowing citizens to identify noise hot spots.
Screen shot of City [ui!] COCKPIT of Bad Hersfeld (badhersfeld.urbanpulse.de)
The outcomes of the project include:
- Drivers are able to make immediate, intelligent decisions
- Reduced traffic emissions and saved time
- The identification, resolution and monitoring of noise trouble spots
- In bound drivers parking guidance gives a high chance indication that parking is available in certain car parks
- Trade for local retailers has improved