As bicycle use is growing, especially since the Covid-pandemic, so is the amount of bicycle parking garages and the size of them. A parking which is well known for its capacity of 12,500 places is the one at Utrecht central station, and recently Den Haag opened a parking with 8,500 places. However, with these big (multi-level) bicycle parks come a few challenges for both users and parking operators.
It starts with the traffic moving towards the bicycle parks. The Netherlands is known for its developed cycle infrastructure and are always looking for more efficiency by innovation. One example of this is the signage in the cities that direct cyclists to a parking which has capacity left, reducing unnecessary traffic searching for a free spot and nuisance by wrongly parked bicycles. Moreover, the transfer time from parking the bike to catching the train will also be optimised by this. Another development that contributes to a minimalised transfer time is the possibility to pay for your parking spot by scanning a QR code with the VeloView app on your phone.
A QR code and an app? Yes! This indeed enables many other useful functionalities to improve the usability and experience of parking your bicycle. For example, when parking in the big bicycle parking garage at Utrecht Central station, there is a chance that you forget on which level and rack you parked it. By scanning the QR code on the rack when parking, the app will tell you exactly where you parked it when you want to go home. It will also give a notification if you are close to exceeding your allowed parking duration.
An Essential for "Smart Cities"
For parking operators, an optical bicycle detection system enables remote enforcement of orphan bikes. Orphan bikes occupy a parking spot whilst not bringing in revenue. Especially for smaller bicycle parks this is an important issue to keep an eye on. So, a smart bicycle parking (detection system) is a fundamental part in enabling a city to become a "smart city". It provides data to signage in the city which directs traffic, it enables the bicycle parking garages to be at full capacity by removing orphan bikes allowing a quicker ROI and more revenue. And lastly, it also increases the usability and experience for cyclists!
Abel Sensors has developed the "VeloView" solution and has proven itself in the Netherlands by detecting 100.000 bicycles per day and are noticing increasing demands across Europe. Surely, the pandemic and the lack of parking capacity will increase the need for smart bicycle parking garages to make a step towards a smart city!
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3511 HE Utrecht, The Netherlands
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