Urban mobility and traffic congestion is a relevant issue in many Cities around the world. In Pula, Croatia, there are 32,400 registered vehicles for a population of about 60,000 inhabitants, so the number of vehicles per household is much higher than the European average. Traffic is particularly intense during Summer peak season, and the limited availability of public transports and parking facilities do not help.

100% owned by the City of Pula, Pula Parking Ltd manages about 1,300 ‘pay and display’ parking lots in town, 1,100 of which are on- and off-street, and 200 are barrier-protected. The company was looking for innovative systems to increase the average usage of parking facilities and their overall efficiency, also improving user experience. Pula Parking trusted the Smart Parking solution developed by Penta, one of the leading Croatian system integrator with specific competences in the automatic identification of people and objects, in close cooperation with Tinynode.

Pula SPARK Sense pilot project was kicked-off at the end of 2015 in two parking facilities (well known in town as “Faculty” and “Market” areas), where 92 lots were equipped with Tinynode A4 sensors to collect information about vehicle occupancy and convey them to a central control system. Each sensor transmits real-time data about the status of each parking space, and track other important parameters such as battery status, soil temperature, etc. Through a repeater and a gateway, data are sent to Pula SPARK Sense central system, where Pula Parking operators perform remote monitoring and control.

Same data are used to feed two information panels, which were set up just before the entrance of each parking lot to advise drivers of the number of free spaces. A web and mobile application is under development to offer information about parking availability via smartphone, leveraging geolocalization features to further increase quality of service.

Pilot project results were excellent and Pula citizens appreciate the Smart Parking solution, as it allows to save time and money, reducing stress when driving around the city. In November 2016, this project was applied for EU funds by Penta, with Pula Parking and Faculty of Traffic Engineering at Pula University as main partners. Feedback is expected by the end of 2017 and funds will hopefully co-finance the next steps of the project, starting with the extension of the wireless network to all remaining parking spaces in Pula.

Barrier-protected facilities will also be connected to Pula SPARK Sense system, adding additional information displays at the entrance of every parking area. The mobile app will be enriched with new functionalities, including route guidance (ie. mapping the best itinerary from user’s current location to the selected parking space), parking toll payment and online booking services.