Dave Smith, head of public affairs and research at the British Parking Association gives readers the lowdown on the latest international moves to provide drivers with a better parking experience and authorities with better information.
An international alliance of parking trade bodies has been formed in response to industry and societal needs for improved access and consistency of parking-related data. The British Parking Association (BPA), the International Parking Institute (IPI) and the European Parking Association (EPA) has launched the Alliance for Parking Data Standards to develop, promote, manage and maintain a uniform global standard to allow organisations to share parking data across platforms worldwide.
The emerging standard will cover the full range of parking data elements, including parking location information and transactions, pricing, and occupancy/utilisation.
Through the Alliance, the three entities have initiated the development of standards for sharing parking-related data to address the significant challenges and effort currently required to integrate new systems, services and apps due to the lack of appropriate standards. The alliance believes this a step forward in working together with other major stakeholders and organisations to make it better for the parking sector, the consumer and help provide a standard for the future.
The alliance will create a consensus-built international standard to establish a common language for data elements and definitions in the parking, transportation, and mobility sector that will facilitate seamless integration, compatibility, and communication between parking entities, the automotive industry, IT developers, map and app providers, as well as other stakeholders.
The International Parking Industry Payment Standards (IPIPS) developed by the EPA and already available, and the Data Exchange Standards (IPI-DataEx) being developed by IPI will also be integrated by the new alliance. The IPIPS protocols ensure interoperability and help simplify the complex world of e-payments in parking.
One of the key tasks of the alliance will be to ensure that emerging and adopted data standards meet the needs of the parking industry (public and private sector) and parking customers as well as other stakeholders.
Nigel Williams, chair of the BPA Board and chair of the Alliance said: 'The alliance has a challenging task. It is an ambitious initiative that will help shape the future of our sector. We are particularly grateful to the UK's Department for Transport for the funding they have provided to the BPA to help us develop the new parking data standard.'
The Department for Transport awarded Westminster City Council a grant agreement in January for a project, led by the BPA, to develop and update parking standards to enable the inter-operable deployment of smarter parking schemes and to facilitate the introduction of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV).
As laid out in the request for funding made to DfT this parking data harmonisation initiative seeks to establish common global standards for the parking industry. The work draws on several national and regional initiatives and is also reflective of existing formal standards that partially cover the parking data domain.
Prior to the initiation of the grant agreement, independent non-coordinated project work had been undertaken by several parties concerning the need to improve the specification of parking data. BPA in conjunction with Loughborough University undertook a study including use case modelling and the review of the existing formal standards.
Independently, the IPI had carried out a large-scale industry review of specifications for some aspects of the parking domain in the USA. In the Netherlands, the Dutch government and a cooperative of local authorities had developed and implemented a National Parking Register which is now used to manage parking transactions for some 80 local authorities.
The BPA-led project team engaged Jon Harrod Booth, who is a well-known ITS standardisation figure, to undertake analysis and modelling with the objective of harmonising the data concepts from these various initiatives and from the existing ITS parking-related standards.
In advance of the establishment of the alliance, IPI had engaged a consultant, Richard Halter, who brings strong data modelling experience from the retail world and the ARTS specifications.
In combination Mr Booth and Mr Halter have worked together under the direction of a steering group of European and US parking industry experts established by the alliance to oversee, review and challenge the emerging specifications and documentation.
Good progress has been made and Phase 1 specifications are currently being reviewed by industry experts and will be publicly released to coincide with the IPI annual congress in Orlando at the start of June 2018. There is a phased programme to deliver the remainder of the specifications by the end of 2018.